Volkswagen's I.D. Buzz autonomous electric Kombi van gets production nod
When Volkswagen showed its I.D. Buzz concept in Detroit in January, reinventing the iconic Kombi van as an autonomous electric microbus, the general reaction was "Yawn. We've seen enough concept Kombis over the years, wake me when they build the damn thing."
That was a pity, because the I.D. Buzz had some interesting ideas in it, like an augmented reality HUD, laser-guided self driving capability, video cameras instead of mirrors, and the ability to remove both the dash (as an infotainment tablet) and the car audio system (for outdoor tunes when you get to the beach).
But it now seems the I.D. Buzz is headed for production, as Volkswagen announced over the weekend at Monterey Car Week that it'll go on sale as a modified production version in 2022, targeted mainly at the US, Europe and China.
Final specifications are yet to be defined, but we doubt we'll see the I.D. Buzz coming out with the full 369-hp (275-kW) all-wheel drive powertrain that the concept had. It won't be fully autonomous, either. Volkswagen says it'll have level 3 self-driving capabilities upon launch, but has hinted that full autonomy should be possible by 2025.
The I.D. Buzz will come in two versions – a Kombi-style microbus and a commercial city delivery van that'll take advantage of the huge cargo capacity you get when all your batteries and drivetrain are stored flat along the floor.
No information is available yet on power, battery capacity, price, or whether the removable dash and stereo will be part of the production model. Hell, the release date is five years away, so god only knows what the automotive sector is going to look like by then. By some estimates, it's already going to be cheaper and more convenient to rent cars as a service than to buy one by then.
So congratulations Volkswagen, I guess. I look forward to seeing this thing on the road sometime in the future. Until then, there are a ton more photos in the gallery.