VW ID. Buzz in New York
Five years ago Volkswagen debuted the I.D. Buzz Concept at the Detroit Auto Show, with the promise that the all-electric bus would make it into production. True to its commitment, Volkswagen brought the Euro-spec production version of the all-new ID. Buzz to the 2022 New York Auto Show, and we spent time poring over and climbing through this homage to the beloved T1 Microbus. Here’s what we discovered.
Honoring the Original
“The T1 — an icon of the 1950s — represents freedom and the democratization of mobility. With the ID. Buzz, we are transferring the T1 DNA to the present day and thus into the era of electric mobility and sustainability”, said Head of Volkswagen Design Jozef Kaban. “We very consciously ensured that we were not making another T1. The ID. Buzz shows that it is successfully transferring the genes and stylistic elements of that iconic vehicle into the digital era,” noted Kaban.
Europe Only — For Now
The ID. Buzz on display in New York is specifically for the European market, with sales overseas expected to begin in the third quarter of this year. While styling and many details will remain the same for the U.S. market, the American-spec ID. Buzz will not make an appearance until sometime next year, with sales projected to begin in 2024.
Passenger and Cargo Versions
When the ID. Buzz arrives in the European market later this year, both passenger and cargo versions will be available. Both versions will be built on a standard wheelbase; an extended-wheelbase version of both the passenger and cargo ID. Buzz will arrive next year. The passenger version will seat five in two rows, while the cargo van will seat three in front. A 6-occupant version will come later, and the extended version will offer a 7-occupant configuration.
Designers of the ID. Buzz took full advantage of the people mover’s electric drivetrain (VW does not refer to the ID. Buzz as a van), which allows for short overhangs front and back. This maximizes the interior space while keeping the overall footprint more compact than a similar vehicle with a conventional drivetrain. The electric drivetrain takes up considerably less space than a gas-powered equivalent, creating a low floor for easier entry, exit and loading.
The first versions of the ID. Buzz to arrive in Europe will feature a 201-horsepower electric motor driving the rear wheels. Top speed will be electronically limited to 90 mph. Providing power is a lithium-ion battery delivering a net 77 kWh. Batteries are mounted in the floor to give the ID. Buzz a lower center of gravity for improved handling and performance. Although not officially confirmed, the U.S.-spec version will likely offer dual motors with higher levels of performance.
With a DC fast charger, the ID. Buzz can accept up to 170 kWh, which can take the charge from 5 to 80 percent in about 30 minutes. Volkswagen will announce the total range at a later date. An extended-range battery will likely be available for U.S. customers.
Like the ID.4 and other upcoming models in the Volkswagen family of electric vehicles, the ID. Buzz gets built on the company’s MEB modular electric-drive platform. This new platform is designed for maximum flexibility, so it can underpin a variety of vehicle types yet still be scalable for mass production.
Styling Similar to Concept
Up front, the Volkswagen ID. Buzz has uniquely styled LED headlights with daytime running lights and a slim lateral bar between the lights. The VW logo is much larger than on other Volkswagen models — a throwback to the original T1 Microbus. The grid pattern in the lower fascia along with the stylish headlights give the ID. Buzz an inviting “face.”
Similar to the original VW Bus, the rear hatch of the ID. Buzz is flat but much wider and features stylish LED lights. A horizontal light strip that spans the width of the tailgate connects the taillights, giving the appearance of even more width. The ID. Buzz is clearly identified (for anyone who might not recognize it) with another very large VW logo and a large-print ID. BUZZ in white.
Large Cargo Space
With its square shape and low floor, the Volkswagen ID. Buzz boasts a spacious cargo area. In this European-spec version, the second-row seats can be folded flat into the cargo floor, allowing for even larger cargo-carrying ability. The large rear hatch would also work well as a rain shield — an impromptu covering for tailgating during inclement weather.
The original VW Bus had the engine in the rear, with air vents positioned at the sides of the vehicle to help cool the engine. While the motor is still in the rear on this new all-electric ID. Buzz, air vents are still necessary to keep things cool. And in keeping with the original vehicle’s look, VW designers added three vents on each side at the rear; however, these are simply for appearance.
Lucky owners of the ID. Buzz will enjoy discovering many the little details that VW designers sprinkled throughout the new vehicle. A personal favorite is this small image of the I.D. Buzz with an umbrella, found on the glass under the rear windshield wiper.
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz features both a 10-inch Digital Cockpit driver display as well as an available 12-inch infotainment screen. The screens are connected to the dashboard at the bottom, which gives the impression of floating dual tablets. Additional buttons below the infotainment system allow easy access to climate control, driver-assist systems and parking functions. Wireless charging and multiple USB ports provide power for multiple mobile devices.
Power in the Door
The front passenger door handle makes a great place for storing a mobile device, so VW added a USB-C port in the door to create a convenient charging space.
Another Happy Face
A round screw cover sits behind the front door handles, so rather than simply putting a circular cover in the door, VW designers gave it a happy face.
A feature that had its origins in the Detroit Show concept, this ID. Buzz has an available center console that is adjustable or removable. Unique to the ID. Buzz, the upper section features storage bins and a large flip-lid compartment, while below sits a drawer large enough to carry a tablet or laptop. The entire console can be removed, or when the three-row ID. Buzz arrives the center console can be moved to reside between the second-row seats.
In this two-row Euro-spec ID. Buzz, the rear bench seat is designed to seat three. With the flat floor and tall roof, the vehicle possesses a lot of space for rear-seat passengers.
Convenient fold-down tables are located on the front seatbacks, creating work spaces or small snack tables. Pocket above the tables work well for storing mobile devices.
The rear sliding door creates a large opening which — combined with a low step-in height — provides easy ingress and egress.
ID. Buzz Etchings
Throughout the cabin are etchings of the ID. Buzz — more easter eggs to discover and delight. For example, this one is located on the side of the rear seat base.
The German automaker uses sustainable materials throughout the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, eschewing any use of leather in the vehicle. Seat covers, floor liners and ceiling are all made from recycled materials, and the steering wheel has the look and feel of leather but is actually polyurethane. VW will also offer a new fabric made from yarn called Seaqual, which is made from 10 percent plastic recovered from the ocean and 90 percent recycled PET bottles. The exterior paint will be organically based, and the high-voltage battery does not use any cobalt in its construction.
Coming to America (Eventually)
Although Volkswagen has not provided many details concerning the U.S-spec ID. Buzz, we do know it will be built on a longer wheelbase (as mentioned previously, the European versions are on the standard wheelbase) and will debut sometime next year. Expect the ID. Buzz to roll into American showrooms sometime in 2024.