Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Volkswagen Electric MicroBus Tease

CES is a great place to check out new concept cars. Seven years ago, I fell in love with a Jaguar XJ8 L concept and I actually drive one of those now. So thankfully for Car Geeks, concept cars sometimes become reality, and right now there's a lot of buzz at CES regarding Volkswagens latest MicroBus tease, the Budd-e.

It's an all electric microbus with a 101kWh battery, 93 mile per hour maximum speed, and a maximum range somewhere between 373 and 233 miles. If they build it, it will come in multiple configurations, much like past Microbuses did in their heyday of 1950 through 1979.

I'm not at CES this year, but Car & Driver has a great set of photos here,

Volkswagen's press release is here with all the details. Take it all with a grain of road grit, 'cuz Volkswagen has teased us with a bus update before. They know that they had one of the most popular cars in the world, and those iconic vehicles have a massive following. The nostalgia alone will drive sales through the roof if they get this reimagining right.
Volkswagen Microbus Concept from 2005
I'm a huge fan of the VeeDub microbus. My hubby and I own one and it was my first attempt redesigning anything. We started with a 1977 Westfalia with 2.0 liter engine.

The old girl cleans up nice

The engines were the same as Porsche used in their 914, but the bus was much too heavy to get any real power out of them and the air cooling left them burning hot at 220 degrees.

It now has a Fat Performance Racing  engine redesign and with the dual 454 Weber carburetors and computer controlled twin turbo oil coolers, this bus can really move!

Fat Performance Racing Engine
We've yet to see the engine get hotter than 180 degrees going 90 mph in 100+ degree weather, so those oil coolers work like magic. You should see the looks you get from Porsche Cayennes, and BMW X5's as you creep up on their tails, "asking" them to pull to the right while you pass them.  Gas mileage has really suffered though, and I have yet to take her back down to Cabo or cross country to the Keys until I feel comfortable that I can handle the range issue.

She's a lot of fun though, with LED colored lighting inside and out, 5700 watts of audio she's the ultimate beach party machine.

Racing seats - comfortable for long drives
Toilet tucked away under that ottoman.
She's got handsfree telephone and automation, Broadband Wi-fi, 2 Monitors to play Xbox or watch movies on if you get board on long trips or tired of camping. She sleeps 4 comfortably and in a pinch her onboard toilet is really handy if it's cold at night or you can't make it to the next bathroom.

The galley has an ice box, a pull out pantry, and she has three Optimus deep cycle gel batteries to keep her electrical needs going. There's a solar trickle charger to keep the batteries topped up when no electrical hookups are available. When electrical hookups are available, the inverter will recharge the batteries and keep the music playing.
Even with all these modern features, she's still almost 40 years old. She requires a garage and is a fussy girl sometimes, so she's not an ideal ride for the 99%.

Top is popped

New Technology Enhancements in the Dash

Mappa Burl Cabinetry withy honey finish and white
marine vinyl complements the exterior color scheme.

White Vinyl cleans up great with 409 and a terry cloth
towel - great for dogs or wetsuits!

Eat and drink without stopping - the sink and
 Caesarstone counter on the right

Upper bunk

Another view of the upper bunk

Upper bunk monitor

Bench seat collapses into a lie flat bed

The back half of the bed is also a cargo area

Fat Performance Engine