Volkswagen eliminated the e-Golf from the lineup for 2020, since it has the newfangled ID models on tap to replace it. But the company still found an excellent way to use that car’s electric powertrain technology. Volkswagen of America partnered with electric conversion specialists EV West to electrify a Type 2 van, now dubbed the “e-Bus.”
The donor vehicle is a 1972 Type 2 model, finished in two-tone Kansas Beige and Pastel White. The donor motor came from a 2017 e-Golf. That engine produces 134 horsepower, which may not sound like much, but it’s more than double the output of the original 60-hp 2.0-liter air-cooled unit. The e-Bus has a range of approximately 125 miles.
EV West’s conversion kept the exterior unmodified. On the inside, the motor sits in the old engine bay. The bus houses its batteries in reinforced, fireproof compartments located under the front seats and where the fuel tank had been. The conversion kept the long-throw shifter, though it now shifts to P, R, N, D and B (regenerative braking mode).
VW says this build showcases “the possibilities of the e-Golf powertrain to motivate classic VW models.” Such EV conversions of classic cars should catch on in the future — especially for classic cars like the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus, where it’s more about style than substance.
After all, classic cars generally don’t need the 200-to-300-mile range of modern EVs. For the many that were pitifully underpowered by today’s standards, an electric engine could easily match, if not considerably improve upon, the original car’s performance. New electric motors are easier to maintain than creaking, ancient gasoline ones. This technology could make that vintage VW #VanLife a lot easier. (An electric conversion also future-proofs the car against potential pollution-fighting legislation.)
Aston Martin is already offering a Heritage EV conversion kit for its classic vehicles. This VW proves we should expect other manufacturers to follow suit.
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