The Volkswagen ID Buzz tugs at the heartstrings of Microbus fans.
At the ongoing Detroit Motor Show, German auto manufacturer Volkswagen has unveiled its second instalment of its ‘ID’ electric concept car series, dubbed the ID Buzz. The ID Buzz draws inspiration from the iconic Microbus that first came about in the 1950s, though what’s underneath carries a distinctly futuristic flavour.
Let’s talk about the concept first. As a concept, a ‘new Microbus’ has been bandied about since the early noughties, guised as concepts and previews for as long as we can remember. This might very well be the most realistic concept yet, as the ID Buzz is part of Volkswagen’s greater strategy to bounce back from the Dieselgate emissions scandal and straight into the world of zero-emissions vehicles.
The ID Buzz is an eight-seater MPV, and forms part of Volkswagen’s ID family of future vehicles. The ID family are part of an initiative driven by Dr. Herbert Diess, chairman of Volkswagen, and his goal to push VW to the top of the electric car ladder in the near future. Employing the same platform as the ID hatchback that we saw at the Paris motor show last year, the ID Buzz shows the adaptability of the EV-platform, billed ‘MED,’ that VW has developed.
Following the ID hatch and ID Buzz, there will be three more ID models joining the ranks, and it’s likely that most of them will make production at some point. Speculation is rife regarding what will be next addition to the ID portfolio, with an SUV being the most likely direction to pursue first, followed by a saloon car, and maybe even a sports car.
On the subject, Dr. Diess said “Volkswagen’s big electric offensive begins in the year 2020 with a completely new vehicle architecture. That is when we will be launching a new generation of fully connected, all-electric vehicles on the market. By 2025, we want to be selling 1-million of these vehicles annually. We are making electric mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen.”
Building on the ID hatchback’s innovations, the ID Buzz features all wheel drive by shoehorning an electric motor into the MPV’s perk nose. Each electric motor manages 150kW, but Volkswagen has seen it fit to cap the ID Buzz’s power to just 275kW, as VW says it’s sufficient to propel the ‘new Microbus’ from rest to 100km/h in just 5-seconds. Top speed is limited to 160km/h though, to protect the batteries. The ID Buzz could, according to Volkswagen, be offered as a rear-wheel drive vehicle, employing just one 200kW rear-mounted electric motor.
With 11kWh’s worth of batteries under the floor, the ID Buzz claims to have a range of about 600km on a single charge, representing a 65-kilometre improvement over the last ‘new Microbus’ concept, the Budd-E. The batteries can reportedly be charged to 80% from nought in just half an hour, and should be good for 480-kilometres. And like any good ‘future car,’ the ID Buzz packs the very latest in autonomous driving technology, with a retractable touch-sensitive steering wheel that will allow drivers to engage ‘ID Pilot’ mode, VW’s self-driving system that is currently being developed, reported to hit the market in 2025.
The flat-floor afforded by the MED platform (fist seen under the ID hatchback) means that the cavernous ID Buzz can accommodate several different seating arrangements, as well as offer two luggage compartments (one at the rear, and one behind the nose). Unfortunately for us, while the movers and shakers at VW are fully supportive of the ID Buzz, the business case needed to confirm it for production has not yet been signed off.
Hopefully, the ID Buzz will be the Microbus replacement we’ve all been waiting far too long for.