By on December 12, 2015

Volkswagen Microbus CES teaser

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.

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31 Comments on “Volkswagen Slated To Show Yet Another Microbus Concept...”


  • avatar
    993cc

    From an aerodynamics perspective, I’m not sure how the microbus “brick on wheels” form factor is compatible with “affordable long-distance electromobility.”

  • avatar
    Joss

    Is there really that much room for it in NA? I mean there’s bespoke ProMaster & Transit offerings.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I doubt they’ve out that much thought in to it.

      It probably has three things going for it:
      1) It’s not a diesel
      2) It’s not a sedan, it’s a “crossover”.
      3) it harkens back to a VW that people actually liked.

      If it were produced, I wonder if it world be as reliable as my father’s VW minibus. One of the first things I remember doing with a tool was going back to the blue VW bus (the one he kept for parts) to get a taillight assembly for the orange VW bus (the one we drove).

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      It’s probably closer in size to the outgoing xB & still going strong Soul. If it could come in at Soul prices but be slightly larger I could see it getting serious traction but it’ll come in higher than the golf and that means it’ll be DOA.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Some VW minibus nostalgia for y’all:

    My father used to tell a story of when the orange bus’s engine seized. The rear wheels locked up until he figured out what the problem was and out in the clutch. After he got it towed back home, he set about overhauling the engine on his workbench in the barn. While he was overhauling the engine, the family goat managed to jump up on the workbench and scare the beejezus out of him.

    So, yes, that’s the nostalgia they’re trying to bring back. The man drove Japanese (and , later, Korean cars) until his death.

    Still, the VW minibus did the job of a minivan before they were invented!

    There were five kids in the blended family at the time, and the bus had seats for everyone.

    I also remember my dad taking me down to the sandpit and having a loader operator dump a load of sand into the orange bus for what I later realized was my sandbox as a very small child.

    For all of its faults (like not being able to keep up with traffic, and randomly seizing engines), it was a practical family vehicle. My dad used it like the tool it was.

    P.S. We also had a junked VW beetle parked behind the barn. Apparently my dad and my grandfather drove them for a time. My grandfather even survived a fender bender in one.

    P.S.2. I later owned a water cooled diesel Jetta, and was disappointed to find that 30 years of engineering progress had made the vehicle complex and expensive to repair (unlike the air cooled VWs), but no less dramatic to own.

    P.S.3. I’m not convinced that VW brand nostalgia is a good thing, but harkening back to the days when you could (abd needed to) overhaul a VW engine on your kitchen table does roll the clock back to before a lot of their recent problems.

    P.S.4. A practical *and* reliable electric minivan or CUV has a place in my driveway. I’m not convinced VW can deliver either, though.

  • avatar

    Meanwhile at a impromptu and secret board meeting…

    “Herr Müller… Our flagship has become universally hated. We need to do something to improve our public persona.”

    “Yes. I think I might have an idea. What do you think of when you think Volkswagen type II microbus?”

    “Herr Müller, I think if hippies, drugs, communes and the summer of free love.”

    “Puts a smile on your face to think if it, doesn’t it?”

    “Indeed it does, Herr Müller!”

    “Call Design. Have them draw some rough sketches of a new microbus. We’ll show them to the media who will undoubtedly run articles on them. The public will re-associate us with good times and forget about what rotten bastards we are. They will think fondly of us again. Cost: Nothing!”

    “Oh thank you Herr Müller! Thank you! Thank you!”

    “Anytime. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.”

  • avatar
    callmeishmael

    The VW Transporter became iconic because it was inexpensive, reliable, and it hauled more stuff than anyone thought it could. Does anyone really believe that VW will be even one of those things – let alone all three of them?

    The concept vehicle fails in every way to evoke the original. If they want to sell this thing as nostalgia then they ought to consider making it look like a a tired concept vehicle with a big VW emblem plastered on the nose.

    “Please man, it’s a bummer.”

    For the record, I have owned, maintained and driven a ’57 six-door panel, ’59 Kombi and ’67 Kombi.

  • avatar
    Joss

    It’s failed for them with new beetle.

    • 0 avatar

      The Beetle helped float VW’s public goodwill and feel-good feels for nearly 15 years. They need the Microbus almost as much as they need a realistic Equinoz/Escape/RAV4/CR-V/Rogue-sized/price crossover, a 3-row crossover, and much MUCH more than they need a boutique electric car, Phaeton, or yet another performance iteration of the Golf.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Just build the damn thing already.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Key breakthrough tech is the Owsley’s Acid/Kool-Aid battery.

    Germans know their Americana; they’re just a little late to market considering anyone still nostalgic for this is in a wheelchair and on even more drugs than they were in the ’60s.

  • avatar
    Krivka

    An electrified vehicle that is designed to be a camper It is ludicrous and the media should quit buying the BS the VW group is putting out. If VW wishes to be relevant ever again, it does need to offer dependable and DEPENDABLE vehicles. The old air cooled engines could be taken out and rebuilt is three hours by a person of average mechanical skills. Go for it VW.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    It needs a TDI option. Yes, seriously.

  • avatar
    spamvw

    I will be interested to see if this is another tease, otherwise the vanagon is getting a subie motor.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      You could get a “POWERED BY SUBARU” sticker for the back window, if only because “POWERED BY VOLKSWAGEN” would be as silly as a Civic with a “POWERED BY HONDA” decal.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    If it’s meant to evoke the old Microbus, do they really need that huge fake grille?
    I thought “Ford Edge” before Microbus.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    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.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    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.

  • avatar
    RHD

    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!”

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Tesla Brotkastens”

      Is dropping an occasional German word considered chic in Teslite society? Can the First World be back in vogue?

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        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.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

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

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