Volkswagen re-imagines the 60s Microbus with new, all-electric van

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Author: | Updated: 23 Aug 2017 12:02

Following the reveal of the game-changing I.D. concepts at the Paris Motor Show last year, Volkswagen is forging ahead with further development of the I.D. Buzz microbus concept in preparation for its launch as a production vehicle.

Production of the new electric van marks a new chapter in the successful 70-year history of the VW Microbus and has been announced ahead of the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.

As a unique show for both extraordinary historic cars and new concept vehicles, Volkswagen CEO Dr Herbert Diess stated that the event was just the right place for the I.D. Buzz:

"The vehicle is an important pillar in Volkswagen's electric drive initiative and carries the Microbus driving feeling into the future."

VW ID Buzz

It's also no coincidence that the Board of Management chose Pebble Beach as the location to make its announcement, as Diess explained: "The Microbus, which is what the Bulli is called in America, has always been part of the California lifestyle. Now we're bringing it back by developing Volkswagen's next e-generation and by reinventing the Bulli as an electric vehicle."

At 4,942mm in length, 1,976mm wide and 1,963mm tall, the concept car offers extraordinary dimensions to utilise the most of its space. The production version, which is based on the new all-electric architecture, will incorporate many design ideas from the concept car. It will also feature variable seating, interactive connectivity and highly automated driving.

As was the case with the concept, the production model will have its batteries mounted in the vehicle floor. The electric drive doesn't take up much space, meaning the front and rear axles can be mounted very far apart from one another. This results in a long wheelbase and short overhangs, which makes for more space on the inside.

The vehicle therefore looks like a short compact van on the outside, even as it offers the generous interior space of a large van meaning both the driver and passengers has plenty of room for a comfortable journey.

"It's an ideal electric van concept, particularly for inner cities."

Those who wish to use the model to transport cargo will get what they need as well: "Along with a minibus version, we'll also be offering an I.D. Buzz Cargo variant for zero-emission delivery operations in a Level 3 vehicle that boasts a high degree of automated driving capability", said Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Dr Eckhard Scholz. "It's an ideal electric van concept, particularly for inner cities."

Volkswagen has also set a launch date for the I.D. Buzz, which will arrive at dealerships after the compact four-door I.D. model in 2022.

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