Grateful Dead-heads, rejoice! Along with the Beetle, Volkswagen’s Microbus (the first minivan) became an iconic hero vehicle to the American counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s, yet they were never intended to achieve anything like that status. Those vehicles have now moved on to fastidious restorers from their bejointed hippie stewards.
VW actually penned a second-look Microbus concept about ten years ago. Any real plans got tossed in the ash tray like yesterday’s roach clip, so a modern-day Microbus hit a road block. Now, Volkswagen offers another chance for its Microbus Redux at the Geneva show with the Bulli concept vehicle. “Bulli” was a popular nickname in Germany for the original bus.
The Bulli is a modern take on the classic Microbus with four hinged doors and two bench seats, though up-to-date technology bubbles over like bong water, including an Apple iPad that controls your Jefferson Airplane soundtrack, mated to a Fender - designed premium audio system.
The Bulli uses a front-mounted 113-hp electric motor giving leisurely acceleration to 60 mph in 11.5 seconds, a mellow top speed of 87 mph and a range of roughly 186 miles. Volkswagen claims a full recharge is less than an hour’s proposition. Not that you’d notice the wait in your altered state.
VW of America President and CEO Jonathan Browning has stated that he’s keen to re-introduce a Microbus in the US market, so the Bulli may, in fact, turn out to be more real than one might think.