Volkswagen has taken an icon—its hippie Microbus, popular in the 1960s—into the future with the world debut of a retro-futuristic I.D. Buzz electric multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) concept. The concept, which can be fully autonomous, was previewed this week at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. A compact version of the I.D. was shown at last year’s Paris Motor Show.
Volkswagen officials said the electric MPV concept, which signals VW’s electric mobility future and new architecture, could launch in 2020 with an autonomous driving mode available in 2025. The I.D. Buzz, which can be configured to seat 8 with two luggage compartments, is slated to have an intended range of 270 miles on a single charge.
Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Concept photoTraction for every kind of terrain will be built into the I.D. Buzz electric all-wheel-drive (AWD) MPV with two motors—one on the front and another on the rear axle—that generate the equivalent of 369 horsepower and the 111-kWh battery can be recharged to 80% capacity within 30 minutes with a special charging system. VW’s I.D. Buzz, which is based on the automaker’s new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds, with a controlled top speed of 99 mph, according to Volkswagen.
VW officials said that the I.D. Buzz name represents “identify, idea, individual, intelligent, and iconic” design with “buzz” or news about the concept’s flexibility zero emissions, eventual I.D. Pilot autonomous driving mode, driver user profile, as well as a warm interior and the capability to offer variable seating layouts, including an extended MEB-XL platform that is 194.6 inches long, 77.8 inches wide, and 77.3 inches in height.
The I.D. Buzz is spacious inside and has a silent-drive system with good sound acoustics, according to VW. A floor-mounted battery lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity, and multi-link rear suspension helps give a comfortable ride along with better cornering, the automaker says. A novel aspect of the new MPV concept is that the driver’s seat can be turned around to face the rear when the vehicle is stationary.