Volkswagen Bulli Concept at 2011 Geneva Motor Show


  • Looks like: VW’s answer to the Scion xB
  • Defining characteristics: Electric powertrain, seats six
  • Ridiculous features: An iPad controls onboard entertainment
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Better than iffy

In 2001 Volkswagen debuted a concept Microbus that to this day looks fresh and makes us long for it to star in a “Little Miss Sunshine” sequel. VW says it didn’t forget about that concept and has developed a new one, called the Bulli, to take up the mantle as the next small van from the company.

The verbiage from the Geneva International Motor Show makes this sound like a compact van, with an electric motor with a 186-mile range. The range alone makes us want one, as most EVs on the market today or planned for the near future top out at 100 miles. A high-speed charging station could fully charge the Bulli in less than an hour, VW says. If electric isn’t your thing, the company says small power plants — think 1.0- or 1.4-liter — will also fit under that puggish hood.

But at 157 inches long, this is one small, small van. Mini’s new Countryman SUV is 161 inches long. A Scion xB is 167.3 inches long. That means when you recline all the seats to form a “large reclining surface” or bed, there might not be room to stretch out.
When the rear seats are completely stowed for maximum cargo room, the Bulli has 56 cubic feet of storage. The Countryman has just 41.

We’d worry more about the specs if this were a production vehicle, but automakers rarely give them out for concepts like this. Instead, they focus on unusual interior treatments, like the integrated iPad dock that controls onboard entertainment features such as music.

There are also few controls, like a traditional shifter, since it’s an electric concept. Clearly, if they do put an engine in it, they’d need to put one somewhere …



WAY COOL. Build it. And don't change a thing.

The Chrysler-derived mini vans are such rolling terds.


Similar to the Space Up which is rumored to eventually make it over here. Nice!


I like it. I don't understand why somebody would want a ton and a half of batteries when they could get a tdi but that's the kind of greenwashing that is out there


YES Build it I'll buy it.

Keep the iPad dock also. The iPad is leaps and bounds ahead of any car entertainment system.


Build it as an EV. Who wants a clattering stinking diesel engine ruining the atmosphere and causing lung cancer.

Troy S.

I like it. Build it please!

Ste (Original SG)

Where do I sign for one!?


Yes please! Keep the iPad too!


VW: Build this and sell it here, in the U.S....
I would gladly buy one, especially with that retro two tone exterior color scheme.
Love it!

Very cool! A diesel would make if fun to drive too. I'd buy one then. Agree w/ AladdinSane on two tone color scheme.


i'd love to see this with a small tdi engine. build it please, and keep the minimalist interior!


It would be nice is it had those little windows on the roof, or a slide back fabric sunroof!


Like Challenger, Camaro, and Mustang, please make it look more like a real MicroBus...then I'll buy one for sure!

well, questionable name aside, as the mercedes concept based on the box fish showed it is possible to make a boxy shape very aerodynamic. just make sure the shape has practical merit and not just a 4 seater that would be better as a coupe. could be a mini camper tail gate thingy. flat floor and front seats that flip forward so you can sleep in it while keeping a small form factor. could come in a couple of sizes for different purposes. maybe a tilt roof to create taller space in the back while stationary. could be cute and have good efficiency


Give me one in a hybrid diesel :-)


Fit this with some solar on top and I would consider getting One....or Two


I would buy one today! I hope with an electric it isn't prohibitively expensive. I would take a golf tdi or gas engine. Just please make it as cute as this. I am ready to trade in the New Beetle Convertible....


Make a manual shift version and this will be a hit!


This thing is cool. Having owned several VW's myself I would love to have this.

One cool thing would be to make the rear doors sliders like a normal van. This makes getting a baby in the car seat so much easier. And, split the rear hatch door to have a hatch and a tailgate!


If it can truly and comfortably seat six, then I am in.

Joe Falejczyk

To be a Bus the engine must be in the back end and you must sit on the front wheels.

This vehicle is a Van. I hope they build it. I want a tdi I can run on non-fossil fuel.

Alex Matthews

LOVE IT! Don't change a thing, make those high speed chargers an accessory & keep the retro two tone...sign me up for 2!


how could those seats possibly look less comfortable???

Even with an engine, if the transmission is automatic, then there's no shifter required. Chrysler showed us that back in the '60s -- push-buttons on the dash work just fine. And with a computer controlled transmission, the "gear selector" can on on the iPad.

Put in a tiny lawn mover engine generator and extend the range to 300-500mi. What's the problem???

Sweet Sam

I want one in my driveway. Had an original, my son begged me for it when he was in college, I gave it to him.
I had many pleasant days in it. Including a trip to Maritime Canada.

I love the design, very slick :) I think I want one !

I'm diggin' it ... but I like the classic lines better. Which means I like the redo bodystyle of the 2001 concept WAY better... this is looking too CHEVY ASTRO. Take away the sharp angles ... give the classic originality a better nod and we're there.... it shall be PERFECTO.

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