Automotive

VW ID. Buzz electric bus fuses van life past and future

VW ID. Buzz electric bus fuses...
Volkswagen debuts the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo, the all-electric vans of the near-future
Volkswagen debuts the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo, the all-electric vans of the near-future
View 21 Images
Volkswagen debuts the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo, the all-electric vans of the near-future
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Volkswagen debuts the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo, the all-electric vans of the near-future
The ID. Buzz will initially launch as a standard-wheelbase five-seat van, with larger and higher-capacity models to follow
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The ID. Buzz will initially launch as a standard-wheelbase five-seat van, with larger and higher-capacity models to follow
The all-new ID. Buzz shows its classic design inspiration in its two-tone paint and short overhangs, but has a squarer nose and more angles than past vans and concepts
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The all-new ID. Buzz shows its classic design inspiration in its two-tone paint and short overhangs, but has a squarer nose and more angles than past vans and concepts
The ID. Buzz face looks attractive enough, but we wish VW went a little lighter with the grille section down low
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The ID. Buzz face looks attractive enough, but we wish VW went a little lighter with the grille section down low
The VW ID. Buzz will launch in select European markets later this year and in North America in 2024
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The VW ID. Buzz will launch in select European markets later this year and in North America in 2024
The VW ID. Buzz measures just 471 inches long, falling between a standard VW Caddy and a long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi
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The VW ID. Buzz measures just 471 inches long, falling between a standard VW Caddy and a long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi
Volkswagen gives the ID. Buzz passenger van a colorful high-tech cab
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Volkswagen gives the ID. Buzz passenger van a colorful high-tech cab
A compact digital instrument panel joins a large infotainment touchscreen
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A compact digital instrument panel joins a large infotainment touchscreen
The debut ID. Buzz will have five seats
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The debut ID. Buzz will have five seats
Five-seat ID. Buzz load area
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Five-seat ID. Buzz load area
40:60 split-folding rear seats
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40:60 split-folding rear seats
Volkswagen will begin ID. Buzz production in Germany in the first half of 2022
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Volkswagen will begin ID. Buzz production in Germany in the first half of 2022
The yellow/white model harks back to the 2016
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The yellow/white model harks back to the 2017 concept and T1 vans that inspired it
Volkswagen reveals the production-ready ID. Buzz electric van
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Volkswagen reveals the production-ready ID. Buzz electric van
At the helm
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At the helm
ID. Buzz rear bench
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ID. Buzz rear bench
The ID. Buzz Cargo van loses all the side glass in favor of a solid-paneled load compartment
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The ID. Buzz Cargo van loses all the side glass in favor of a solid-paneled load compartment
Both the passenger and cargo vans will be powered by a 201-hp rear electric drive
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Both the passenger and cargo vans will be powered by a 201-hp rear electric drive
Volkswagen will offer the ID. Buzz models in 11 different colors with seven single-color options and four two-tone options with "candy white" upper
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Volkswagen will offer the ID. Buzz models in 11 different colors with seven single-color options and four two-tone options with "candy white" upper
At the wheel of the ID. Buzz Cargo
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At the wheel of the ID. Buzz Cargo
The 137.7-cu ft ID. Buzz Cargo load area comes partitioned off, with an optional window
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The 137.7-cu ft ID. Buzz Cargo load area comes partitioned off, with an optional window
View gallery - 21 images

One of the most anticipated vehicles ever, the Volkswagen ID. Buzz has finally made its debut. The all-new all-electric bus has been in the making for five years, if we're only counting back to the Detroit 2017 debut of the concept Buzz, but decades when taking into account the multiple Bulli concepts VW has teased the world with over the years. Was it worth the wait? Take a closer look at the all-new fully electric MPV and cargo vans and decide for yourself.

It's the iconic breadbox looks that keep nostalgia for the original T1 VW microbuses alive and well, and VW has absolutely worked to channel those looks into the design of the ID. Buzz. Whether or not it was successful will be up to each beholder, but its intentions are clear in the dual-tone paint scheme, V-angled face, short front and rear overhangs, and generous wraparound glasshouse.

