Volkswagen’s Microbus has already gained an iconic status thanks to the free spirit that it has come to symbolize. Since 2001, the German carmaker has been introducing different Microbus concepts. The latest of these concepts was unveiled at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show – the Volkswagen ID Buzz Concept. Featuring a full electric drive sending power to all four wheels as well as an electric range of 270 miles (US driving cycle), the VW ID Buzz Concept was a study that was hard to ignore.
Now, VW can no longer ignore the appeal of and the enticing proposition by the ID Buzz Concept. Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess remarked during the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance event in Pebble Beach, California, following presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit, Michigan and in Geneva, Switzerland, that the carmaker has been receiving a large number of letters and e-mails from customers urging the German company to bring the ID Buzz Concept into production,
During the event, the German carmaker announced that it has decided to go beyond the Microbus concept and bring the ID Buzz Concept into production. The announcement – made by Diess (who also serves as chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand) and Eckhard Scholz (sitting as chair of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand) – doesn’t mean that the production version of the ID Buzz Concept is coming soon though, as interested customers would have to wait half a decade later to get a piece of this futuristic iteration of the Microbus in 2022.
The ID Buzz Concept is powered by a pair of electric motors -- one on the front and another on the rear – that develop a total system output of 369 hp. This is enough to make all-wheel drive EV sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5 seconds and reach a top speed of up to 99 mph. Energy is derived from a large 111-kWh battery pack that has a range of 270 miles (expected US driving cycle) or 600 km as per NEDC cycle. The battery could be recharged up to 80 of capacity in just 30 minutes using a fast charger.
Just like the ID Buzz Concept, the production model will feature batteries mounted on the vehicle floor. It will have a long wheelbase with short overhangs, thanks to the fact that its electric drive components – like its electric motor and power electronics – won't use much space. This allows the production version of the ID Buzz Concept to offer a very spacious interior that could comfortably accommodate eight passengers. Diess remarked that while the production form of the ID Buzz Concept would look like a compact commercial van, it offers the generous interior space typical of a large sports utility vehicle.
Interestingly, the production version of the ID Buzz Concept would have a Level 3 autonomous capability, which means that some "safety-critical functions" could be left to the vehicle under certain conditions.