If you lived through the 60’s-80’s with at least one eye open, then you were privy to the hippy-driven home-away-from home known as the Kombi. From the 1950’s through to the end of the 1960’s, the Volkswagen Kombi van marked a revolution in the way we thought about travel holidays and beach-bum culture.
In Australia, you only needed to add a surfboard to the roof and you become part of Australia’s surf-going iconography.
Here we are half a century later and it looks like the VW icon is ready to make its re-entry into the Australian market.
Considered by many to Australia’s most iconic vehicle, the new generation Volkswagen Kombi is expecting to enter the Australian car marketplace by 2022 – over 70 years since the Konbi line of people movers first went into production as the Volkswagen Type 2 in 1950 – the manufacturers second model after the Beetle.
It’s retro-look, initially being manufactured and sold under Germany’s Pure-Electric brand, conceals a modernised electro-battery-powered driver train that promises to impress the Greenies and the hip.
Europe could see the first of these little numbers on the road as early as 2020, though Australia may have to stand in line as the manufacturing of the car in over a dozen other locations is still in its formative stages.
Volkswagen Australia appears very positive about the cars’ reception, noting its coveted history among younger Aussies and those 50+ empty-nesters wanting to revisit a romantic time in their own lives.
Current specs for this EV people-mover suggest a travel range approaching 450km on a single charge.
As you would expect (or hope), we have also been promised a design that includes a bed, table and various accessories – all in a compact and comfortable modular design.
Promising to maintain its “Kombi appeal”, this Bulli (or microbus) is hoping to recapture the laid-back, relaxed style of its ancestors – though hopefully not at the same nostalgic price that older versions of the Kombi that are in a mint condition sometimes demand.
A quick look on PriceMyCar will show that VW prices of all makes and models can vary widely. We’ve seen some Volkswagen Kombi vans from the early 1960s fetch a price of over $100,000 with one exceptionally optimistic seller pricing their beloved Kombi at $280,000.
The people-mover market is relatively small in Australia, with most families opting for big-engine petrol or diesel-guzzling 4×4 vehicles in order to handle the rugged terrain of inner city and suburban streets (Not to mention school bus stops and Big W carparks). never-the-less, while the market has been traditionally small, the Kombi has additional appeal up its sleeve. namely, the nostalgic and almost mythic culture surrounding it.
As a beach-going icon in a country with over 10,000 beaches, don’t be surprised to see this tidy buzz-box taken up valuable real estate in every SLSC car park and laneway in the years ahead.
It is not a small car (though looks can be deceiving). It has a good amount of space inside and plenty of room for two people camping.
With `16 new eco-friendly care plants in the making and pumping out close to 100 new electric Audi’s Volkswagon and Porsche brands, the German giant in car production looks set to make even further inroads into almost every demographic in the next 10 years.
Whether it’s the sporty look of the yuppy, the footloose and fancy-free appeal of the unwashed, soap-dodging hippy or the practical needs of a family car, the electric revolution appears to be with us – at least for the foreseeable future.
The only thing standing in the way of a Kombi revolution seems to be Australia’s resistance to electric cars in general. The price, along with the lack of power associated with EV’s is a big hurdle that Volkswagon has to face – but believe they can face it and win.
Their best chance may be Australia’s equally romantic views of sunsets and smokey waves over the dashboard, fireside beer (or herbal tea) and our terminal, itchy-feet habit of wanting to pack up, sell up and get away from it all (with everything, including the kitchen sink).