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Published on August 3rd, 2020 | by Joshua Chin

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The eBussy Could Be The Modular EV Of The Future

Like most EVs though, it exists just as a concept for now. 

The idea of the modular car has been around for a while now. All the major players in the industry have toyed with this concept, but none have made it into production. This could all change however with this new modular EV concept, the eBussy.

 

The eBussy, which is short for electric bus system, and not what urban dictionary has to say, is the brainchild of the German electric scooter startup, Electric Brands. 

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of this frankly amazing concept, the main selling point of this unfortunately named eBussy is its modular concept. Before you ask, no you can’t turn this van into a sports car just by swapping the body. This modular concept is more like the variations seen on the old VW transporter microbus. 

There are two chassis versions for the eBussy, the standard ‘city’ chassis and the jacked-up ‘off-road chassis’ for those who require extra ground clearance. And on those two chassis, there are 10 body styles that can go on it. These body styles can turn ones eBussy into a simple panel van, a microbus or even an off-road double-cab pickup truck. There are even options to turn the eBussy into a tipper truck, a box truck or in-keeping with VW tradition, a campervan. 

Like previously mentioned, any variation of old VW van one can think of is possible with the eBussy. Best of all though, is that as the eBussy is designed with the modular concept in mind, Electric Brands claim that different modules of the eBussy can be interchanged to suit different requirements, based around what they term the ‘Lego principle’. 

On the subject of the exterior styling, the eBussy looks like what happens when a VW Type 2 transporter crashes into the back of a Honda E. 

The Honda E vibe is strong at the front with the twin round LED lights and black grille panel. There is even digital exterior camera mirrors like on Honda’s EV city car. 

The rear meanwhile is more VW van. The quad rear lights in the same style as the VW are a giveaway, but even the overall shape of the eBussy is very similar to the hippie van that was so symbolic of the days of flower power. There are even some retro VW styled wheels to further drive home the point. 

But where the eBussy differs from the VW vans of old is in the powertrain. 

With the ‘e’ in the name giving the game away, the eBussy is not powered by an underpowered air-cooled flat-four Beetle engine, but instead there is stated to be a 15 kW electric motor on each corner of the eBussy driving each wheel. 

This does not sound like a lot of power, and really it isn’t. The predicted top speed of 90 km/h is an indication of the eBussy’s power potential. Then again top speed is not really important in a van, it is the torque figures that are more important. To that end, Electric Brand’s ambitious claim of 1000 Nm of pulling power certainly raises some eyebrows. 

A motor at each wheel also means permanent electrically controlled four-wheel drive is standard on the eBussy, regardless of chassis variant. 

As for the batteries of this modular EV, unlike every other EV made today with a fixed battery pack, the eBussy true to its modular roots has an equally modular solution for battery storage. 

Up to 12 separate battery cells can be stored in the under-bed lockers in the pickup variants, slide-out drawer from the back in the van body styles. Giving this EV microbus a 10 to 30 kWh battery pack with up to 200 km range for the 10 kWh variant, 600 km range for the 30 kWh.

This is frankly an ingenious idea for a van, because it means that one can trade storage space for range. And with the interchangeable batteries, the company claims that recharging can just be as simple as exchanging empty cells for new ones at the proposed battery exchange stations. No more waiting at charge points. 

Additionally, the eBussy concept touts that the solar panels on the roof, in addition to regenerative braking, is to be able to provide up to 200 km of electric range a day. 

On the inside, the eBussy is very much like a modern day interpretation of the VW microbus. The spartan dash is to be expected for a vehicle only costing from 15,800 euros (RM 78,600) for the cheapest version, rising to 28,800 euros (RM 143,400) for the fully kitted out campervan variant. 

That being said, the interior has a minimalist chic vibe to it, with speakers and charging ports available at the extreme edge of the dash, and the air con vents on the dash tops. 

Even more impressive is the fact that as the entire drivetrain is drive-by-wire, the eBussy can easily swap between left and right hand drive configurations. Just drag that thin two-spoke steering wheel and the LCD instrument cluster to the other side and job done. No news yet on how does the pedals move though. 

The eBussy concept is slated to enter production next year. However, seeing as it only exists as a rendering and not even a prototype yet, this concept still has a long way to go in a very short time frame. Let’s just hope it makes it into production eventually, and not just get canned like so many of its prototype EV counterparts. 

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About the Author

Amateur automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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