Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Concept: 340-Mile Range Electric Work Van

Volkswagen’s retro-styled I.D. Buzz electric concept vehicle is back in a new form with extra cargo space and a solar paneled roof.

byJames Gilboy| UPDATED Sep 20, 2018 7:21 PM
Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Concept: 340-Mile Range Electric Work Van

On Thursday, Volkswagen revealed a new variation of its I.D. Buzz electric concept vehicle: The I.D. Buzz Cargo.

Like the passenger-focused I.D. Buzz, the I.D. Buzz Cargo is another Modular Electric Drive Kit platform-based vehicle, envisioned as more of a workhorse with lengthened, van-like bodywork. Its front doors open electronically to three-abreast front seating, with a fold-down center seat whose back can be used as a workspace. Its doors are unlocked by a smartphone-linked digital key with a proximity sensor unlocking when the owner comes near.

Past the front row, it does away with seating, making way for cargo space. This is accessed either through the sliding electric passenger-side rear door, or the rear wing doors, which open over a revised rear bumper with a rear-axle overhang 4.1-inches longer than that of the Buzz for easier loading into its shelving-adorned cargo space. A fold-out workbench has a 230-volt, 16 amp hooked to the battery for electric power tools

Maximum payload is 1,760 pounds, approximately half that of Volkswagen's current e-Crafter electric van. To soften the ride, 235/55R20 tires are used on 20-inch wheels instead of the Buzz's 22-inch wheels. 

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Concept, Volkswagen

Volkswagen says the Buzz Cargo previews technologies due for the mid-2020s in the form of its I.D. Pilot automated driving assist system, which falls under SAE Level 4 autonomy (which we believe to be a flawed system of measurement). This will be activated by pressing on the steering wheel for a few seconds, causing the wheel to retract into the dash with the system active, similar to the Peugeot e-Legend concept also revealed Thursday.

A head-up display on the windshield shows information necessary for the driver, while an in-vehicle tablet controls climate control and infotainment. Cameras and screens eliminate side mirrors, reducing aerodynamic drag, and extending its range. Another rang booster is the large roof-mounted solar panel, capable of gathering enough energy from sunlight throughout the day to add 9.3 miles of range to the Buzz Cargo's battery.

Speaking of which, the battery is embedded in the Buzz Cargo's floor, to keep its center of gravity low. Volkswagen has announced two different battery capacities, a 200-mile, 48 kilowatt-hour option, which it recommends for urban use, and a 111-kWh battery, for longer ranges. The latter was originally showcased with the original Buzz, and is capable of pushing the Buzz Cargo as far as 340 miles on Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure—more conservative than old New European Driving Cycle standards, but a more liberal estimate than granted by the Environmental Protection Agency standards. Fast-charging to 80 percent with a 150-kilowatt system takes 15 minutes for the smaller battery, and 30 with the larger. Charging can also be handled through standard 230-volt, 2.3-kW wall outlets, or Volkswagen can sell intermediate options as strong as 11 kW.

Propulsion comes from a 201-horsepower AC induction motor mounted to the rear axle, though Volkswagen says all-wheel-drive versions with synchronous AC induction motors will also be doable. It will push the Buzz Cargo to speeds as high as 99 mph, where an electronic limiter steps in to prevent it from going any faster.