Automotive

Volkswagen injects classic 1972 Type 2 van with electric Golf power

Volkswagen injects classic 197...
This VW bus trades out its powertrain but not its classic look
This VW bus trades out its powertrain but not its classic look
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Volkswagen and EV West turn a 1972 VW Type 2 into an all-electric van
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Volkswagen and EV West turn a 1972 VW Type 2 into an all-electric van
This VW bus trades out its powertrain but not its classic look
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This VW bus trades out its powertrain but not its classic look
The 1972 Type 2 leaps into the 21st century with a 125-mile-range e-Golf powertrain
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The 1972 Type 2 leaps into the 21st century with a 125-mile-range e-Golf powertrain
Volkswagen and EV West turn a 1972 VW Type 2 into an all-electric van
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Volkswagen and EV West turn a 1972 VW Type 2 into an all-electric van
A quieter, more economical breed of Volkswagen bus
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A quieter, more economical breed of Volkswagen bus
Classic look, new tech
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Classic look, new tech
Complete with some authentic stickers
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Complete with some authentic stickers
The e-Golf drive hardware gets swapped into the original rear engine compartment
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The e-Golf drive hardware gets swapped into the original rear engine compartment
An old van gets new attitude
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An old van gets new attitude
Volkswagen and EV West turn a 1972 VW Type 2 into an all-electric van
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Volkswagen and EV West turn a 1972 VW Type 2 into an all-electric van
Keeping the backdrop a little clearer with an all-electric VW Type 2
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Keeping the backdrop a little clearer with an all-electric VW Type 2
A look inside
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A look inside
The project includes a classically inspired EV readout
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The project includes a classically inspired EV readout
At the wheel
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At the wheel
A surprise under the fuel filler door
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A surprise under the fuel filler door

Remember that time three years ago when Volkswagen introduced the Microbus revival for which everyone had been clamoring for decades? And it was pretty damn cool, and electric to boot? And then VW even gave the production nod … only to make us wait another five years and half-dozen "ID" concepts for it? Volkswagen definitely does, and it seems quite determined to ensure the rest of the world doesn't forget it has an actual e-van on the way, what with other major German brands, new startups and revival badges eating its lunch. So while the ID. Buzz crawls slowly through development, Volkswagen keeps our appetites whetted by electrifying another classic Type 2, this one with e-Golf power.

The latest VW electric van isn't quite is forward-looking (or backward-looking, for that matter) as the last one. Volkswagen teams with EV West in doubling the power of this particular Type 2 Bay Window by swapping the original 60-hp air-cooled four-cylinder with a 134-hp (100-kW) drive from a 2017 e-Golf. As Volkswagen tells the tale, the single drive unit housing motor, single-speed transmission and charging hardware is a natural fit with the van's independent rear suspension layout.

An old van gets new attitude
An old van gets new attitude

The battery pack also fits like a puzzle piece in the original van, finding home in the space below the front seats previously occupied by the fuel tank. That 35.8-kWh battery offers a range up to around 125 miles (201 km) and is protected by a reinforced, fireproof housing.

Sticking around from the original van, the long-throw shifter serves to shuffle between the park, reverse, neutral, drive and regenerative braking modes brought over from the e-Golf. The digital EV gauge on the dashboard features a retro-inspired look to maintain the feel of old-meets-new – or kinda new, anyway.

A look inside
A look inside

We would be impressed if Volkswagen installed the all-new 340-mile (550-km) powertrain from the ID.3 into a classic Type 2, but an e-Golf unit just feels underwhelming and makes us wish more than ever the production ID. Buzz was launching sooner than 2022. Still, those classic buses are fun to look at; this one wears a two-tone combination of "Kansas Beige" and "Pastel White." It made an appearance at Volkswagen of America's 4th Annual Drive-In Movie event at the Petersen Automotive Museum last Thursday.

Source: Volkswagen

6 comments
MarkHughes4096
I own one of these and a T25 and I have often thought it would be cool to convert them. In the article it says the batteries go under the front seats where the fuel tank was, This isn't correct, The fuel tank is just in front of the engine on the T2, Behind the rear seats/bed under the rear cargo floor and above the gearbox. The only thing under the front seats is the front suspension and wheels, As you can imagine by looking at the first picture. I'm not sure how you describe going from 60 to 130hp as underwhelming, I mean, These things are very slow normally and I think to an owner of one the power increase will be very welcome.
paul314
I hope this improves the weight and center of gravity. Those things were a bear for unplanned lane changes in windy stretches of highway.
History Nut
I restored a 70 and loved it. We had many an 'adventure' together! I always thought that it would make a fairly easy electric conversion. A motor on each rear wheel, fill the old engine and fuel tank space with batteries and charger and off you go. On the one in article, the battery could be placed on the original cargo floor. There is plenty of weight capacity in the chassis and you would only lose a few inches of height in the interior. I agree there is no room under the front seats for batteries. I understand their wanting to use an "off-the-shelf" system. Sadly the bus went to another owner years ago but the memories will forever be mine. I named it "Erfolgswagen".
Signguy
Paul34, I had a '60 that had a 2' H. plywood extension, the roof cut out from behind the front seats all the way to the back, so you could stand up inside; but talk about unexpected lane changes!
Nathan Mikels
Do that with a 72 beetle and I'll take one!
ljaques
Nathan, EVwest dot com has been doing this for years now with all sorts of VWs and Porsches. For a good time, call Michael. ;) I've bought lithium battery cells from them, but they have everything.