Tiny VW ID. Buzz e-camper lives large with queen bed and flex kitchen
The good folks at Tonke know their way around a smart, flexible Volkswagen camper van build, and they know their way around an equally smart, versatile electric camper. Now they merge those skill sets to create a Volkswagen ID. Buzz mini-camper that looks to be the comfiest out there. Folded away in the tailgate area, Tonke's Buzz Module kit maintains five factory seats for everyday driving and expands to create a propane-free all-electric mini-camping experience, complete with a comfy double bed that spans the full width of the cabin. A bidirectional kitchen slide lets campers cook as comfortably inside as out.
When it first revealed plans for an ID. Buzz camper van project earlier in the year, Tonke mentioned the upcoming long-wheelbase version. The LWB Buzz is still in its future plans, but it's jumped that debut with a rather smart, highly efficient camping kit engineered to fit both long- and short-wheelbase ID. Buzz vans.
Instead of trying to shoehorn permanent furniture inside the 185-in-long (471-cm) ID. Buzz SWB, as some other ID. Buzz converters have done , Tonke creates a lighter, more flexible setup that can be installed when needed and removed after the road trip. Tonke's first prototype is built on a five-seat ID. Buzz People MPV, but the company says the kit can also be used with the ID. Buzz Cargo, giving aspiring Buzz RVers more flexibility in sourcing just the right van.
Tonke reconfigures a few of the innovations it introduced on the Mercedes EQV Nomad camper it showed a few months ago into an expandable tailgate camper kit with a few fun tricks. As with the world's first ID. Buzz camping system, the Ququq camper-in-a-box, the Tonke kit uses a full-width box as the rear foundation of an expandable bed.
The Tonke box is split into two drawers, both of which are dedicated to crates and open space for storing pots, pans, tools and other provisions. The driver-side drawer houses the available 31-L compressor refrigerator, while the passenger-side unit is topped by a separate upper slide-out with dual-burner induction cooktop and collapsible sink basin. The sink sprayer hooks up to a 12-L water canister tucked between the two drawers, relying on an extendable hose and a dock for use with the basin. It can also be used as a makeshift (cold) shower or a hose for cleaning down gear, shoes, etc.
Tonke's layout appears to be a very basic slide-out tailgate cooking setup at first, but the slim kitchen slide features bidirectional capability that allows it to slide inside, as well as out. It slides over top the folded passenger-side rear seat and works as an indoor kitchen space, a great option for inclement weather. It's a similar bidirectional concept to the one Tonke introduced on the EQV Nomad, albeit moved from the center of the van to the load area, and it really gives the Buzz camper some nice versatility sure to prove useful on the unpredictable open road.
With the induction cooktop and lack of LPG equipment, Tonke has developed an all-electric kit for an all-electric van. However, the cooktop does not run off the Buzz battery and requires a 230-V shore power hookup. For those who want to wild camp off-grid, Tonke offers an optional all-in-one lithium power station that slides neatly between the rear seat backs and the main Tonke box. Solar charging hardware is also an option.
Other ID. Buzz camper conversions squeeze narrow beds next to cabinets and furnishings, but Tonke's system places the bed on top, where it's free to spread the full width of the van. This creates a 59 x 79-in (150 x 200-cm) bed that's just shy of a full-blown residential queen (60 x 80 in, 152 x 203 cm), edging out the 55 x 79-in (140 x 200-cm) bed on the eVentje as the largest ID. Buzz camper van bed we've seen.
The bed does appear to flare out at the rear side doors and taper in farther back in the van, so campers won't enjoy that full width from head to foot. Assuming they sleep with their heads on the frontmost part of the bed, though, they will have the extra space at the head and shoulders, where it's most needed.
Tonke makes clear that the Buzz Module is designed to be installed and removed by the owner, allowing them to switch back and forth between a camper van and an everyday electric MPV or cargo van. For drivers that don't mind losing a bulk of trunk space, the kit can also be left in place since it doesn't interfere with use of the three rear seats.
Tonke revealed its first Buzz Module camper prototype at the Camping and Caravan Fair in Utrecht, Netherlands in October. It sells the main module with drawers, induction cooktop, sink system and bed for €4,955 (approx. US$5,400). Options include the €2,100 power station, various solar panel setups, and the €650 compressor fridge. Tonke also offers to convert the front seats to the swivel seats shown in photos for €350 each.
Buyers can purchase their own ID. Buzz or buy through Tonke starting at €55,777 ($60,800) for a five-seat ID. Buzz People MPV with 217-mile (350-km) 77-kWh battery pack. It plans to offer long-wheelbase vans and an optional pop-up roof beginning in early 2024. An optional folding toilet will also be available for the long-wheelbase van.