All the Buzz on Volkswagen’s New ID.BUZZ Microbus

Photo By: Volkswagen

Volkswagen first introduced an electric microbus concept at the 1972 Hanover Fair. With a range just shy of 53 miles and more battery than bus, it’s not surprising that it never came to fruition beyond a couple of test vehicles. In the intervening years, VW has continued to tease concepts but never quite made it a reality. Fifty years later, VW has finally announced the ID.BUZZ, the spiritual successor to that early electric microbus. They’ve worked out a mature design that show’s off their EV acumen and will likely be a popular electric option both here and abroad.

Allow me a brief aside. What’s up with that name? VW had 50 years to figure something out. As best I can tell, no one at Volkswagen even tried putting the name into Google to see what happens when you search for something with a period in the middle. Spoiler alert – you’ll be sent to a non-existent id.buzz website. I’d like to propose that it henceforth be nicknamed the 404 van.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled news content.

The New, Fully Electric Volkswagen ID.BUZZ

Quibbles about the name aside, the new ID.BUZZ is an exciting addition to Volkswagen’s ID line of electric vehicles and will join the ID.4 crossover in the North American market. The new design draws heavily from the original microbus design with an added infusion of sci-fi. The end result falls somewhere between Endless Summer and Blade Runner, that is, if Deckard surfed.

This year, the vehicle will debut in the European market, with a North American arrival in 2024. VW will offer the ID.BUZZ in a passenger and cargo van variation, with the latter ingeniously named the ID.BUZZ Cargo. The former will initially be offered in a five-seat configuration, with a six-seat, and an extended wheelbase seven-seater to be offered in the near future. The passenger version will have two options of particular interest to the overland crowd: a movable and removable center console and an adjustable height trunk floor that creates a level cargo area. Let the drawers, camp kitchens, slide-out fridges, and sleeping platform designs commence.

While VW doesn’t specify the cargo capacity of the passenger ID.BUZZ with the seats down and the center console removed (it’s 39.6 cubic feet in its stock configuration), the ID.BUZZ cargo is advertised at 137.7 cu. ft. of space, which the manufacturer has designed to fit two euro pallets, a more rectangular incarnation of the US version. Given its relatively diminutive exterior dimensions, that amount of space is pretty impressive engineering and tantalizing for someone looking to do a campervan conversion on an electric platform.

Initially, the van will be produced in Europe with a 201-horsepower electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries putting 229 lb.-ft. to the rear wheels. VW has promised more battery versions with other power output options in the coming years. It is likely that the US version will get re-baselined with a higher output powerplant to better compete with its American EV space competition.

The 77 kWh battery bank has been designed as a floor-mounted system, lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity and providing a smoother drive as well as keeping a bulging battery hump out of the cargo area. They will be able to be recharged from 5% to 80% at a DC-fast charging station in only 30 minutes, with charging power peaking at 170 kW.

READ MORE: Ram Introduces the Updated 2023 ProMaster

The All New VW ID.BUZZ Cargo – Image by VW US Media

The All New VW ID.BUZZ Cargo Interior – Image by VW US Media

The All New VW ID.BUZZ Cargo Exterior- Image by VW US Media

The All New VW ID.BUZZ Cargo Interior – Image by VW US Media

The All New VW ID.BUZZ Cargo – Image by Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen has begun marketing the platform as the future of sustainability, both in its production and its materials. VW claims that both vehicle variations will be supplied to the European market on a carbon-neutral basis, with production and transportation emissions being offset elsewhere. Hopefully, VW will find a way to extend its carbon neutrality further from its German Hannover factory, where the vehicle will be produced. Materials such as the seat covers, floor coverings, and roof liner will be made of recycled materials, with “vegan” leather being used on the steering wheels. Perhaps most meaningfully, VW has committed to the use of cobalt-free batteries and the construction of a plant that will recycle the high-voltage batteries at the end of their automotive lifecycle. Our hope is that other EV manufacturers will follow suit.

ID.BUZZ (European) Specs

Platform:VW Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB)
Drive Type:All-electric rear wheel drive
Max. Power:201-hp
Max Torque:229-lb-ft
Wheelbase:117.6 in
Dimensions:185.5 in. (L) x 78.1 in. (W) x 76.3 in. (H)
Top Speed:90 mph (electronically limited)
Load Sill:24.9 in.
Range:TBD
Battery Capacity:77kWh (net)
Max Charging Current:170 kW DC

Pricing for the ID.BUZZ and ID.BUZZ Cargo hasn’t been released by VW. Based on similar vehicles, our guess is that the US model will likely start around $45,000. We look forward to seeing where the North American version will deviate from the European spec. Early rumors suggest a longer wheelbase and likely the aforementioned power bump. We’ll find out by late 2023 but have to wait until 2024 to see it here in action.

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