With summer just around the corner and the staycation seemingly the safest option for holidaying this year once more, albeit for somewhat different reasons, its great to see Volkswagen introduce the all-electric VW ID. Buzz (complete with awkwardly placed period punctuation mark), the most likely successor to the classic Type 2 campervan crown.
In keeping with the company’s previous reimagining of the Type 1 Beetle, the ID. Buzz takes a healthy dose of retro campervan and brings it into the present. It’s a nice nostalgia-tinged surprise, considering the Buzz sits on the ultra-modern ID.3 platform, and is possibly a design decision inspired by the increase in sales for all-in-one campers as the popularity for self-catering mobile holidays seems to be showing no decline. The Buzz exterior is certainly a little more aerodynamic than the old Type 2 yet does still retain the same look and feel, partly helped by the traditional campervan 2-tone paintwork. LED headlights meet the large traditional VW logo in the centre at the front.
The ID. Buzz can provide for up to 5 people with a capacity for 1,121-litres of luggage space in 5-seat mode and an applaudable 2,205-litres with the rear bench seat folded flat. It also features ‘Plug & Charge’ technology for easier 170kW charging when out on the road – crucial for such a vehicle. The battery can be charged to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes, which is perfect for a pit-stop while on route to somewhere lovely to stop overnight. For home, the ID. Buzz features bi-directional (‘Vehicle-to-Home’) charging, meaning you can also feed your charge back into the home energy system if you so desire.
The VW ID. Buzz received its debut showing in Hamburg as part of what VW say is the first all-electric transporter and bus range available. It looks like Volkswagen has carried out a fine job with the ID. Buzz; while it looks modern it really does offer hints of the old Type 2. I think this comes across especially well in the glimpses of interior bodywork that can be seen in the same colour as the bright yellow exterior (other colour options initially are orange, blue and green below the white upper body). It’s also great to see that little has changed design-wise from the initial VW concepts that have appeared over the past few years. One change is that the seating configuration is to be a standard 5-seat layout as opposed to the swivelling and slider seats in the concept. Though the rear bench can be split in a 60:40 ratio as well as folding flat.
Such a vehicle as the ID. Buzz, while looking fantastic, needs to be practical for modern usage – nostalgia alone won’t cut it for long. Luckily, the Buzz ports across the latest ID software and includes things like 8 USB-C (slightly smaller than the standard USB connector) charging capabilities. It also has the useful Buzz Box which sits centrally between the front seating as a large storage compartment. Inside the Buzz Box you get a drawer capable of storing up to 5-litres, plus various useful handy items like an ice scraper, bottle storage and bottle opener. While leather is fine for travelling, it might not prove the most durable for temporary living in, so VW has gone for a more durable synthetic covering for the seating and steering wheel. Carpeting and upholstery also incorporate a green design ethos and contain a percentage of recycled plastic.
The existing VW ID system has enabled the manufacturer to give the ID. Buzz plenty of proven carry-over tech; the Buzz features a 10 or 12-inch infotainment touchscreen mounted centrally on the dash for easy viewing and a Virtual Cockpit for the driver with a 5.4-inch screen which sits behind the steering wheel. There is touch-sensitive climate control and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay covers the two most popular connectivity options, offering voice control to boot.
The man with surely the longest job title in automotive history, Ralf Brandstätter, VW Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, describes the ID. Buzz as a ‘genuine icon for the electric era.’ He just might prove to be right; it all depends on the weather here in the UK. Sadly, we won’t get to see how it fares this summer, as the Volkswagen ID. Buzz won’t be available to order until autumn 2022; here’s hoping for a late and long-lasting summer.
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