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Who said you can't teach an old van new tricks? Volkswagen's Electronic Research Laboratory has treated a Microbus – the iconic favored mode of transportation for hippies and beach bums – to a thoroughly modern overhaul, featuring an assortment of electric do-dads and gizmos.

The engine has been replaced with a tree-huggin', whale-savin' all-electric unit powered by ten 30-volt lithium polymer batteries co-developed with Nevada-based Hybrid Technologies, giving this lovemobile a 100-mile range – good enough to chase the best waves down the coast or drive around town in pursuit of that perfect pack of Doritos. "Big deal, man, we've seen electric cars before", you mumble? This thing's actually powered by sunshine – it's got got solar surfboards on the roof to give it juice. Whoa!

Called the Chameleon, the bus is also laden with such hi-tech features as parking cameras, LED lights, keyless entry, and a really trippy digital instrument panel with touch-pads and speech-activated controls. (It's like it understands when I'm talking to it!) Double-whoa!

VW intends to use the new-old Microbus as a rolling development platform for collaboration with universities, start-ups and Silicon Valley firms to develop new applications for emerging technologies. Now that'll be spreading some good vibrations – don't forget to bring a towel!

(There's like a couple more totally mind-altering pics after the jump. Check 'em out, dude!)

[Source: Inside Line]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yeah, stoneman, please disappear forever!

      i'm really, really sick of your constant spamming of the comments.

      You may as well post "FREE IPOD/PSP/PORSCHE CLICK HERE" or something along those lines

      • 8 Years Ago
      It's probably faster than the original too!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey, awesome, look at me posting links to my site in the comments of other sites because maybe some retard will click on it and therefore make me so much cooler that the other retards who post links in other peoples articles too. SWEET!


      Motion to ban linking of sites from the comments of autoblog except as traditionally done by making the name you post with a link itself.
      • 8 Years Ago
      that is awesome! I was searching a little while back for an old one to fix up... couldnt find any :(

      • 8 Years Ago

      That is sooo cool!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've owned sever of the originals right up to the 79 poptop Westphalias and loved every one of them. This is a great idea that only hints at a larger point.

      Wouldn't a platform along these lines (but modernized for current markets) be an absolute marketing home run for a hybrid vehicle. Id buy one... and I'm a republican baby seal clubber (tongue firmly planted in cheek)
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Dude, the head shop where I work is only, like, 10 miles away... that's a whole 80 miles left to drive... (stares blankly into space)... awesome. Just... awesome. Man, I'm hungry... you got any Doritos?"

      Anyways, wonderful idea. I wonder if anyone has thought of converting other vintage hulks into rolling ecomobiles. I think the next challenge would be converting a 1970 Eldorado into something that would make Al Gore tear up with pride.

      • 8 Years Ago
      neat. I wonder if it comes with shag carpeting?

      • 8 Years Ago
      I would pay dearly to have one of these. HINT! HINT! HINT!

      Finally! It seems that we've turned a corner and EVs are getting the time and publicity they deserve.

      Please make this available for sale. I don't need ABS, airbags or other feel-good stuff. This has enough of that as it is.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Ya know, they're still fun and you haven't lived until you've driven an original. This looks cool, love the surfboard cells!