Revealed at January’s Detroit Motor Show in concept form, the ID Buzz resurrects styling cues last seen on Volkswagen’s iconic Kombi microbus and merges them with a futuristic all-electric architecture and autonomous driving capability.
It may wear retro clothes, but the ID Buzz is one of Volkswagen’s most forward-looking vehicles. Set for a 2022 launch, it will be the sixth purely electric Volkswagen to come to market – the first being the Golf-sized ID that will arrive in 2019, followed by the ID Cross SUV.
It could very well be the largest, too. Even though the Detroit concept measured slightly less than five metres from grille to hatch lid, it is slightly longer than a current-generation Volkswagen Transporter. Less “microbus” and more “actual bus”, it seems.
But that opens up the possibility for the ID Buzz – or whatever its production name ends up being – to morph from an electric people mover into a commercial van.
Automotive News Europe says Volkswagen’s head of light commercial vehicles, Eckhard Scholz, will likely confirm the production ID Buzz alongside Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess at Pebble Beach. If true, Scholz’s presence indicates the ID Buzz will be a collaborative effort between Volkswagen’s passenger car and commercial vehicle divisions – the latter arguably keen to share in the potential offered by the MEB platform.
It would be a fitting tie-up. The current-generation T6 Transporter is also offered in passenger-friendly Caravelle and Multivan guises, and the original Type 2 Kombi spawned a plethora of variants ranging from utilitarian panel vans to tray-backed utes to surfer-spec passenger vans.
It’s that historical connection with the Kombi that VW will likely exploit at Pebble Beach, a location more known for megadollar historic race cars and one-of-a-kind vintage vehicles – all perfectly preserved.
It may seem like an unusual location to reveal a battery-powered people mover, but the high-profile event is fast becoming a favourite venue for big announcements from major manufacturers. BMW, for example, will have its next-generation Z4 roadster on show in concept form at this year’s concours, and Mercedes-Maybach will whip the covers off a to-be-announced concept.
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is staged this weekend, meaning we should learn more about Volkswagen’s plans for an electric microbus next week.