“The idea came as a way to connect with our community. How could we connect with our industry, as well as their families, and have fun doing it? I initially came up with an ice cream truck to bring to events. Then I thought, we ought to have something the adults could get excited about, so cold beverages were a no brainer. Slowly the idea morphed into serving beer and root beer floats, and the Urban Bru Bus was born.
Because Urban is the country’s premier green builder, it was important to practice what we preach. So instead of buying a new vehicle and putting logos on it for branding opportunities, we decided to repurpose an old classic – a 1973 Volkswagen bus. It was meant to be a one year project, but by the time we found the right bones and went through a Covid pause, that quickly turned into 3+ years.
I was intent on making it a surprise (even from my business partner) so it was a ton of behind the scenes planning and work. I found a great company to build the dream right here in Vancouver. Washougal Custom Classics was fantastic to work with from the get-go. The owner, Dave Hamby, saw the dream and ran with it. He helped track down the perfect VW model, which happened to be used as a storage unit in the previous owner’s backyard for 10 years prior.
The bus needed to be able to haul up to 5 people and still be able to carry two kegs full of root beer, beer etc., so planning the space out was critical. Our expert Volkswagen guy was in for a bit of a learning curve as, to our knowledge, a car that shares batteries with a home has not been done before. In the end, he was able to convert the bus into a fully electric vehicle that runs off of a Tesla power wall system that, in a power outage, would power my own house – complete with a Hyper9 DHV motor and 5 Tesla Battery modules that gives the bus a 100+ mile range.
The project finished up in July of 2021 and I was able to surprise the entire company at a company meeting. Dave sent photos of the finished project to the previous bus owner and he was completely blown away. We have served free beer out of the back of the bus several times and it’s a real hit. I was surprised how many functions we would get booked for. I guess free root beer floats and beer is more popular than I thought. Personally, I think people like it when I drive off with the mess that they don’t have to deal with. :)” –By Troy Johns – Urban NW Homes Founder