VW considers electric Camper van

The Camper will need to go electric to keep its boxy shape with an extremely short front end.

Volkswagen is reportedly considering a Camper van revival, but with an electric powertrain.

The idea isn't exactly new for the brand, surfacing in 2001 as a Microbus revival and again in 2011 as the Bulli concept. The latter model was presented as an EV with a 40 kWh battery and a 186-mile range, with 114 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, however the project was killed in 2012.

The Camper EV follows the same theme, utilizing an electric motor to keep its iconic shape without having to extend the nose to fit a modern internal-combustion engine, as a rear-engine layout is now out of the question. Speaking to Autocar at the New York auto show, VW board member Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser suggests a revival will need to maintain several other design elements that helped define the original.

"First the wide, solid, D-Pillar, second the boxy design of the centre section and, thirdly, the front end must have a very short overhang," he said. "The distance from the A-pillar to the front end must be very short."

The company never fully explained why the Bulli never came to fruition, but battery prices were one potential deal breaker. A recent study by the Stockholm Environment Institute suggests automakers were still paying over $400 per kWh in 2014, equating to more than $16,000 just for the Bulli's battery pack, but prices are expected to fall below $250 per kWh within the next two years.

Neusser notes that VW designers are currently working on a fresh concept, expected to resemble the Bulli, however a time-frame for introducing the new van has not been publicly confirmed.

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