Volkswagen reveals the production-ready ID. Buzz electric van
Volkswagen reveals the production-ready ID. Buzz electric van

Where the production ID. Buzz design disappoints in comparison to both the 2017 concept and the original Type 2 vans is in its squarer front-end and nose bump, sharply carved out lower front grille and crisper, less natural lines throughout. It's not as instantly lovable as the 2017 concept or original T1, but it certainly pulls closer to the retro V-dub bus the world has been waiting for since 1979, jumping off and further evolving from the semi-retro look of the new T7 Multivan.

The real evolution, of course, comes under the split-color skin, where VW's MEB skateboard loads in a high-voltage 12-module lithium-ion battery pack with 82 kWh of gross energy and 77 kWh of kWh of net energy. That pack gets the 150-kW (201-hp) motor spinning out up to 310 Nm (229 lb-ft) of torque, powering the rear axle for speeds up to an electronically limited 145 km/h (90 mph).

The ID. Buzz can handle DC fast-charging up to 170 kW, offering the battery a trip from 5 to 80 percent full in about 30 minutes. Using a special DC wall box, the ID. Buzz will also deliver bidirectional charging, capable of feeding energy into the house when necessary or convenient.

"The ID. Buzz is a genuine icon for the electric era," declared Ralf Brandstätter, VW Passenger Cars chairman of the board. "In the 1950s, the Volkswagen Bulli stood for a new feeling of automotive freedom, independence and great emotion. The ID. Buzz picks up on this lifestyle and transfers it into our time: emission-free, sustainable, fully networked and now ready for the next big chapter – autonomous driving."

The VW ID. Buzz measures just 471 inches long, falling between a standard VW Caddy and a long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi
The VW ID. Buzz measures just 471 inches long, falling between a standard VW Caddy and a long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi

The ID. Buzz's 90-mph top speed feels like a low ceiling for modern highway and autobahn driving, but it's undoubtedly designed to protect range. Sadly, however, it appears five years of development time proved inadequate for Volkswagen to offer a proper range estimate during its world premiere. VW said that information will follow at a later date, so look for it to drop sometime between now and the ID. Buzz's official European launch (initial markets) in Q3 2022. The first North American vans won't follow until 2024.

The standard-wheelbase ID. Buzz measures a compact 471 cm (185 in) in length, which sizes in the middle of the current-generation VW Caddy small van range, well shorter than the modern T6.1 Transporter that traces its lineage back to the T1. The sized-down packaging owes to the small, space-optimizing electric drive, and the ID. Buzz still rides on a 2,988-mm (117.6-in) wheelbase that's only two centimeters shorter than the wheelbase on the 490-cm (193-in)-long T6.1. The van has a 36.4-foot (11.1-m) turning circle.

The debut ID. Buzz will have five seats
The debut ID. Buzz will have five seats

Stepping inside the ID. Buzz passenger van's dual sliding doors isn't quite as awe-inspiring as taking in the wild features of the funky 2017 Buzz concept, but it's certainly an enjoyable trip in its own right. The van comes standard with five seats, shown here trimmed in the available dual-tone color scheme to match the exterior.

The three-seat rear bench offers split 40:60 folding capabilities and forward/aft adjustment of 150 mm (5.9 in). With all seats upright, the e-MPV packs 1,121 liters (39.6 cu ft) of tailgate area storage space, which nearly doubles to 2,205 liters (77.8 cu ft) with the second row folded flat.

It comes as no surprise that VW is all about tech in the cockpit, facing the driver is a compact, floating 10-in digital instrument display with a standard 10-in infotainment screen just to the right. Below the latter, touch sliders provide simple temperature and volume control, while digital buttons access menus for the dual-zone Climatronic HVAC system, driver-assistance systems, and other features. An interactive "ID. Light" directly in the driver's line of sight above the instruments conveys information via lighting cues.

