Automotive

Extraordinary eBussy modular electric van debuts in July, on way to US

Extraordinary eBussy modular e...
The eBussy will become the XBUS when it debuts next month
The eBussy will become the XBUS when it debuts next month
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Assuming it comes to fruition, the eBussy could be an ultra-versatile electric vehicle for work, leisure and everyday driving
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Assuming it comes to fruition, the eBussy could be an ultra-versatile electric vehicle for work, leisure and everyday driving
The camper variant of the eBussy/Xbus includes a pop-up roof and a rear slide-out, turning the 364-cm-long van into a comfy camper
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The camper variant of the eBussy/Xbus includes a pop-up roof and a rear slide-out, turning the 364-cm-long van into a comfy camper
eBussy/Xbus short-bed pickup with crew cab
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eBussy/Xbus short-bed pickup with crew cab
eBussy cargo van
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eBussy cargo van
eBussy "Box" delivery truck
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eBussy "Box" delivery truck
The eBussy will become the XBUS when it debuts next month
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The eBussy will become the XBUS when it debuts next month
Whether the pop-up ends up being smooth like this rendering or accordion-like as shown in others, plans call for it to raise up to 2.2 meters high
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Whether the pop-up ends up being smooth like this rendering or accordion-like as shown in others, plans call for it to raise up to 2.2 meters high
ElectricBrands will give the Xbus an underfloor modular battery system stored in multiple
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ElectricBrands will give the Xbus an underfloor modular battery system stored in multiple drawers
Buyers will be able to select from battery options supporting between 200 and 600 km of range
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Buyers will be able to select from battery options supporting between 200 and 600 km of range
ElectricBrands envisions a battery exchange station
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ElectricBrands envisions a battery exchange station
The Xbus will include up to four seats but will only be legally able to drive three people, says ElectricBrands ... so that's kind of weird
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The Xbus will include up to four seats but will only be legally able to drive three people, says ElectricBrands ... so that's kind of weird
With road and off-road chassis options and a multitude of modules, a single Xbus will be a small parking lot's worth of different vehicles
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With road and off-road chassis options and a multitude of modules, a single Xbus will be a small parking lot's worth of different vehicles
The Xbus camper graphic shows how the expansions will provide both standing height and lying room
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The Xbus camper graphic shows how the expansions will provide both standing height and lying room
Judging by the initial photos and renderings, the debut Xbus prototype will be in this crew cab/short-bed pickup configuration
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Judging by the initial photos and renderings, the debut Xbus prototype will be in this crew cab/short-bed pickup configuration
Dashboard design rendering
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Dashboard design rendering
Putting together the mockup
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Putting together the mockup
ElectricBrands teases the 7:07 on 7/7 prototype debut
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ElectricBrands teases the 7:07 on 7/7 prototype debut
ElectricBrands puts together its first prototype
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ElectricBrands puts together its first prototype
ElectricBrands will debut its prototype next month ahead of production planned to start as early as December of this year
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ElectricBrands will debut its prototype next month ahead of production planned to start as early as December of this year
The prototype takes shape
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The prototype takes shape
The camper variant will include a tiny kitchen module, TV and extending bed
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The camper variant will include a tiny kitchen module, TV and extending bed
Camper interior bird's eye
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Camper interior bird's eye
Inspired by LEGO, ElectricBrands works on a modular vehicle that can quickly transform into various configurations
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Inspired by LEGO, ElectricBrands works on a modular vehicle that can quickly transform into various configurations
View gallery - 23 images

When we first covered the instantly lovable eBussy electric mini-mover, we didn't actually believe we'd be writing about a working prototype a year later. In fact, we weren't sure we'd be writing about the vehicle ever again. But here we are; parent company ElectricBrands is preparing to reveal its first prototype in less than two weeks. Now called the Xbus, the modular tiny transporter still promises to become one of the most versatile, affordable electric vehicles out there, transforming between pickup, van, mini-camper and more.

"Yeah, okay, sure." The words reverberated through my mind with every keystroke as I wrote about the eBussy last July. It was yet another super-promising electric vehicle that could transform before one's eyes into virtually every type of utility vehicle you could ever want, represented only by a series of renderings and specs that seemed too good to be true. ElectricBrands wasn't a completely unknown startup like so many EV newcomers, but its three years of previous experience in electric scooters was hardly enough to inspire confidence in its ability to build and market such a versatile 4WD electric utility vehicle.

ElectricBrands teases the 7:07 on 7/7 prototype debut
ElectricBrands teases the 7:07 on 7/7 prototype debut

Technically, ElectricBrands will not market the eBussy, as a press announcement this week identifies an official name change to Xbus, which definitely sounds stronger and falls on the ears with less of an X-rated ring. The prototype will make its debut on July 7 at 7:07 p.m. CEST (1:07 p.m. EDT), at which time ElectricBrands will also launch a configurator, ordering system and crowd investment campaign.

