Check out this ‘70s electric motor-equipped VW T2 Bulli that inspired the ID. Buzz


Nowadays, almost every vehicle manufacturer is racing to put forth a new electric vehicle or at least an electrified version of whatever model they have on their roster. Little did many of us know, Volkswagen has dabbled in the field of electric mobility as early as the ‘70s.


  • What motor did the T2 Bulli prototype have?

    The T2 Bulli prototype had an electric motor at the rear.
  • What platform did the T2 Bulli prototype use?

    The T2 Bulli prototype used the platform of the conventional T2 minibus.
  • Meet the T2 Bulli prototype.


    According to the German automotive brand, the prototype T2 Bulli (which had an electric motor in the rear) was the brainchild of Adolf Kalberlah, head of VW’s Future Research Department in 1970. The man designed the first electric drive systems for Volkswagen, and two years later, produced a T2-based Bulli that was displayed as a prototype.

    “The very first prototype of the T2 — a flatbed truck with an open loading area — weighed 2.2 tons and carried an 880kg battery with a capacity of 21.6 kWh,” said Volkswagen in a recent press release.


    By comparison, the production model ID. Buzz (which was inspired by the abovementioned T2 Bulli) has a battery capacity of 77kWh but weighs just 500kg.

    Speaking of which, the original T2 Bulli prototype was based on the platform of the conventional T2 while the ID. Buzz is based on VW’s Modular Electric Drive platform (MEB). The former made it difficult to install the battery in the vehicle's underbody while the latter allowed for the battery to be placed deep and flat in the “sandwich floor,” which per Volkswagen results “in a lower, more dynamic center of gravity, which delivers agility, safety, and driving pleasure while also creating more room and a new sense of space in the interior.”

    In addition, the T2 Bulli prototype’s platform’s solution to its 85-kilometer range was a battery-changing system while the ID. Buzz, like most of today’s EVs, employs a rechargeable system.

    VW claims that the T2 Bulli prototype was equipped with some form of energy recovery system, which retrieved kinetic energy under braking and then used this to charge the battery. While this technology has been refined and optimized for the ID. Buzz to increase range by 20 to 30 percent, the basic principle of generating energy through inertia in a closed system remains the same.

    This electric motor-equipped VW T2 Bulli from the ‘70s will go down in history as one of the most important concept cars from the Wolfsburg-based brand — one that inspired a vehicle that combines the most important automotive trends of both the past and the future.

    Photos from Volkswagen

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