VW Renames its Silicon Valley Tech Hub, Builds Cool Electric Type 2 to Celebrate

Volkswagen is rebranding its Electronics Research Lab, and it’s doing it with a cool concept that’s a mix of old and new.

The ERL was VW’s Silicon Valley innovation hub for more than 20 years. They’ve worked on tasks like robotic cars, predictive navigation, and online speech.

Now, they’re becoming the Innovation and Engineering Center California. With an expanded role and tasked with newer, more high-tech projects. Like connective cars, intelligent cockpits, and autonomous driving. But that’s not why you clicked the link.

You clicked it for that bus. Called the Type 20. It’s a 1962 Type 2 11-window Microbus. With electric power and a host of science experiments.

That’s a 10 kWh battery and a motor that makes 120 hp and 173 lb-ft of torque. Plus an active air suspension designed with Porsche that can raise and lower the vehicle.

The new tech includes biometric ID like a facial recognition scan to identify the user, a conversational assistant that responds to voice commands, and a holographic display that gives it a 3D infotainment system. Those sweet wheels and seat brackets come from a new method called generative design which is meant to maximise strength while minimizing part weight.

The Type 20 will be shown off at the IECC offices alongside other past prototypes and historic vehicles.