The teaser video and photo suggest that the premiere Xbus will be a pickup with a crew cab/short bed, but given ElectricBrands' baked-in modular design, it'll technically be every style of Xbus in one, pending the development of the Lego-inspired modules needed to create pop-up camper, mini-passenger van, long-bed pickup and other configurations.

Inspired by LEGO, ElectricBrands works on a modular vehicle that can quickly transform into various configurations
Inspired by LEGO, ElectricBrands works on a modular vehicle that can quickly transform into various configurations

ElectricBrands plans to mate its modular body components to two different chassis: an off-road chassis with higher all-terrain suspension setup and a lower, more road-oriented standard chassis. Both chassis options will include an all-wheel drive electric powertrain with four in-hub motors combining for up to 1,000 Nm (738 lb-ft) of torque. The company's battery solution is as modular as its body, available in sizes between 10 and 30 kWh for estimated ranges anywhere from 200 to 600 km (124 to 373 miles). Using the quick-access battery drawers, Xbus drivers will even be able to swap out packs.

ElectricBrands will give the Xbus an underfloor modular battery system stored in multiple
ElectricBrands will give the Xbus an underfloor modular battery system stored in multiple drawers

Xbus range figures are assisted by lightweight materials and standard integrated solar charging. The Xbus is so light, in fact, that it falls in the L7e-B2 quadricycle homologation class. ElectricBrands explains that, while the bus will be available in both two- and four-seat configurations, its classification means that it will be legally limited to driving three people.

The Xbus will include up to four seats but will only be legally able to drive three people, says ElectricBrands ... so that's kind of weird
The Xbus will include up to four seats but will only be legally able to drive three people, says ElectricBrands ... so that's kind of weird

Plans call for more than 10 different Xbus configurations in all, with prices ranging from €15,800 (approx. US$18,850) for the two-seat flatbed to €28,800 (US$34,350) for the off-road camper. Buyers will be able to convert their single Xbus between its myriad configurations, and individual add-on modules will price in between €800 and €11,000 (US$950 and $13,125), according to initial estimates.

ElectricBrands' most recent renderings show our favorite configuration, the off-road camper, with a more accordion-style rear-central pop-up roof said to raise height to 2.2 m (7.2 ft). The rear slide-out, meanwhile, extends the bed to a comfortable longitudinal length of 210 x 130 cm (83 x 51 in). Plans also call for a small kitchen with stove, sink and fridge and a TV — not bad for a 365-cm-long (144-in) mini-camper that's 85 cm (33.5 in) shorter on the road than the Volkswagen Caddy California.

Camper interior bird's eye
Camper interior bird's eye

As part of its move toward a late-2021 production start, ElectricBrands is offering European reservations now, with a €1,000 (US$1,195) early-bird discount good until the end of June. Its website counter puts total reservations at 8,861 as of publishing.

ElectricBrands plans to expand availability outside of Europe sometime around mid-2022, and an alert that appears atop its website indicates US reservations will open in September. A separate press announcement confirms plans to launch in North America, great news for all those Americans who have rightfully wondered if the Xbus would end up yet another European-only camper van inspiring burning envy from across the Atlantic.

ElectricBrands puts together its first prototype
ElectricBrands puts together its first prototype

We remain skeptical that a production Xbus will materialize on schedule and become a viable everyday driving option with estimated specs intact, at something resembling initial pricing estimates. However, building a working prototype during a horribly unstable, pandemic-stricken year is certainly a step in the right direction. Beyond the initial Xbus family, ElectricBrands also plans a larger "XL" model, presumably for those that prefer their vans and trucks in more conventional dimensions, and maybe even capable of carrying a passenger per seat.

Source: ElectricBrands

View gallery - 23 images
5 comments
5 comments
jerryd
I like it. Not sure if it can pass US FDOT which needs to change. But we really need such small lightweight EVs though the price is up there for such a light 1000-1500lb vehicle, about the same as a VW Bug.
With a little better aero and 65mpg speed it could get 200 mile range on 30kwh and charge in 12 minutes.
Signguy
Great; just as dangerous as the original vw micro bus, with the driver sitting over the axle.
BlueOak
Clever design flexibility. Seeing people in the photo shows this is actually a smallish (Euro-focused) vehicle by US market standards.

Since it is getting certified in Europe as a “quadricycle”, one wonders how that happens in the US? As a roadable golf cart?

But “crowd investment campaign” isn’t exactly confidence inspiring. The crowd-funded road is littered with the carcasses of failed startups.

Talk and making a prototype are cheap. Actually manufacturing and delivering reliable, safe vehicles in volume is hard. Especially at those prices.
Demosthenes
Flexibility is fine, but does it have to be such an ugly design? It looks like a failed playmobil car.
ljaques
If EVER there were a vehicle inspired by Mr. Potato Head, this is it. It is BFUtiful.