Retrofitted classic helps to celebrate 20 years of the Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL)
If people had the option of buying a VW Type 2 Bus with a modern EV powertrain, would they want the new I.D. Buzz? This is a discussion that can go on forever, especially among nostalgic folks, but Volkswagen did not want to start it. Not on purpose, at least. It just wanted to celebrate the 20 years of its former Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL), now named Innovation and Engineering Center California (IECC). And it did that turning a Type 2, also known as Bus, into an electric concept called Type 20.
The Type 20 does not disclose its intentions apart from the cool painting and the orange wheels, presented with a structure Volkswagen calls “generative design”. It is also present on the rear-view mirror supports and on the steering wheel and rear seat supports on the inside. It looks like aerial roots and not for a style purpose, but to create stronger structures with less weight than conventional ones.
When you check the engine bay, you realize you are in front of an EV. And the Type 20 uses a 120 hp and 173 lb-ft electric motor fed by a 10 kWh battery pack. Probably enough for a few miles, just to show the Type 20 for the press and in events.
While the Type 2 had rear suspension arms with varying camber, the Type 20 uses a custom pneumatic suspension developed with Porsche that adjusts the concept’s height via software. VW says it can rise when the driver approaches, but does not explain why the Type 20 does that. We suppose it is for it to ride close to the floor, improving stability at high speed, and to make getting in and out of the concept more comfortable.
The Type 20 also presents biometric identification through facial recognition, a holographic infotainment system and conversational digital assistants. All of them with the same sort of cutting-edge technology that helped ERP create “Stanley”. If you do not remember it, this Touareg was the first robotic car to finish the DARPA Grand Challenge, in 2005, by traveling 132 miles of desert autonomously.
This special Type 2 will meet visitor of the IECC in Silicon Valley, California. But we bet we will have the chance to see it at some major auto shows from now on, especially those that take place in the US.
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