Good Oil: Kombi gets a plug-in grandchild
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It was a design study that set the Detroit show alight this year, not least because it was, essentially an electrically powered modern take on the iconic Volkswagen Kombi.
Perhaps seeking any good news opportunity anywhere when it comes to the American market, Volkswagen has delivered confirmation that the modern Microbus is set to ride again.
Keeping close to its hippy roots, the 21st-century Kombi grandchild will also be an EV — a part of Volkswagen’s planned I.D electric car sub-brand, no less.
Volkswagen brand supremo Herbert Diess told the UK’s Auto Express that “Emotional cars are very important for the brand”.
“We are selling loads of Beetles still, particularly in the US market. But we will also have the Microbus that we showed, which we have recently decided we will build,” he said.
The vehicle will be based heavily on the I.D BUZZ concept (their pointless caps lock, not ours) and although utterly reminiscent of a Kombi — even if you squint — the production version will be an MPV, so possibly smaller in stature than the original Kombi van of the 1950s and 1960s.
That’s not the most fashionable segment of the market by any stretch, but an electric Kombi look-alike with — we presume — retro-themed design detailing? This thing could reinvigorate the MPV market.
Or at least push the evolving EV segment in an interesting new direction.
The production version will use the Volkswagen Group’s scalable MEB platform, but not much is known about what a production I.D BUZZ will be capable of in terms of performance.
The concept version boasted an electric motor on each axle producing combined peak power of 275kW.
Its battery range was claimed to be up to nearly 600km, although that surely is a theoretical figure only.
We don’t even know when a production Microbus might launch, although we do know what the ultimate music festival transport will be, come the summer of 2022.
All ready for a holiday take-off
Rocket off… to the nearest campground. Photo / Supplied
Speaking of camper vans, how’s this for a camper fit for the stratosphere?
This one-off build will certainly make the average motorhomer stand out at the Top 10 Holiday Park next summer.
It’s for sale online with a $19,500 price tag.
What do budding Buzz Aldrins of the butane stove get for that? A shower and toilet, a two-burner hob, LED lights and a double bed, although the seller suggests it’ll sleep three.
It even comes with live registration and a WOF.
It looks well put-together; the seller describes it as surplus to requirements now that a much bigger “Mark 2” version of the rocket camper has been built.
We saw the updated, supersized version at this year’s Leadfoot Festival in Hahei, proving that although uniquely shaped, the design is utterly usable.
Giulia gets a makeover
Concept beacon lights befitting a concept Alfa police car. Photo / Supplied
Trust the Italians to embrace the idea of a super-cool, super-stylish police car. We remember when the svelte Alfa Romeo 159 arrived, a similar dress-up job to what you see here found its way into a world where the idea of the internet meme was just starting to be a thing.
Fast forward 12 years and now we have the first concept illustrations of what an Alfa Romeo Giulia would look like if blasted around piazzas at speed by the Italian Carabinieri. Hardly surprising, but it looks damn good.
The Giulia is one gorgeous piece of work. But because this can’t be any ordinary patrol car, even the beacon lights have had a suitably fashionable makeover.
Designed by Mattia Marvadi, the lights are a concept idea only (like the rest of the car), but they certainly put the “flash” in … er, flashing lights.
Unlike the big old red and blue buckets of the past, the assembly atop the Giulia even puts the slimline light bars used by the local Kiwi constabulary to shame.
Marvadi’s system looks like a regal crown on the Alfa’s roof that manages to follow the lines of the car as a whole.
On paper at least, the sirens have everything, too.
They are equipped with four big bright LED lights for 360-degree visibility, as well as boasting a solid cruise light, a high-powered front searchlight for putting fleeing jewel thieves in Casino Square under the spotlight, and even an LED backlit screen for more run-of-the-mill duties, such as alerting traffic to an incident ahead.
Oh, and rather than requiring some massive cable-sprouting box bolted into the centre console to operate, Marvadi envisions the Giulia’s sirens would be controlled by conveniently-placed paddles behind the steering wheel.
What’s Italian for “You’re nicked, son”?