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Geneva Motor Show 2011: Volkswagen brings classic camper into the 21st Century

Representing freedom, an open mind and the open road, it's one of the most iconic images of a generation - and for this year's Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen has given its iconic 'bus' a 21st-century makeover.

The automaker unveiled the new Bulli concept March 1, promising that its new ideas for the 1950s classic camper van are "as inspirational as ever."

Powered by an electric motor, today's VW bus probably encapsulates flower-power better than any of its predecessors, managing a whopping 300 km of emission-free driving from the 85 kW electric motor.

Volkswagen says that the concept's lithium-ion batteries, which have a capacity of 40 kWh, can be charged at an electric refuelling station in less than one hour, although it doesn't go into details as to how this rather impressive figure is achieved.

Like its famous ancestors, it's finished in two-tone paint and carries the V on the hood, with VW saying that the vehicle's design DNA comes from the Beetle, Golf I and T1, the classic bus - although the transparent roof provides a modern twist.

Inside, the Bulli features a single bench seat like its predecessors, although that's pretty much where the similarities end as entertainment in today's bus comes not from the radio, but from a center-mounted iPad which acts as a touch screen to control the vehicle's communications and electronics systems.

The rear seats can be folded down into a bed to transform the Bulli in just a few movements to what it's really meant to be - a classic camper van reimagined for the electric age.

Guests can admire the Bulli at the Geneva Motor Show, which is open to the public March 3-13 in Geneva, Switzerland.