VW boss Herbert Diess confirms modern, electric version of the VW Microbus is on the way
Volkswagen’s boss has confirmed the company will build a Microbus-style production car with design cues from the classic T1 and T2 buses – as part of its ‘ID’ range of electric vehicles.
Speaking at the reveal of the new VW Polo, VW boss Herbert Diess told Auto Express: “Emotional cars are very important for the brand. We are selling loads of Beetles still, particularly in US markets. But we will also have the Microbus that we showed, which we have recently decided we will build.”
Built on the new MEB platform, this EV MPV product family was previewed by the ID Buzz concept at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show.
Speaking at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, VW design boss Oliver Stefani told Auto Express, “We would like to bring this back because it fits so well to what the brand stands for: it’s emotional, it has functionality, it makes your life easier.”
“With the MEB platform this is the chance now to get the proportions back,” he added, referring to the fact that you don’t need to have an engine in the front with an EV. “But you can also get much more interior space, almost one class higher.”
Stefani compared the ID Buzz to the Renault Scenic, as an MPV that attempts to rival SUVs with a jacked-up look. “The French also try these alternatives with MPV crossed with SUV,” he said. “Honestly, nobody goes into the woods with an SUV.”
He also hinted at further variations on the same vehicle, as with the original bus. “The T1 also had some family members, like the pick-up, the camper, the Samba,” Stefani said, “so I think there are a lot of possibilities with this car.”
Volkswagen I.D Buzz concept in detail
Volkswagen revealed the I.D Buzz concept as the second member of VW’s new I.D family, following on from the reveal of the I.D Concept at the Paris Motor Show in September 2016. It’s thought that the I.D Buzz minivan will be the figurehead for Volkswagen’s upcoming Uber rival, MOIA – a ride-sharing company set to launch in 2020.
Described as a vehicle that “transfers a Microbus feeling into the future”, the I.D Buzz clearly draws inspiration from the classic and iconic Type 2 Microbus, which was launched in 1950. Its 2017 interpretation includes retro design cues such as the two-tone paint job, blunt front end and large VW badge, but the space-age interior, huge 22-inch wheels, and wraparound LED lights modernize the design.
It sits on an extended version of the MEB modular electric platform, with a 3.3m wheelbase, short overhangs and boxy shape designed to maximize space.
That allows the I.D. Buzz to offer a flexible eight-seat cabin, with a lounge-style layout, multi-adjustable rear chairs and a driver’s seat that swivels 180 degrees. This happens automatically when the autonomous I.D. Pilot mode is selected, retracting the single-piece capacitive touch steering wheel while the car takes full control of the driving.
Other tech includes an augmented reality head-up display and a removable portrait tablet that controls the car’s functions.
The I.D. Buzz’s architecture means the batteries and motors sit beneath the floor, allowing two luggage compartments front and rear. It’s all-wheel drive, with an electric motor on each axle and a combined system output of 369bhp.
VW claims a 0-62mph time of five seconds and a limited top speed of 99mph, plus a range of between 270 and 373 miles. It also features inductive charging tech, giving an 80 per cent boost in 30 minutes. VW plans to launch a full range of autonomous EVs, aiming to sell one million MEB-based cars by 2025.