Volkswagen has been making Microbus-based concepts for some time now, though none of them have made it to production. There has been the 2001 Microbus Concept, the 2011 Bulli Concept, and the 2016 BUDD-e Concept, though the Microbus inspiration on the latter was barely visible.
The latest Microbus-inspired concept is the I.D. Buzz Concept which in both appearance and features matches up best with the original classic. The fully electric I.D. Buzz not only has a range of 373 miles, but it can be 80% charged in only 30 minutes. Combined with the vehicle's roominess, with up to 3 rows of seats that can fit 8 people, you have a stylish and very economical people mover. Seats can be removed as well to outfit a car for a wandering life reminiscent of the hippy era.
The I.D. Buzz projects an augmented reality 3D Head-up Display in the driver's field of vision to control features like multimedia and climate. The main driving controls are found on the touch sensitive steering wheel. It also features full automated driving with I.D. Pilot mode. The driver's seat can spin around towards the rear passengers.
Front and rear electric motors on the long-wheelbase car ensure optimal weight distribution. The suspension includes electronically regulated shock absorbers for a smooth ride.
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The new era of electric mobility is starting and Volkswagen is set to define it: with the I.D. BUZZ, Volkswagen is presenting at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit the microbus of the new age. The electric MPV concept gives a renewed look ahead towards the future – with the aim of bringing electric mobility for all into the world of tomorrow. The new brand claim sums it up: "We make the future real."
Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management, explains: " The I.D. BUZZ stands for the new Volkswagen: modern, positive, emotional, future-orientated. By 2025, we want to sell one million electric cars per year, making e-mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen. The new e-Golf2 already offers 50 percent more electric range. From 2020 onwards we will then launch our I.D. family, a new generation of fully electric, fully connected cars. It will be affordable for millions, not just to millionaires."
Volkswagen is demonstrating with the I.D. BUZZ concept vehicle in Detroit just how rich in features the electric mobility of tomorrow will be – an all-wheel drive spatial marvel with electric motors on front and rear axles, a fully automated driving mode (I.D. Pilot) and a new generation of indicators and controls. "The I.D. BUZZ is the next generation MPV. It is based on the new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) and provides comfort and loads of space for long journeys. Its electric range as per the NEDC is up to 600 kilometres", explains Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Brand for the Development Division. The I.D. BUZZ takes on new energy inductively or from a charging station. At a charging power of 150 kW, it takes around 30 minutes to charge up to 80 per cent.
It was just four months ago that Volkswagen unveiled the little brother of the I.D. BUZZ at the Paris Motor Show: the I.D.3 It too – a revolution. A compact electric car that will launch as of 2020 with ranges of up to 600 kilometres. The first car to go into series production based on the MEB. And the first Volkswagen concept car that can be driven in fully automated mode.
The new I.D. BUZZ is now the first MPV with which that is possible: all that is needed is a gentle push on the steering wheel and it instantly moves back, melts into the cockpit and switches the I.D. BUZZ from manual into the fully automated 'I.D. Pilot' mode (envisaged as of 2025). Now, the driver's seat can be turned around and the driver can face the passengers in the back. Laser scanners, ultrasound sensors, radar sensors, area-view cameras and a front camera scan the surrounding area, with other traffic data being received via the Cloud.
In the I.D. BUZZ the conventional cockpit no longer exists. The MPV instead projects the key information by means of an AR (augmented reality) Head-up Display into the driver's field of vision – in 3D, in virtual format onto the road. Features such as the infotainment and air-conditioning functions are operated via a removable tablet. The main controls for driving, meanwhile, are located on the steering wheel. Its inner section is not – as is normal today – fitted with spokes and buttons, but rather has a kind of touchpad with capacitive fields, thus turning the traditional steering wheel into a multi-functional touch-sensitive steering wheel.
The use of space in the concept car, which has up to eight seats, is better than in any other electric vehicle. The multi-variable seating and interactive integration of the I.D. BUZZ makes a great deal possible. Thanks to the extended MEB XL platform, this 4,942 mm long, 1,976 mm wide and 1,963 mm high concept vehicle provides what for its class are extraordinary spatial dimensions inside as well.
However, the I.D. BUZZ is not just a giant in terms of space: by virtue of its design it also becomes one of the world's most comfortable cars. At 3,300 mm, it has an extremely long wheelbase. Located in between in the vehicle floor is the battery. It lowers the centre of gravity and ensures perfect weight distribution. The suspension of the I.D. BUZZ, with its electronically regulated shock absorbers, additionally ensures top-class comfort. The zero emission all-wheel drive system with output power of 275 kW / 374 PS (electric motors front and rear each delivering 150 kW) is the perfect match for the car's dynamic character. The version of the I.D. BUZZ presented in Detroit reaches 100 km/h in 5 seconds; its top speed is restricted to 160 km/h.
The I.D. Buzz on show in Detroit is thus fully following the Volkswagen brand strategy with its claim "We make the future real." Forming the basis of this strategy are the four areas of innovation: