Volkswagen made a splash at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit with the unveiling of the I.D. Buzz, a concept minibus that shows the German automaker's direction of evolving into an electric vehicle company.
The Volkswagen I.D. Buzz microbus is based on one of the most iconic vans in the history of automobiles, but it is capable of much more than just evoking nostalgia.
Volkswagen ID Buzz: More Than Just A Modernized Microbus
The new concept vehicle of Volkswagen utilizes the same core principles, design ideas, and modular electric drive kit architecture that was featured in the I.D. concept that the company showcased at the Paris Motor Show 2016.
The most obvious difference between the I.D. and the I.D. Buzz is that the main inspiration of the new concept is the Volkswagen Type 2, which was popular in the '60s and '70s. The I.D. Buzz has a similar body shape and a sleeker v-shape on its front fascia.
The I.D. Buzz, however, is described as a "Microbus for a new era," with features beyond the modernized look of the iconic vehicle.
First of all, the I.D. Buzz is an all-electric vehicle, with a pair of e-motors that provide on-demand all-wheel drive with a combined output of 75 kW, which is equivalent to around 369 mechanical horsepower. The battery has a capacity of 111 kWh, with a cruising range estimated at 270 miles and a plug-in combined charging system that allows it to receive an 80 percent charge increase in only 30 minutes.
The vehicle is capable of going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5 seconds, but its top speed is limited to 99 miles per hour.
The I.D. Buzz features the same touch-sensitive steering wheel and augmented reality HUD found in the I.D. concept. The modern microbus also has the I.D. Box feature at the center console, which serves as the driver's control panel and contains a Bluetooth sound system that can be detached and used even while outside the vehicle.
The I.D. Buzz also has a self-driving mode, and once it is engaged, the driver can retract the vehicle's steering wheel and turn his seat, along with that of the front passenger, 180 degrees to face the rear seats. The I.D. Box can then be pushed back to bring all the passengers of the ID Buzz together.
The interior of the I.D. Buzz is customizable. In addition to the front seats being able to swivel around, all seats can be removed, repositioned, folded flat, or combined into beds. The seats in the second row can even be doubled over so that they can serve as tables.
Will Volkswagen Release The ID Buzz?
Volkswagen has teased the public with several modern versions of the microbus, but none have so far materialized. The German automaker, however, is targeting to release its I.D. line by 2020, starting with the I.D. compact hatchback, followed by the I.D. Buzz and an unrevealed I.D. SUV between 2022 and 2025.
Of course, Volkswagen will first have to settle its ongoing emissions scandal.