Volkswagen enthusiasts will welcome the sight of a big-plate VW badge, made famous by its presence on the Type 2, or Microbus as it came to be known in the U.S. Germans called the Type 2 the Bulli, hence the name of the new concept.
Unlike the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive Type 2, the Bulli gets front-wheel drive from its front-mounted electric motor. Volkswagen claims impressive numbers for the concept, such as a 186-mile range and a 1-hour charging time.
The Bulli's doors are hinged, similar to those on the Type 2. Later Volkswagen Microbuses would get sliding side doors. One area where the Bulli does not compete with the Type 2 is quantity of windows, which numbered up to 23 in the original vehicle.
The chrome dish evokes the look of the Type 2's hubcaps. The electric motor and 40-kWh lithium ion battery give the Bulli 114 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. It gets to 62 mph in a sedate 11.5 seconds.
As the Bulli is not nearly as long or tall as the Type 2, its cargo space is smaller. But the rear seats can be folded flat to maximize space. The front bench also folds down in a two-thirds split, leaving the driver's seat up.
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.