After what seems like three eons and two epochs of concept vehicles, Volkswagen has finally taken the covers off a production-ready version of the ID. Buzz van. European models, of the type shown here, go on sale this calendar year with a long-wheelbase passenger model to debut for the North American market in 2023 and go on sale in 2024
And, yes, the word ‘bus’ does make it into the official press materials.
The new ID. Buzz is all-electric – because that’s the way life is these days. Initial versions will come to the European market with an 82 kWh lithium-ion battery (77 kWh net) powering an electric motor good for 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque. This configuration means the ID. Buzz is only available in rear-wheel drive for now, though you can bet your tie-dyed shirts there will be a dual-motor variant at some point in the future. VW remains mum on this vehicle’s total driving range.
It’ll not escape your notice there are passenger and cargo variants scattered amongst these photos, both of which share identical dimensions for the European market. Specifically, it will be 76.3 inches high and 185.5 inches long on a 117.6-inch wheelbase and 78.1-inch overall body width. To put that in perspective, the Kia Carnival (a machine with which the ID. Buzz does not directly compete but is nevertheless also a vaguely boxed-shaped van) has a roof about six inches closer to the ground but is nearly a foot-and-a-half longer in total length. Width is roughly the same.
This would be a good time to remind readers that VW took pains to mention there will be a long-wheelbase passenger model coming to North America in a couple of years. Left unsaid is if that machine will supplement the short(er) wheelbase Euro van – car nuts will get that subtle reference – or if it will stand on its own merits. We are wagering the latter since the market for this type of rig is surely not big enough in this country to warrant a brace of all-electric retro vans.
Speaking of, while the ID. Buzz short overhangs and available two-tone color palette pay homage to the past, its high-tech interior trappings (and EV powertrain) look squarely into the future. There are five seats in the passenger variant at launch – three in cargo trim – with the aforementioned extended wheelbase version packing a seven-seat 2/3/2 configuration. A 10-inch Digital Cockpit display is paired with a 10-inch infotainment system along with a smattering of digital buttons and touch sliders. The transmission in this Euro version is operated via a steering column stalk but it remains to be seen if that will cross the pond. Active lighting is used for typical ambient purposes but is also tied into the navigation system, with certain parts of the lights advising of road obstructions or corresponding with a navigation instruction to change lanes. Like the gearshift, we’ll see if that makes it stateside.
The ID. Buzz is built on the company’s scalable Modular Electric Drive platform, a unit on which roughly 30 percent of all electric vehicles in the Volkswagen Group are already based. Company spox say that number will nearly triple in the next five years.[Images: VW]
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