Volkswagen Slated To Show Yet Another Microbus Concept

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

Multiple outlets are reporting that the vehicle seen in this teaser photo from Volkswagen is none other than an electrified version of the Microbus concept and it will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. The photo follows an earlier report by Autocar (which has since been updated with the same photo and new text) that said Volkswagen would bring a new Microbus to the Las Vegas convention.

We won’t disagree. We also won’t hold our breath for a production model.

According to Volkswagen (in the same release as our earlier story on new infotainment and TFT displays on the Volkswagen Golf), the concept “marks the beginning of a new era of affordable long-distance electromobility.”

However, this isn’t the first time Volkswagen has teased their iconic hippie van.

In 2001, Volkswagen showed a Microbus Concept at IAA Frankfurt and planned to bring it to production by 2003. However, that project was officially shelved in 2005.

Later, in 2011, Volkswagen again showed a Microbus concept in Geneva. This time it was called Bulli and shown with an electric powertrain. All news of a production model went mute shortly thereafter.

Now, some 14 years after the originally reprised concept was shown in Frankfurt, and after years and years of thinking the Microbus would be just around the corner, Volkswagen is again slated to show what could be yet another Microbus concept at CES.

Needless to say, our enthusiasm is tempered by history. However, if the Microbus truly is as electrified as people say it could be, this could be just the ticket for Volkswagen right now.

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Dec 13, 2015

    To be a serious EV these days - and a microbus - it would need at least a 50 kWh battery to go maybe 150 miles. This would put it just below the Tesla Model S price range, so I'd figure on $50k to start. So yeah, DOA if it's an EV. If it's an ICE, then its competition will crush it - so DOA for that path. BUT, it could have a chance as a hybrid. A cool, fresh shape that gets 30+ mpg city could be a nice alternative to the CUV form factor that has become so prevalent.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Dec 13, 2015

    I'm thinking the diesel emissions fiasco might be the best thing to occur for VW. I do believe this is some form of spin taking people back to the good old days, but it also is showing that VW does have quite a good idea with a people mover EV. It seems most EVs are cars and not utility style vehicles. Mainstream people want utility in a vehicle, even though most do not require it. If VW can pull this off it might just work. I do realise is a teaser at the moment to gauge interest and deflect VW's recent woes. I'm expecting to hear only good "things" from VW in the future. VW will need to be on their toes to extract every penny they can from the greatly reduced development side of the business. So every vehicle that comes off of the drawing board must be successful.

  • RHD RHD on Dec 13, 2015

    If VW doesn't build a new Microbus now, those who would be interested will very soon be unavailable to buy one. Maybe the Koreans will grab the opportunity - how about a Kia Kombi Klassic starting at just $19,999? They could create a new generation of diehard hipp-ster-ies. It should be powered by an electric motor, with a tiny 3-cylinder gasoline backup to recharge during those cross-country trips over the Rockies or into the desert. The roof could be one giant solar panel, so the 'tank' refills while parked. If Tesla were to build a minivan sort of vehicle, it would be right up the lifestyle alley of the upper-middle-class clientele that already loves their product. "Forget the Yukon, honey, what I really want is one of those new Tesla Brotkastens!"

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    • RHD RHD on Dec 13, 2015

      @RideHeight No, I was just looking for a foreign word for "breadbox" that would make a reasonably funky name for a modern loaf-shaped Microbus. The idea, of course, is for the curious reader to look up "brotkasten" on Google, and thereby get the humorous intention.

  • Slow_Joe_Crow Slow_Joe_Crow on Dec 14, 2015

    VW with the Microbus is like Lucy with the football, but we have stopped being Charlie Brown.