VW to Bring Back an All-Electric ‘Microbus'
【Summary】Now, Volkswagen has announced it is putting the Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ concept car into production and Volkswagen’s North American CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken is happy to bring the car back to North America.
PEBBLE BEACH, California, -- At the Detroit Show in early 2017, Volkswagen showed off the I.D. BUZZ concept car, a fully electric vehicle that taps into the spirit and vibe that made the VW Microbus such an iconic vehicle.
Now, Volkswagen has announced it is putting the Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ concept car into production and Volkswagen's North American CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken is happy to bring the car back to North America.
The Chairmen of the Boards of Management of the Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brands, Dr Herbert Diess and Dr Eckhard Scholz, announced the decision at one of the most prestigious automotive events in the world — the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance held in California last week.
Volkswagen has also set a launch date for the I.D. BUZZ. The vehicle will arrive at dealerships in 2022, after the compact four-door I.D. makes its debut. With the I.D. BUZZ, Volkswagen is mainly targeting markets in North America, Europe and China.
‘Please Build This Car'
"After the presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit and Geneva, we received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car'," Volkswagen CEO Dr Herbert Diess said in Pebble Beach.
The Board of Management chose Pebble Beach as the location to make its announcement because, as Diess explained: "The Microbus has long been part of the California lifestyle. Now we're bringing it back by reinventing it as an electric vehicle."
Just like the concept car that was shown in Detroit earlier this year, the production model will also have its EV batteries mounted in the vehicle floor. Because the electric drive components including the electric motor and power electronics do not take take up much space. The vehicle has a long wheelbase with short overhangs which provide an surprisingly spacious interior. "The vehicle looks like a compact commercial van on the outside, even though it offers the generous interior space of a large SUV," Diess explained.
CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen, Hinrich J. Woebcken added: "We are delighted that our parent company has taken the decision to produce the I.D. BUZZ. This vehicle is the perfect balance between emotion, usability and sustainability, while also showcasing our technological leadership. The high seating position, cargo capacity, overall versatility and all-wheel drive option packaged into such an appealing design is just what our customers want from us. And it's the perfect fit for the zero-emissions American lifestyle."
Microbus and Cargo Versions
The I.D. BUZZ won't just be a passenger vehicle. Just like the classic T2, the I.D. BUZZ will both haul people and haul freight. "Along with a minibus version, we'll also be offering an I.D. BUZZ CARGO variant for zero-emissions delivery of goods," said Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Dr Eckhard Scholz. "With Level 3 autonomous capability, this is an ideal concept for an electric van, particularly for delivering packages and goods to the inner cities."
Although Volkswagen's oldest and newest Microbuses will be separated by more than seven decades when the new model is launched, the I.D. BUZZ will undoubtedly share the same genes, as it offers maximum utilization of space in the footprint of a mid-size passenger car. Based on the new all-electric architecture, the production version of the I.D. BUZZ will incorporate many design ideas from the concept car, including multi-variable seating, interactive connectivity and autonomous driving.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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