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The six million dollar van.

BrooklynBay

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This is a link to the original article: http://autos.aol.com/article/general/v2/_a/volkswagen-microbus-chameleon/20061018172909990001

Retro-Tech
The Creation of the Six Million Dollar Van

By STEVE SILER

Usually, when an automaker wants to show off its newest, and most inventive technologies, the result is a show-stopping concept car with a wrapper as futuristic as the techno-gizmos it contains. Volkswagen's Silicon Valley–based Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL), however, looked not to the future, but far into the company's past for the perfect package for its latest handiwork: a 1964-vintage, 21-window Microbus named Chameleon.

VW says the idea behind this most groovy of concept cars was "Hidden Technologies." And hidden they are … certainly, no one would know by looking at the exquisite and period-correct red-and-white sheetmetal that this was anything other than a high-buck restoration of VW’s iconic minivan. However, a close look at the multi-element headlamps and LED ancillary lighting elements suggest that this particular Microbus is more about brainpower than flower power. Think of it as "The Bionic Van".
Chosen on account of its "large size and unique layout," the Microbus was seen as an ideal -- if deliciously ironic -- shell in which to combine new-think features such an "interactive" digital instrument cluster, embedded touch-pads, a state-of-the-art sound system, speech-activated controls throughout the cabin, and rear-seat entertainment that VW calls "exciting" (we’re sure that many other Microbuses have had some "exciting" rear-seat entertainment, too).

Our favorite feature, however, can be seen just above the sliding canvas roof: a pair of roof-mounted surfboards that contain solar cells to provide an additional source of energy to the Chameleon’s electrical system. However, the modest trickle of energy provides only a fraction of the power needed to get the Chameleon up and down the hills of San Francisco. The rest is provided by a rear-mounted electric motor powered by lithium polymer batteries, the result of a collaboration between the ERL and Hybrid Technologies, Inc.

Now, while there’s no word on just how many of the Chameleon's techno features will make it to production any time soon. One thing, however, is abundantly clear: at Volkswagen, the short bus is for the smart kids.
 




97redsport

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Dang thats as crazy as the GM FUTURLINER
 




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