Volkswagen’s Electronics Research Laboratory celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion it has built an electric concept of the classic Kombi van. Called the Type 20, it’s based on a 1962 Type 2 eleven-window Microbus and features a range of experimental technology and trim.

The Volkswagen Type 20 concept is powered by a rear-mounted electric motor, which produces 120bhp and 235Nm of torque, that is driven by a 10kWh battery pack. That’s more than twice the power of the van’s original flat-four air-cooled engine. To cope with the extra grunt, it also features a custom active suspension system, co-developed with Porsche.

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Volkswagen’s engineers have also dabbled in experimental technology, fitting the Type 20 with a real-time facial recognition system, a holographic infotainment system and a conversational digital assistant capable of receiving more natural language commands. The latter system builds on the VW Group’s existing speech recognition software.

The Type 20’s custom-made alloy wheels, rear-view mirror supports and interior bracing were built in collaboration with Autodesk using generative design. The process focuses on maximising strength while minimising weight, using software to create structures which mimic the organic design found in natural evolution.

Volkswagen has also finished the Type 20 with a custom paint-job, a retrimmed interior and a set of unique headlights. As part of the concept’s debut, Volkswagen also announced it wll rename its Electronics Research Laboratory the “Innovation and Engineering Centre California,” which will work on projects for future VW Group models.

What do you think of this all-electric take on a classic van? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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