World's first VW ID. Buzz electric mini campers premiere in Düsseldorf
Since its debut as a concept way back in 2017, Volkswagen's ID. Buzz has been begging to break out of the exhibition halls and prototype tests and take off on a camping weekend, maybe a full-time extended road trip. VW even incorporated some camping-friendly features in the original concept and confirmed a camper version before the van's actual production debut. It'll still be a few years before Volkswagen comes through with its official camper, but now that ID. Buzz production is officially underway, third-party converters are quickly drafting up the first Buzz camper products. Ququq becomes the first to officially fill the adorable electric van out with a full camper kit, and Hobby creates an ultralight version of its equally adorable Beachy trailer for use with EVs like the Buzz.
Camper-in-a-box companies have really been seizing the moment at a time when more high-profile vans are hitting the market. We suppose they have the advantage of being able to more quickly adapt their kits to new van dimensions than a complete interior conversion shop can, and they've been the first out of the gate on several new vans. The first Mercedes-Benz EQV camper van to gain international attention was converted via a kit from Sortimo, while the first Volkswagen T7 Multivan camper came courtesy of Czech builder Visu. Now Ququq shows the first camper design for the eagerly awaited ID. Buzz.
Over the years, our friends at Ququq have adapted their original kit to various popular and niche vehicles, including the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Toyota Land Cruiser. So it's not so surprising that the company cut a kit to ID. Buzz specifications and readied it just in time for a showing at the 2022 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon. The prototype kit was so hot off the assembly line, it had to be overnighted from a separate VW event and installed mid-exhibition in the only ID. Buzz we saw on the entire show floor — a van that was also hitched and color-matched to Hobby's brand-new concept trailer.
Outside of being fit snugly to the short-wheelbase five-seat ID. Buzz's internal dimensions, the ID-Box is essentially the same design we've seen from Ququq for years, a single tailgate box coupled to a bed frame that folds out over top the folded rear bench inside the van cabin. The frame and three-piece cold-foam mattress fold out in a single motion, creating a 49 x 77 x 4-in (125 x 195 x 10-cm) bed for two travelers.
Under the tailgate, the ID-Box has a drop-down face panel that doubles as a worktop. A driver-side kitchen slide-out with 99-lb (45-kg) capacity is sized to hold a dual-burner stove in place and includes a windscreen to help protect the flames from loud, angry weather. The kitchen slide also offers storage space below. The center compartment includes a slide meant to hold a cooler, and the passenger-side compartment holds the simple sink system: two 10-L water canisters with a spigot to swap between them and two stainless steel bowls to serve as sink basins.
Ququq says that the ID-Box is ready for production, awaiting the first ID. Buzz deliveries. The company is still finalizing pricing and specs. It is hoping to offer the box in the US as an official Volkswagen accessory when Volkswagen launches the ID. Buzz in the States in 2024, but it has not yet finalized the details. It would be quite a coup to bring to market the first official camper package to coincide with the long-awaited US return of the VW bus and would be nice for US buyers to have access to a camper package immediately. Hopefully Ququq is successful with an early US ID-Box launch.
The VW ID. Buzz will make a capable camper base vehicle as far as electric vans go, promising up to 263 miles (423 km, WLTP) of range, well more than existing options like the 197-mile (317-km) Ford E-Transit or 226-mile (363-km) Mercedes EQV. At just 185 in (471 cm) long, the short-wheelbase e-van is roughly 8 inches (20 cm) shorter than the 193-in (490-cm) short-wheelbase Volkswagen Transporter T6.1, putting it quite comfortably in mini-camper territory between the 177-in (450-cm) Caddy and 191-in (485-cm) Caddy Maxi. That will make it a particularly nimble, urban-friendly camper van.
Same exact van, different camping spin
German RV company Hobby didn't try to put together a complete ID. Buzz camper van for Düsseldorf, focusing instead on developing a concept caravan tailored to electric vehicles. It displayed the Beachy Air hitched up to the very same ID. Buzz that was used to house Ququq's kit — a cool, little electric four-sleeper mini-camper rig if ever we've seen one.
Building upon its immediately nostalgic Beachy lineup, which was clearly inspired by classic VW Bulli camper vans, Hobby directed effort into shaving weight while still maintaining a comfortable floor plan for two travelers. The 1,100-lb (500-kg) Beachy Air concept has the Beachy's same great aero-optimized canned ham styling but sits lower at 6.6 feet (2 m) thanks to a hard-sided pop-up roof that increases interior standing height to 7 feet (215 cm) when opened at camp.
Inside, the 11.5-foot (3.5-m)-long Beachy Air has the same light, breezy style as the original Beachy trailer in a smaller floor plan centered around a convertible sofa lounge that also serves as the 55 x 77-in (140 x 200-cm) bed. A removable standalone table can be used inside or out, and the trailer's kitchen module is also removable for outdoor cooking. A hanging lounge area lamp and ambient lighting throughout add to a warm, homey atmosphere.
Hobby teamed with materials specialist Vöhringer GmbH to formulate the Beachy Air's lightweight monocoque construction and with Knott for the ultralight chassis. The trailer offers 551 lb (250 kg) of payload before hitting its gross vehicle weight rating of 1,653 lb (750 kg).
Hobby describes the Beachy Air as a vision for the future of camping but remains coy about whether the concept has an actual future of its own. "When and in what form the study will enter serial production has currently been left open by Hobby," it concludes its Beachy Air announcement. The Air certainly looks like a practical, realistic design that would be a natural fit as an entry level member of the Beachy family, especially as electric vehicles gain market share.
Plenty more Buzz on the way
Before anyone goes camping in an ID. Buzz, the van will have to make it into the hands of the first buyers. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles began production in June and plans to begin deliveries in Autumn 2022. The ID. Buzz starts at €64,581 (approx. US$64,275) in Germany, including VAT.