The Matador, an iconic pre-2000 van manufactured by Bajaj Tempo (Force Motors before 2005), should make a comeback in the electric era, proposes Coimbatore-based automotive consultancy firm Rogeo Design, headed by Rohan George, who sent us these renders. The company has digitally designed a new-age Matador van concept with an electric powertrain.
Matador Van goes electric
From school picnics to weekend family outings, a lot of nostalgia is attached with the Tempo Matador van for those who grew up in the 70s and 80s. The Electric era is making the revival of classic vehicles feasible, be it two-wheelers like the Bajaj Chetak or the Kinetic Luna, or four-wheelers like the VW Bulli, also known as VW Bus and VW Microbus, and the Morris JE van. These days, the Matador van, the desi version of the German Tempo Matador van, can be seen featured in music videos and movies; there’s even a music band named after it in Kerala (Matadoria).
The next-gen Matador van in Rogeo Design’s imagination could either have a hybrid powertrain that combines a 45 hp 0.8-litre engine with an electric motor that generates 10 kW of power or a pure electric version. The top speed would be 90 km/h. A swappable battery pack would lie under the floor and be replaceable from the underside (could warrant a new skateboard platform designed for battery swapping).
The charging times would be 1 hour using a fast charger and 5 hours a normal charger. The load capacity of the reborn Matador van would range around the 1-tonne mark to fit the needs of the average user, Rogeo Design feels. The original Matador van came out for applications including an Ambulance and Goods vans besides the version with conventional seats.
World van market switching to electric power this decade
Volkswagen has confirmed the revival of the Bulli based on the design of the ID. Buzz concept, and startups such as the Hyundai-backed Arrival and Canoo are also exploring this market with basic and scalable vehicle architectures. At least 8 new electric vans are expected to be launched in Europe in the near future from mainstream brands including a Ford Transit Electric. The next-gen VW Bulli is one of the most anticipated electric vans today in the world. Targeted mainly at markets in North America, Europe, and China, it will be introduced in 2022. Its manufacturing will take place in Hanover, Germany.
Back home, Force Motors has developed its next-gen van, the T1N, that is electric-ready. Force plans two further variants of the T1N, and the thought of reinstating the Matador nameplate would no doubt have crossed the mind of India’s van expert. Are there enough customers for a fully new Matardor van launch in India to make sense? Probably yes. Still, these talks are purely speculative at this point, as there’s no new-age van for our market on the cards currently, neither a Matador Van, nor the 2022 VW Bulli (2022 VW Microbus) or any other internationally announced model.