Volkswagen injects classic 1972 Type 2 van with electric Golf power
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.
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.
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.