When Volkswagen first started teasing us with concepts for a new-age Microbus back in 2001, the retro design was experiencing a resurgence, so the carmaker could make full use of its legacy, which dates back to the Beetle-based VW Bulli van of the 1950s. Two decades and four concepts later, here we are, discussing the production version of the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, which is coming to Europe this year and will enter the U.S. market in 2024.
In the 20+ years that separate us from the German automaker’s first manifested intention to bring its iconic van back to the said roots, electric mobility has taken over, which is why all the show cars but the original are battery-powered.
As for the ID. Buzz production model, which borrows its name and keeps many of the proportions and details from the final 2017 concept, this rides on the MEB (Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten) platform that already underpins other VW ID models, along with electric vehicles built by Audi and Skoda.
While the MEB architecture supports AWD, so far the company only talks about a single-motor layout. And with this sitting in the back, the vehicle can retain the classic one-box look, while also maximizing interior space (as with most EVs, the batteries are located in the floor).
The retro-inspired silhouette, which is marked by extremely short front and rear overhangs, as well as the design of the greenhouse, is met by futuristic details. The latter include the all-round LED lighting, while the side-to-side taillights are a premiere for a VW commercial vehicle.
The main specs of the VW ID. Buzz production model
With only the Old Continent specs having been announced at this point, we can talk about one electric motor delivering 201 hp (154 kW) and 229 lb-ft (310 Nm) of torque. This sips electron juice from an 82 kWh (77 kWh net) battery, but no range figures have been released so far.
The maximum charging power, available when using a DC station, sits at 170 kW, while plugging into an AC outlet means you can charge with up to 11 kW. Taking the battery from 5 to 80 percent charge requires about 30 minutes, while bi-directional charging (powering one’s home from the vehicle) is available as an option.
No 0-60 mph acceleration time has been provided, but the top speed of the ID. Buzz is limited at 90 mph (145 km/h).
Even so, you can expect multiple battery capacities and power levels (probably even in AWD spec) to be announced further down the road.
Standard and Extended Wheelbase, plus ID. Buzz (passenger) and ID. Buzz Cargo
Both the ID. Buzz passenger vehicle and the ID. Buzz Cargo are 1,985 mm (78.2 in) wide, and 4,712mm (185.5 in) long, and while the first sits at 1937 mm (76.3 in) in height, the latter is a mere 1mm taller.
Comparing these dimensions to Volkswagen’s more conventional T6.1 van, we find that the ID. Buzz duo shares the first’s 2,988 mm (118 in) wheelbase while being 81 mm (3.2 in) wider. The fresh arrival is also 192 mm (7.6 in) shorter, which makes for a key asset in urban areas. Speaking of which, it packs an impressive turning circle of 11 meters
The people carrier will initially come in five-seater configuration via two rows. While there’s no frunk, this version can take up to up to 39.6 cubic feet (1,121 liters) of luggage—the value is for the rear seats folded.
You should also note that a third row of seats will be available at a later date (2-2-2 layout).
Then there’s the extended wheelbase passenger version, which will feature a 2-3-2 seating layout.
As for the Cargo model, this can be had with a driver’s seat, two individual seats or a three-person arrangement including the driver’s seat and a bench.
The cabin of the Volkswagen ID. Buzz integrates plenty of sustainable materials, with the main point here involving the man-made finish replacing leather.
There’s a 10-inch digital display, while the central infotainment screen is of the same size, albeit with a 12-inch version of the latter coming as an option. And, in case you’re wondering, the climate controls are not physical, being integrated into the touchscreen.
VW ID. Buzz international market release dates
The market introduction of the electric microbus kicks off in May 2022, when Euro customers can start pre-ordering the vehicle. The third quarter of this year will mark the first Old Continent deliveries for the standard wheelbase model.
The long-wheelbase version will enter the European market in 2023, with the second half of next year seeing the order books opening for American buyers—this extended, passenger-destined incarnation is the only model that will make it stateside (as mentioned above, in 2024).
If we are to speculate on the range and pricing of the ID. Buzz, we can use the VW ID.4 electric crossover as a starting point. However, it’s worth noting the newcomer is larger and less aerodynamic, which should push the range down and the price up compared to the ID.4. Even so, the latter’s EPA rating sits at 249 miles (km), while it comes with an MSRP of $40,760 (before any federal tax credit).
The ID. Buzz will be built by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at its Hanover plant in Germany.