Since they were originally released in the 1950’s, Volkswagen’s camper buses have always occupied a special place in the hearts of American drivers. In the 1960’s, they became symbols of the counterculture movement. And then, at the end of the 1970’s, imports to the U.S. ceased as production was outsourced to Brazil.
Since then, collectors have done their best to preserve the limited number of VW buses left in the States. Volkswagen has made a few attempts at reviving the line over the years, but each time the new models have looked more like minivans than the beloved road tripping hippie mobiles of the 60’s.
Soon, however, according to Volkswagen’s development chief Hans-Jakob Neusser, we may see a return to the original design in the form of a new electric version of the camper bus. In a recent interview with Autocar, Neusser identified three particular design ques that he sees as integral to the buses’ aesthetic. “First the wide, solid D-Pillar, second the boxy design of the center section, and thirdly, the front end must have a very short overhang. The distance from the A-pillar to the front end must be very short.”
Neusser also confirmed that there would be two versions of the new bus – one of which will be powered by a gasoline engine, while the other will be outfitted with an electric motor. Volkswagen claims that the electric versions will be able to travel about 250-300 miles on a charge. Not too shabby.
In the wake of the company’s recent diesel emissions scandal, this electric bus might be just what Volkswagen needs to regain the trust of its customer base. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see if the final design lives up to the expectation.