VW: Bringing Back the Hippie Bus?

New version of the 'Bulli' debuts at auto show

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 5, 2011 5:35 PM CST

(Newser) – The iconic Volkswagen microbus, beloved by hippies everywhere, is maybe—just maybe—about to make its triumphant return. The carmaker showed a concept version of the van at Tuesday's Geneva Auto Show, the AP reports. The Bulli—its German nickname—is just a bit different from the version that debuted in 1950: It has an electric motor, it can go as far as 186.4 miles on one battery charge, and an iPad controls its entertainment system and climate control.

For comparison purposes, the Nissan Leaf is rated 73 miles per charge by the EPA—so 186.4 miles is pretty darn far. In addition to the modern differences, there are some old-school nods to the original, including a three-person bench seat in the front and the two-tone look on the exterior. Just one problem for future hippies: VW has yet to confirm it will actually start making the buses.

Volkswagen's Bulli concept car is presented during the press day of the 81st International Motor show in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 1,  2011.
Volkswagen's Bulli concept car is presented during the press day of the 81st International Motor show in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
The classic Volkswagen bus.
The classic Volkswagen bus.   (©jordanfischer)
A worker cleans Volkswagen's Bulli concept car during the press day of the 81st International Motor show in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 1,  2011.
A worker cleans Volkswagen's Bulli concept car during the press day of the 81st International Motor show in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
An inside view of Volkswagen's Bulli concept car during the press day of the 81st International Motor show in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 1,  2011.
An inside view of Volkswagen's Bulli concept car during the press day of the 81st International Motor show in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn stands beside Volkswagen Bulli concept car on the eve  of the 81st International Motor show in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Feb 28, 2011.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn stands beside Volkswagen Bulli concept car on the eve of the 81st International Motor show in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Feb 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/dapd, Sascha Schuermann)
In this product image provided by Volkswagen, the 2011 Bulli microbus is shown.
In this product image provided by Volkswagen, the 2011 Bulli microbus is shown.   (AP Photo/Volkswagen)
A 1966 Volkswagen bus.
A 1966 Volkswagen bus.   (Getty Images)
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