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VW unveils new 'hippy' microbus at Geneva show

Original idea from Dutch importer

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

GENEVA - Volkswagen is resurrecting its iconic microbus, which debuted in 1950 and became a favourite of hippies for its unique styling and copious space for travellers. Volkswagen recently featured a concept version of the van - known by its German nickname, the Bulli - at the Geneva Auto Show.

Among the six-seater's modern twists: It's powered by an electric motor and uses an iPad to control the entertainment system, climate control and other functions.

Volkswagen said the Bulli can go up to 300 kilometres on a single battery charge. That's far, considering that the Nissan Leaf is rated at 117km on a charge by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Bulli can go up to 140km per hour.

The Bulli was the brainchild of Dutch Volkswagen importer, Ben Pon, who in 1947 sketched out a simple public bus built on the wheels of the Volkswagen Beetle. The original Bulli was produced from 1950 to 1967. Other versions followed, and the vehicle was eventually sold worldwide.

The new concept is slightly shorter and wider than the original version, with a less boxy front. It gives plenty of nods to the original Bulli, including a three-person bench seat in the front and a two-tone paint job.

Volkswagen has not confirmed when the concept van will go into production.