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VW bus shock: Battery Buzz versions promised for 2022

  • Series announced ahead of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
  • Electric van ‘new chapter in 70-year Microbus history’
  • Volkswagen CEO: ‘It unites past, future and Silicon Valley’
BOSSES WHO TOOK THE DECISION:   Dr Eckhard Scholz (left) and Dr Herbert Diess with the former and upcoming VW buses, a design first drawn more than 27 years ago.  Image: VW / Newspress
BOSSES WHO TOOK THE DECISION: Dr Eckhard Scholz (left) and Dr Herbert Diess with the former and upcoming VW buses, a design first drawn more than 70 years ago.  Image: VW / Newspress (More images beneath features.)

PEBBLE BEACH, California – A Volkswagen concept car called, bizarrely, the I.D. Buzz is to be developed for series production.

VW management board chairmen Dr Herbert Diess and Dr Eckhard Scholz announced the decision at the August 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.

“The right place for the I.D. Buzz,” Diess said. “The vehicle will be an important pillar in VW’s electric drive initiative and carry the Microbus driving feeling into the future.”

GOODBYE TO THE OLD: Hello to the electric I.D. Buzz Microbus. Image: VW / Newspress
GOODBYE TO THE OLD: VW’s Microbus has been around in various guises for more than 60 years – now comes the electric I.D. Buzz. Image: VW / Newspress

The I.D. Buzz will reach dealers after the compact four-door I.D. model in 2022, VW says, to target markets in North America, Europe and China.

CALIFORNIA LIFESTYLE

Diess told Carman’s Corner in a media release: “After presentations at the Detroit and Geneva auto shows we received many letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car. It’s also no coincidence that our management board chose Pebble Beach for the announcement.

“The Microbus, which is what the Bulli is called in America (and other markets – Ed), has always been part of the California lifestyle. Now we’re bringing it back by developing VW next e-generation and by reinventing the Bulli as an electric vehicle.”

The production model will have batteries in the vehicle floor while the electric drive “doesn’t take up much space”. That means, VW says, both axles can be mounted very far apart.

Diess added: “This will mean a long wheelbase and short overhangs, which will create more cabin space. The vehicle will look like a short compact van but offer the generous interior space of a large one.”

HELLO TO THE NEW: The very different nose of the proposed I.D. Buzz electric model. Image: VW / Newspress
HELLO TO THE NEW: The very different nose of the proposed I.D. Buzz electric model. Image: VW / Newspress

The result, Diess added. would be a superior package with plenty of room for a comfortable journey.

The needs of cargo companies will also be met. Commercial Vehicles CEO Dr Eckhard Scholzget told The Corner: “Along with a minibus version will come an I.D. Buzz variant for zero-emission delivery operations. It will be an ideal electric van concept, particularly for inner cities.”

KEEPING CONCEPT IDEAS

Ben Pon, whose family imports VW products to The Netherlands, hs already expressed “great interest” in the I.D. Buzz – which is not surprising. Pon’s father inspired the development of the first VW Bulli (T1) with a sketch drawn more than 70 years ago.

The I.D. Buzz (please VW, come up with a new name before launch – Ed) will be 4.94m long, 1.98m wide and 1.97m tall. The production electric version will, VW says, have many design ideas from the concept car, including variable seating, interactive connectivity and highly automated driving.

The expansion of its electric vehicle range is part of VW Strategy 2025 which forecasts more than 30 all-electric models by that year.

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