A compact digital instrument panel joins a large infotainment touchscreen
A compact digital instrument panel joins a large infotainment touchscreen

The driver and front passenger seats include side thorax airbags, and a central airbag prevents the driver and passenger from hitting each other in a collision. An available removable, multifunctional center console between the front seats derives directly from the 2017 ID. Buzz concept, locking in to offer an array of storage compartments, including a tablet/laptop drawer.

The ID. Buzz Cargo, meanwhile, will come standard with a three-seat cab split off from the 3.9-cu m (137.7-cu ft) cargo zone by a partition wall. Buyers will be able to option the van with two individual front seats and a window and/or load opening on the partition wall. The wide-opening tailgate delivers access to a load area that includes floor tie-down rings and sidewall bars. A passenger-side sliding door comes standard, the second sliding door optionally.

The 137.7-cu ft ID. Buzz Cargo load area comes partitioned off, with an optional window
The 137.7-cu ft ID. Buzz Cargo load area comes partitioned off, with an optional window

The European ID. Buzz five-seater will come standard with a driver-assistance package that includes Car2X communications, front assist and lane assist. Optional add-ons will include a travel assist with swarm data feature that allows for partially automated driving across the speed range, along with other features like park assist and area view.

Volkswagen will begin production of the ID. Buzz during the first half of 2022 at its Hannover commercial vehicles plant, ahead of the European launch later this year. It plans to build the majority of electric drive system components, including the axles, at various plant locations around Germany. Each van will come with an eight year/100,000-mile (160K-km) battery guarantee. Expect pricing, along with range, to be announced closer to launch.

The ID. Buzz Cargo van loses all the side glass in favor of a solid-paneled load compartment
The ID. Buzz Cargo van loses all the side glass in favor of a solid-paneled load compartment

The specs included above apply to the European model, and whatever differences exist on North American variants will be fleshed out closer to the 2024 American launch. Other models and options will also be revealed over time, and VW plans an extended-wheelbase model, several different battery options, and six- and seven-seat MPV layouts.

Volkswagen has also confirmed plans for an ID. California electric camper van, though it has not said whether that variant will come to North America. Given that camper vans have been the hottest segment of a thriving North American RV market, the timing seems very right for the reintroduction of an official VW camper van. But even if VW falls short there, we're sure conversion businesses around the country are giddy with the anticipation of getting the all-electric VW van into their shops. In fact, now that the van is official, we expect the first camper renderings to start showing up in the coming days and weeks.

Source: Volkswagen

View gallery - 21 images
6 comments
6 comments
EH
I was having the hardest time figuring out what was bugging me about this design, but I think it's the extra pair of triangular side windows at the front, or really the four pillars that surround them. They're completely in front of the driver, beside the dashboard. They obstruct the driver's view, as can be seen in pictures 15 and 20.
Glen Aldridge
I don't know how but VW took a really good looking design & made it awful. Too far removed from the original design & the colours are useless if you want to actually be seen driving this thing. No thanks, I'll wait for Hyundai's next future van.
vince
Looking good. I'll be buying one when trade up an ID.4 for the Buzz. I need the 7 seats is main reason. Hopefully there will be an AWD option with dual motors and more speed. 90 mph top speed is not enough in the desert SW. Most everyone drives 95 to 100.
Longtermthinker
Boy this release just keeps dragging on and on. I have had several VW vans and would like to buy a modern interpretation but can not wait forever! By the way most people do not drive 100mph in the desert Southwest and especially not in a VW van.
BlueOak
A shame it isn’t more true to the original concept styling, but it could have been even worse. Remains a very cool package.

The real likely deal killer, at least in the US? It is from the VW Commercial Vehicles division, the highest production cost in the VW Group. So the price will be way out of whack. Same reason the Tx/Eurovan was killed for the US. Too expensive. Such a shame to kneecap such an eagerly anticipated vehicle.

And the VW Group, true to form, not only takes forever to finally show the “production” form… the market launch is still a year or two out, if we’re lucky, depending on market. Time to wake up VW! Way too slowww.
Signguy
Glen...agreed, they had an original design that really looked goooood; this one, meh.