Volkswagen Bulli

VW says : a six-seater, 3+3 configuration, gives maximum flexibility, powered by lithium-ion 85 kW electric motor with a theoretical range of up to 300km on one charge.

Speaking to Klaus Bischoff, Head of Volkswagen Design, at the show we learned that the Bulli is not just the latest evolution of the iconic Microbus but was designed around a new concept of mobility.  “The Microbus was about a certain lifestyle, freedom to travel with friends and family, and also communicate inside the car”.  Radically there is no centre console, all infotainment is controlled via a removable iPad, and the gear lever has been replaced by a rotary switch which also turns the motor on and off.  The origninal flat floor concept fits nicely to new battery technology and this is where the lithium-ion batteries are sandwiched in; Bischoff is quick to point out that the technology is still expensive and options such as highly efficient petrol or diesel alternatives are better solutions at the moment so that price is in line with its young buyers.  But it wasn’t all this technical stuff that really is appealing, it was the simplicity of the design gesture and architecture of the car that is so innovative.  The friendly driving position, the bench seats that place you next to your friends, the open air feel of the cabin that encourages conversation; in a time where technology has taken over our communication skills it might be nice just to chill for a few hours on a road trip and perhaps check with the iPad to find some choice waves!