Electric Vehicles

Volkswagen e-BULLI concept is a little bit vintage, a little bit futuristic

Volkswagen has partnered with eClassics to retrofit a 1966 T1 Samba Bus and make it an electric vehicle.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Volkswagen e-BULLI concept takes the company's focus on green living and a respect for heritage vehicles a step further. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) has retrofitted a 1966 T1 Samba Bus with an electric powertrain and converted it to a modern, family-friendly hauler.

VWCV partner eClassics, a company that specializes in electric vehicle conversions, is planning to offer T1 conversions in the style of the new e-BULLI to European customers. It's okay to pout, Americans.

The e-BULLI concept started its life in Hanover, Germany before spending a half-century on the roads of California.

2020 Volkswagen e-BULLI Concept

2020 Volkswagen e-BULLI Concept

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Conversion started at by removing the bus's 43-horsepower four-cylinder engine that yielded 75 pound-feet of torque and replacing it with a Volkswagen electric motor that produces nearly double the power - 82 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. The motor is powered by a single-speed gearbox.

The motor works in tandem with a 45 kWh lithium-ion battery. The plug-in electric vehicle (PHEV) is charged via an AC charger with charging power of 2.3 to 22 kW, depending on electricity source. Thanks to the e-BULLI's CCS charging socket the high-voltage battery can also be charged at DC fast-charging points with up to 50 kW of charging power. In this case it can be charged up to 80 percent in 40 minutes. The model's range is around 124 miles.

The bus's automatic transmission selector features P, R, N, D, and B (park, reverse, neutral, drive, and braking). When the lever is in the B position, the driver can vary the degree of energy recuperation the vehicle achieves while braking. It has an electronically limited top speed of 80 mph. The T1's original max speed was 65 mph (though it took a while to get there).

According to a release, "All of the electric drive system's standard parts are being made by Volkswagen Group Components in Kassel. The lithium-ion modules are designed at the Braunschweig components site. They are transferred by eClassics into a battery system appropriate for the T1." The battery is housed in the bus's floor.

The restoration and conversion company has improved the T1's chassis including redesigned multi-link front and rear axles with adjustable shock absorbers and coilover struts. There's also a new rack-and-pinion steering system and four internally ventilated disc brakes.

The T1's design has been refreshed to be modern with a touch of retro. The look was developed by the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles design center in cooperation with VWCV Vintage Vehicles and the Communications department.

Its two-tone paint is colored Energetic Orange Metallic and Golden Sand Metallic Matte. The new round LED headlamps feature daytime running lights. At the rear, there are LED charge indicators, which signal to a driver walking up to the e-BULLI how much charge the lithium-ion battery still has even before they reach the vehicle.

The reimagined interior features two colors: Saint Tropez and Saffrano Orange. The flow is made of solid wood designed to be reminiscent of a ship's deck. It also has a large panoramic floating roof.

The cockpit has new speedometer that is based on the original, Integrated LEDs indicate whether, for instance, the parking brake is on or the charging connector is plugged in. An additional detail in the center of the speedometer: a stylized Bulli symbol. A multitude of further information is shown via a tablet integrated into the roof console.

Using Volkswagen We Connect the e-BULLI driver can also call up information online by smartphone app or via a PC and a corresponding web portal such as on remaining charge time, current range, miles travelled, trip times, energy consumption and recuperation. Music on board comes from an authentic-looking retro-style radio, which, however, is equipped with cutting edge technology such as DAB+, Bluetooth, and USB.

European customers can fulfil their dream of owning an emission-free T1 at eClassics. They are offering the T1 conversion, complete with redesigned front and rear axles, at prices starting from 64,900 euros. T2 and T3 conversions are being offered by eClassics too. The company is also offering qualified dealers a ready-to-fit parts kit.

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New luxury EV

Lexus announces all-electric RZ 450e

Lexus just announced the new RZ 450e

Lexus

Lexus and Toyota have finally jumped onto the EV train, and we’ll soon see new all-electric SUVs from both. The Lexus variant, named RZ 450e, features a reasonable range, upscale interior, and neat all-wheel drive technology. We don’t have firm pricing for the Lexus, but expect it to start in the mid-to-high $40,000 range.

2023 Lexus RZRange is expected to reach 225 miles per chage. Lexus

The RZ shares a platform and much of its underlying engineering with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, but will take a more upscale approach. Though its size and overall shape are similar to the others, the Lexus’ exterior styling is sharper and sportier, with functional aerodynamic bodywork. A new Lexus logo is spelled out on the rear gate, instead of the traditional “L” of previous models.

The SUV comes with a 71.4-kWh battery that should deliver a range of around 225 miles on a charge. All-wheel drive is standard, and uses the RZ’s dual electric motors to shift power between the wheels that need it most.

Inside, the RZ features a minimalist, open space with controls meant to remind drivers of a horse’s reins. Ultrasuede upholstery and woodgrain trim come standard. Lexus notes the RZ’s head-up display is controllable via steering wheel-mounted buttons that handle navigation, audio, and other functions.

2023 Lexus RZThough similar to the Toyota bZ4X inside, the Lexus IS more upscale and minimalist. Lexus

Speaking of the steering wheel, the first RZs will be available with a round wheel only, but later on, Lexus will offer a yoke-style wheel like the one seen in the Toyota bZ4X concept and Tesla’s Plaid models.

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New electric vehicles

Ford to release seven new EVs in Europe

Ford will release 7 new EVs in Europe over the next few years.

Ford Motor Motor Company

The Blue Oval is moving rapidly toward an all-electric future, both at home here in the U.S., and abroad. Today, Ford Europe announced the development of seven new EV models to be released across the continent in the coming years, including passenger vehicles and vans. Ford believes its annual EV sales in Europe to surpass 600,000 units by 2026, and notes that it will sell more than two million EVs worldwide by that time.

Ford Cologne, GermanyFord has big plans for its European production facilities. Ford Motor Company

Ford says it will offer seven new electric vehicles in Europe by 2025, and starting in 2023, the automaker will begin producing a new electric passenger car and a midsize electric crossover. Both will be built in Ford's Cologne, Germany facility, and will be joined by another EV in 2024. Additionally, the best-selling Ford Puma will go electric in 2024.

To help achieve these goals, Ford is partnering with Turkish company Koç. The deal creates a joint venture in Turkey to manufacture Nickel NMC cells for battery production. Production will start as soon as 2025, and will reach an annual battery production capacity of 30 to 45 Gigawatt hours. Ford's Craiova, Romania facility will also contribute, helping with production of the Puma and other commercial vehicles.

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