Volkswagen of America, Inc. and OSRAM have collaborated for an exciting new concept vehicle, dubbed the “Chameleon.” OSRAM LED technology and other cutting edge advancements are showcased on the “Chameleon,” a futuristic update of the 1964 Volkswagen Deluxe Microbus.
Affectionately known as the “VW bus,” the 1960s icon has been reborn, in part due to the replacement of both exterior and interior lighting with OSRAM LED technology.
“Volkswagen presented OSRAM with a unique opportunity to create a new ‘look’ for the classic VW bus without changing the vehicle’s structure or character,” David Hulick, global product manager for auxiliary lighting, said. “The versatility of the Joule(TM) LED system allowed us to give the bus a sleek, modern look while maintaining the nostalgic feel of the original.”
Volkswagen produced the concept vehicle at its Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in Palo Alto, Calif. The 1964 Type 2 Transporter, the original “hippy-bus,” was updated with an electric motor and roof-mounted solar panels. The vehicle’s original exterior lighting systems were also replaced using the latest in forward and auxiliary lighting technology from OSRAM.
Three distinct approaches to LED lighting were used in this project.
State-of-the-art forward lighting, including low and high beam headlamps, utilizing the Joule LED System powered by OSRAM OSTAR(R) units were installed on the bus. Daytime Running Lamp functionality was provided by OSRAM’s Golden Dragon(R) LED’s. Reflector optic Joule LED Systems were used for the amber front turn signals, complete with the VW logo on the cap. On the rear of the vehicle a direct view light guide optic system with red LEDs was used to achieve a distinct look for the rear turn signals. Both the front and rear turn signals are illuminated using OSRAM Advanced PowerTOPLED(R) LEDs. This is the first vehicle constructed using LED Systems for all major exterior lighting and signaling functions.
Inside the vehicle, innovative lighting technology continues to provide a signature look to the Chameleon’s interior, including a one of a kind red dashboard illuminated by OSRAM TOPLED(R) LED’s feeding into a unique light guide assembly. Remote ambient lighting in the vehicle’s main cabin utilizes a fiber optic bundle powered by a single White OSTAR Lighting unit.
A multitude of other projects are showcased in the interior of Chameleon, including an interactive digital instrument cluster, imbedded capacitive touch pads, digitally enhanced sound quality, exciting rear seat entertainment options, and speech activated controls available throughout the cabin. The exterior houses several exciting new approaches for keyless entry, wide-angle parking cameras and switchable glass.
In addition to being a cultural icon, the Deluxe Microbus carries a uniquely Californian flavor. Acknowledging California’s traditionally environmentally friendly attitude, the ERL collaborated with Hybrid Technologies (http://www.hybridtechnologies.com/ ) to replace the original VW engine with an all electric drive engine powered by lithium polymer batteries. Surfboards mounted on the roof are also lined with flexible solar panels that provide an additional source of energy to this 100 percent electrical vehicle.
The Volkswagen Electronics Laboratory intends to use the Microbus as a public relations tool to showcase the potential future of automobile electronics set in the nostalgic package of this favorite old-timer.
The Volkswagen of America, Inc. Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) focuses on providing customers with smarter cars, sooner. It aims to identify new technologies and accelerate their development into future production vehicles. Located in Palo Alto, California, the ERL is an in-house think tank representing the Volkswagen Group in North America. Its presence in the heart of the Silicon Valley allows the Volkswagen Group to work directly with the world’s leading high-tech companies, start-ups, and universities. These partnerships allow the ERL to design and develop innovative features and applications, which are then integrated with Group vehicles for evaluation and testing. For additional information please see http://www.vwerl.com/ .