We all like a good concept vehicle getting the green light and rolling off the production line (preferably not too watered down), so the recent announcement by Volkswagen’s Herbert Diess was music to our ears.
Mr Diess, Chairman of VW, confirmed that the microbus concept would indeed make it into production as an electric vehicle in the future. This is good news for those that appreciate the modern take on classics that we have previously seen become so successful over recent years (take a bow Beetle, Fiat 500 and MINI).
The ID Buzz (will this become ‘bus’ I wonder…) is of course a modern take on the much-loved classic Volkswagen T2 Campervan; a vehicle that continues to be held dear to the hearts of many. The reasons for the camper’s on-going popularity are manyfold of course – and interestingly, one reason may well be families deciding to holiday at home more and seeking some family adventure.
One thing that will be very different to the original Type 2 will be the engine sound of course – that infamous helicopter chug will be replaced with something far more modern and sedate. You might even be able to hear the stereo in the ID.
Keeping the spirit of the Campervan in all its guises, VW designer Oliver Stefani has said that there may well be various spinoffs from the ID Buzz; just as the Campervan produced variants like the 23-window Samba (try getting your hands on a working one of these magnificent vehicles on the cheap these days) there may be runs of more specialist body shells still identifiable as the Buzz.
We first saw the ID Buzz minivan at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, with an iconic 2-tone paint job that clearly showed that the bus was wearing its history with pride. The Buzz concept allows VW to show the world that the VW MEB platform that it sits on is versatile enough to produce various different body styles, just as Stefani hinted at.
We can expect to see the electric ID Buzz within the next ten years, and while the Beetle still sells well particularly in the USA, the Microbus will sit very nicely alongside it on the driveway.
The ID Buzz features 3 rows of seats and has a predicted range of around 270 miles on one charge powered by an electric motor sitting at each axle. The minivan can reach 60mph in about 5 seconds; certainly not something you could confidently say about the original!
So what will the ID lose in production? Not much I hope, but inevitably some things will go – whether something as radical as the collapsible steering wheel will makes it onto our roads is anybody’s guess at this stage.
All in all, the ID Buzz minivan doesn’t look a million miles away from the 2001 VW Microbus concept that was inspired by the original launch of the new Beetle a few years earlier in 1998. Criticism of that vehicle was more of an emotional response than practical though, with many voicing the same criticisms that were heard to be uttered over the new Beetle at the time. Namely that it wasn’t the same and didn’t deserve the comparison to the original.
That was a long time ago though, and rather likes the black art of getting the timing right for that second album release, it’s just possible that the mood is perfect right now for a new Campervan.