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Volkswagen releases the Bulli van concept vehicle

The 81st Gevena International Motor Show kicks off this week, and motorheads are already buzzing about big news from Volkswagen. The New York Times Wheels blog is reporting that VW will introduce the Volkswagen Bulli concept car today. The Bulli concept derives its name from the original1950 Microbus of the same name, and was first seen by car enthusiasts in 2001. For various reasons, production of the new Bulli was put on hold, but now VW fans everywhere have reason to celebrate. Volkswagen says the new concept is more compact, affordable, and is equipped with more sustainable technologies.

The 21st century redesign is dramatically different from its 1950s predecessor. The classic panoramic windows, seating for nine, sliding doors and wimpy engine have been replaced by four conventional doors, an electric motor, and a panoramic sunroof. The Bulli still has a single bench seat in the front, with space for three in the rear.

A Volkswagen press release says the "is spacious like it was in 1950," but now "it has clean styling like never before."

This shorter, wider re-imagining of the hippie van also features an iPad-based "infotainment system." A removable iPad in the center console will control such functions as Bluetooth hands-free telephone and a navigation system, as well as the climate control system.

You can see more pictures of the Volkswagen Bulli here, and don't miss Life magazine's photo gallery of classic VW buses.

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