Electric powertrain, digital gimmicks all around, and the same retrolicious look that stole so many hearts

With Dieselgate still not entirely in the rearview mirror, Volkswagen is focusing its efforts more than ever and perhaps, more than any carmaker, on electrification. You might have noticed how right after the diesel scandal broke out, Volkswagen’s marketing and PR machine responded. Grandiose plans to build and sell electric cars by the millions were sketched, together with the promise that every compact car, supermini, sedan or SUV would eventually find a BEV counterpart. Volkswagen’s plans are still rolling today, but it’s not necessarily the upcoming ID3 that gets the headline here. No, not even close. It’s a T2 Transporter bus VW has just restored with an electric twist. Meet the Volkswagen Type 20 concept, a glimpse at what the future of e-restomods might look like but also an exercise in fancy cabin tech like facial recognition and holographic multimedia setups.

What is a VW Type 20?

VW's Type 20 Concept Is a T2 Transporter From The Future
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Obviously, not something you’ll see at your dealer or something that pops up on Volkswagen’s official website, waiting for you to configure it to your own liking.

The Type 20 started life as a 1962 Type 2 11-window microbus, but it has been converted to electric power.

Why? Well, VW says it wants to show us how tactile commands and interactive electronics can be combined and fitted to future all-electric cars. We believe such experiments lead the way for more good stuff. For example, being able to bring back to life vintage cars of all sorts through the aid of a hassle-free, way-more-reliable electric powertrain would make a lot of us jump for joy. Plus, this is something that companies like Jaguar have been already doing, so we could be looking at the inception of a trend here.

VW Type 20 Concept - Design

VW's Type 20 Concept Is a T2 Transporter From The Future
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As we were saying, the Type 20 concept is fully electric. VW took out the internal combustion engine and installed a 10 kWh battery pack that powers an electric motor.

The electric motor makes 120 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque, but we're not given any sort of details on performance, perhaps because 0-60 acceleration figures and top speed are not exactly of paramount importance here.
For the sake of comparison, that's only a small fraction of what the ID Buzz will provide: 111 kWh battery pack and two electric motors making 369 horsepower.

In any case, the Type 20 concept also features an active air suspension setup developed with Porsche. It allows the user to lower/heighten the ride to his or her liking, but VW says the Type 20 also rises when the driver approaches the car. VW is also experimenting with biometric vehicle access. This means that the Type 20 gets a real-time facial recognition system that identifies users and lets them enter the car. Or not. The whole process is done with the aid of a 720p wide-angle camera positioned into the second window on the driver’s side.

VW's Type 20 Concept Is a T2 Transporter From The Future
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Even more cooler than that is how VW worked with Autodesk to create the custom, organic-look wheels, side-mirror arms, and interior support elements. The carmaker says it used a process called generative design which focuses on minimum weight and maximum strength by mimicking the way organic shapes evolve - think of a tree’s roots or wall-climbing vines. But we’re not done. VW says it fitted the Type 20 prototype with a holographic infotainment system. How’s that? Well, all VW had to do was install a Looking Glass II holographic display into the dashboard. The display generates 3D images that don’t require special glasses to be perceived by the human eye.

Volkswagen Type 20 Concept Specs

Drivetrain BEV
Battery 10 kWh
Onboard charger 2,500 watts
Electric motor power 120 hp
Electric motor torque 173 pound-feet
Suspension pneumatic, developed with Porsche

Further reading

2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo.

2017 Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz.

1950 Volkswagen Type2 T1
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Volkswagen Type2 T1

Read our full review on the 1950 Volkswagen Type2 T1.

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