After more than 20 years of multiple concept cars teasing its return, Volkswagen has finally done it. The Microbus is back in real, production-ready form with the electric 2024 Volkswagen ID Buzz and its worker-bee ID Buzz Cargo sibling.
Coming to Europe this year as the regular-wheelbase model you see here, the ID Buzz will arrive in North America as a longer-wheelbase version, set to debut in 2023 and go on sale in 2024. Therefore, everything you read about it today will apply to the Euro model with U.S. model specs coming later.
Anywho, here are the European launch model topline items you need to know. A rear-axle electric motor makes 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of instant torque, drawing juice from a floor-mounted, 82-kWh battery. That battery will support DC fast-charging at up to 170 kW, translating to a five-to-80-percent Level 3 fillup lasting precisely 30 minutes—in ideal conditions, of course. The van is electronically limited to 90 mph but VW did not give any acceleration specs or, more importantly, any data on the expected driving range. Stay tuned for more info at a later date, I guess.
In any case, the ID Buzz is based on the company's MEB chassis, the same modular electric platform that forms the base of the ID.4 and Audi's Q5 and Q4 E-Tron. Additional powertrain and battery configurations will be coming next year.
Of course, I don't need to tell you that its entire aesthetic—including its overall shape and two-tone color schemes—is, of course, a not-at-all subtle tribute to the Microbus from the '50s. Inside and from a technical perspective, though, it's all very techy and forward-looking. The ID Buzz laces its interior with vegan and recycled materials and coats its exterior with organically based paint. There's no leather on the inside, nor is there any cobalt in its battery. Speaking of batteries, VW says the ID Buzz's cells will be recycled at the end of their life cycle. The company guarantees this battery in Europe for up to eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever happens first.
The vehicle will also be capable of vehicle-to-home bi-directional charging, a lot like the Ford F-150 Lightning.
Dimensions-wise, this normal-wheelbase ID Buzz is precisely 4.5 inches shorter in length than the long-wheelbase Ford Transit Connect while being 5.9 inches narrower and 4.3 inches shorter in height than the Blue Oval's van.
Available in 11 total color schemes (seven single-color paint jobs plus four two-tone looks), the passenger-focused ID Buzz will seat five as standard—two up front with a three-person bench in the rear. That rear bench can be folded down in a 60/40 split. To make long trips more enjoyable, rear passengers get tables that fold down from the back of the front seats while those front seats get a massaging function on the ID Buzz's top trim.
The ID Buzz uses sliding doors on the side and an upward-opening hatch in the rear, which gives access to 39.6 cubic feet of cargo room with an optionally height-adjustable floor for level loading.
Looking out from the inside, the greenhouse does indeed look very expansive and the interior design, in general, is quite "vanny" but the key controls appear to be the same touch-heavy ones found in recent VWs such as the ID.4 and new Golf. The steering wheel buttons appear to be touch-sensitive, as do the volume and temperature sliders situated below the infotainment screen. Yuck. Speaking of screens, dual 10-inch displays are standard while the center touchscreen can be optioned up to 12 inches. A moveable and removable center storage console introduces some Hyundai Ioniq 5-like versatility to VW's funky EV.
In addition to this five-seater, standard-length van, there will also be a six-passenger configuration with the same wheelbase. The seats here are arranged in three rows of two, not the other way around, sadly. The upcoming extended-wheelbase version that'll come to the U.S., however, will seat up to seven in a two-three-two configuration.
Those who were hoping for a return of the three-person front row, however, will find what they're looking for in the Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo: a fleet-oriented work van that seats three up front and accommodates a whole lot of cargo. The ID Buzz Cargo consists of a driver's seat and a double bench in front of a total of 137.7 cubic feet of empty space (enough room, apparently, for two 47.2-by-31.5-inch Euro-pallets). A fixed partition separates occupants from cargo and can be had with an optional window. The cargo area features lashing rings on the floor and bars on the sides to tie things down with. One sliding door is standard here but another one can be had on the other side as an option.
This more industrial ID Buzz has its side windows removed, rides on simpler-looking wheels, and appears to replace the passenger version's rear light bar with a plastic piece.
To be built in the company's main plant in Hannover, Germany, the regular-wheelbase Volkswagen ID Buzz will begin production in the first half of this year before going on sale later in the year. The North America-spec, long-wheelbase ID Buzz will debut next year and go on sale in 2024. No pricing has yet been announced.
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