Volkswagen Bulli concept debuts in Geneva

Here’s a bad idea, a new Volkswagen Microbus that the company is calling the Bulli Concept. Oh, minivans are fine, and so is saying “we invented the Minivan,” but retro is outrĂ©, unless it’s exceptionally well done. This latest concept from Volkswagen, sucking up floor space at Geneva, is not well done, but a least it’s rare, so we don’t have to suffer from seeing this thing on the roads. It’s also not that new, when you consider that the “inspiration” for the Bulli is a ten-year-old concept that was snuffed out. That concept didn’t look appreciably different at first glance from the significantly smaller Bulli, which has more Scion xB or Kia Soul in its styling than it does Transporter.

Volkswagen is hoping that this concept will spark a new and beloved product line to complement the Caddy, Touran, Sharan and Caravelle. In North America, an in-house van would replace the Routan Volkswagen currently sells, which is a Dodge Grand Caravan with an English-to-German dictionary. If that’s what VW wants, then it shouldn’t even bother with this thing and just import one of its pre-existing people moving products.

There is an electric drivetrain that Volkswagen claims can go for up to 186.4 miles on a battery charge. The battery is lithium-ion, and VW envisions charging infrastructure along the lines of an “electric refuelling stations” that can replenish the battery’s energy in under an hour. Using the power is an electric motor noteable for its 199 lb-ft of torque and acceptably quick performance like 0-60 in 11.5 seconds. That’d be scorching performance for the original Bus. But wait, there’s more! Volkswagen says it can re-jigger the Bulli’s powertrain to incorporate a gasoline or diesel engine if that’s the propulsion system flavor of the month, too. It’s not that hard to promise this stuff when you’re selling vaporware, so yeeha.

Volkswagen’s press release goes on for paragraph upon paragraph about the styling of this thing, which means one thing. It’s crap. You don’t need to read it, just look at the pictures. Hey, they designed in an iPad dock, great! All those aging boomers that weren’t stupid enough to go spend three days in the mud at Woodstock can now try again to be cool with a large-print iPod. Wonderful. The only reason this thing exists is because Ferdinand Piech wants it.