Introducing the New Electric Volkswagen Bus
The Volkswagen bus has always had a cult following in North America. We associate its boxy, practical shape and friendly face with travel, freedom, and adventure. It’s been 20 years since you could buy a new Volkswagen bus on our shores, but that’s about to change – and the new VW bus, now called the ID. Buzz, is electric. It combines the style, space, practicality, and friendly attitude of previous models with the zero-emissions running and smooth performance of an electric car.
The ID. Buzz is an all-new vehicle built on an all-electric platform, and it has been tailored specifically for North American tastes. Overseas customers get a more compact ID. Buzz, with five seats and a short wheelbase for tight European roads. The American ID. Buzz has seven seats as standard and wheelbase that has been extended by almost a foot for maximum interior space. At just over 16 feet long, it’s a big boy – but is still shorter than minivans like the Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna. With its two-tone paint, friendly face, and illuminated VW logo up front, the ID.Buzz looks better than any minivan on the market, effortlessly combining vintage vibes with modern tech.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz Interior Amenities
On the inside, the ID. Buzz is also more spacious than other minivans, highlighting the benefits of its electric drivetrain. The compact electric motor sits under the floor at the rear of the vehicle, making the ID. Buzz rear-wheel drive in its base form. The battery pack, enlarged to 85 kWh, sits under the floor, liberating an incredible amount of space for people and cargo inside. In fact, there’s a total of 87 cubic feet of storage space available, depending on seating configuration. The big, boxy interior allows you to configure its seats however you wish, and there are plenty of storage areas for all of your family’s stuff.
Even better, the ID. Buzz interior is packed with style as well as function. Instead of the boring grey or beige interiors you’ll find in most minivans, the new Volkswagen bus offers the choice of light, bright fabrics and trim pieces, and seat inserts that match the vibrant choices of exterior colors. A large central touchscreen, similar to the one on the recently-announced ID.7 luxury sedan, houses all major controls, keeping the design clean and simple, and there’s a compact instrument cluster in front of the driver showing essential information.
Other innovative features of the electric VW bus include a head-up display, a connected smartphone app that allows you to park the vehicle by remote control, and heated and cooled seats. Up top, an optional giant panoramic roof offers electronic control of its tint, going from perfectly clear to opaque at the touch of a button. It brings back memories of the windows on the sides of vintage VW buses, and is the largest piece of glass ever installed on a Volkswagen.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz: Range and Power
While VW has yet to announce final EPA range estimates for the new ID. Buzz, we would expect somewhere between 250 and 300 miles depending on specification. The battery charges at a maximum speed of 170 kW, which isn’t the fastest for an EV, but still faster than most Level 3 fast chargers can put out. A heat pump is standard on all models, making the climate control system much more efficient – and significantly reducing the effect of cold temperatures on the vehicle’s range, a common complaint with the VW ID.4 SUV.
The standard electric motor offers 286 hp to drive the rear wheels, allowing the ID. Buzz to zip to 60 mph in less than eight seconds; top speed is 100 mph. If that’s not fast enough for you, an all-wheel drive version, called the ID. Buzz GTX, will also be available. It features twin electric motors with a total output of 339 hp, and a 0-60 mph time of less than seven seconds, making it ideal for areas with more variable climates – and for drivers that want to merge onto the highway more quickly.
Despite the fact they haven’t been available new for over 20 years, Volkswagen buses are still a common sight at beaches, campsites, and festivals in California, Florida, and everywhere in between. Three generations of rear-engined, air-cooled models were available over decades, and succeeded by the Vanagon and the Eurovan. The buses still have a strong following, and the largest Volkswagen bus festival in the world is held annually in the U.S. The company is betting that by re-introducing the bus to North America, it will elevate love for all Volkswagen models, strengthening its brand as it transitions to all-electric.
Where Will the Volkswagen ID. Buzz Be Produced?
The first ID. Buzz vehicles will be delivered in the U.S. in early 2024, and the larger version made for North America will also be available in Europe, in addition to the short-wheelbase version. Pricing has yet to be announced, but given that the ID. Buzz will be produced in Hanover, Germany, it likely will not qualify for government incentives. For rabid fans of the VW bus, who have been waiting patiently for an all-electric model, that likely won’t matter. They’ll just be thrilled the model is finally back in its spiritual home.