Original VW Microbus gets EV conversion from eClassics

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Volkswagen is known to be working on a spiritual successor to the Microbus, complete with battery-electric power. But fans of the original can go the electric route too thanks to the folks at eClassics.

The German company made headlines a year ago when it rolled out an original VW Beetle that had been turned into an EV using components borrowed from VW’s e-Up minicar sold overseas. Now it’s returned with an electric conversion for the original T1 Microbus, which it’s demonstrated with a fully restored 1966 Samba.

Volkswagen e-Beetle

Once again, eClassics has used mostly genuine VW components for its EV conversion. Power now comes from a single electric motor delivering 89 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque versus the 43 hp and 75 lb-ft of the Bus’ original 4-banger. Owners can expect to reach a governed top speed of 80 mph.

A 1-speed automatic transmission has been added and the driver can use this to increase the level of brake-energy regeneration, by switching into the B position. Like the original Bus, drive is to the rear wheels only in eClassics’ conversion.

1966 Volkswagen Samba Bus with EV conversion from eClassics

1966 Volkswagen Samba Bus with EV conversion from eClassics

The battery is a 45-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit stored in the floor. It’s good for a range approaching 124 miles on a charge, likely with mixed driving. Fast charging at up to 50 kilowatts can deliver an 80-percent charge in 40 minutes.

eClassics doesn’t stop there, though. To support the added weight of the electronics, as well as improve the ride of the Bus, the company also installs new multi-link suspension with adjustable shocks and coil-over struts at both ends. The brakes and steering systems are also upgraded to more modern specs.

1966 Volkswagen Samba Bus with EV conversion from eClassics

1966 Volkswagen Samba Bus with EV conversion from eClassics

eClassics is offering its T1 conversion, complete with chassis upgrades, for 64,900 euros (approximately $69,700). The company also has conversions for the T2 and T3 generations.

As for VW’s spiritual successor to the Microbus, it’s due in 2022 and will slot into the automaker’s ID family of EVs. The vehicle will ride on VW’s MEB modular EV platform and sport a design previewed by the series of ID Buzz concept cars.

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