Volkswagen has confirmed that the 1950s Microbus will be reborn as an electric vehicle, based on the I.D. BUZZ concept that was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit earlier this year.
The company has also set a launch date for the I.D. BUZZ, which will arrive at dealerships after the compact four-door I.D. model in 2022. Volkswagen is mainly targeting the markets in North America, Europe and China with both the I.D. BUZZ and the I.D. family overall.
Volkswagen CEO Dr Herbert Diess said that the decision to make the I.D. BUZZ into a production version is due to large number of letters and emails from customers requesting to build the vehicle after shows in Detroit and Geneva.
“It’s no coincidence that the Board of Management chose Pebble Beach as the location to make its announcement. The Microbus, which is what the ‘Bulli’ is called in America, has always been part of the California lifestyle. Now we’re bringing it back by developing Volkswagen’s next e-generation and by reinventing the Bulli as an electric vehicle”, said Diess.
As was the case with the “Show Car of the Year” in Detroit, the production model will also have its batteries mounted in the vehicle floor. The electric drive doesn’t take up much space, which means the front and rear axles can be mounted very far apart from one another. This results in a long wheelbase and short overhangs, which makes for more space in the interior. “The vehicle therefore looks like a short compact van on the outside, even as it offers the generous interior space of a large van”, Diess explained. The result is a superior package that offers both the driver and passengers plenty of room for a comfortable journey.
Those who wish to use the model to transport cargo will get what they need as well: “Along with a minibus version, we’ll also be offering an I.D. BUZZ Cargo variant for zero-emission delivery operations in a Level 3 vehicle that boasts a high degree of automated driving capability”, said Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Dr Eckhard Scholz. “It’s an ideal electric van concept, particularly for inner cities.”
With a length of 4,942 mm, a width of 1,976 mm and a height of 1,963 mm, the concept car offers extraordinary space dimensions. The production version, which is based on the new all-electric architecture, will incorporate many design ideas from the concept car. It will also feature variable seating, interactive connectivity and highly automated driving, said VW.
Expansion of the electric vehicle range is part of Volkswagen’s Strategy 2025, which foresees more than 30 all-electric models by that time.