Milton Keynes, England. The headquarters of Volkswagen Commecial Vehicles in the UK hosted the inaugural press presentations of the all-new ID. Buzz, the brand’s new multi-purpose goods and people carrier. And the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo are electric powered only.
As experienced on the day, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is currently going through the final phase of trials of the ID. Buzz prototypes, as pre-production fleet are touring Europe. These are final test runs under everyday conditions between Barcelona, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Hannover. Early demo models are at selected dealers in Ireland at present.
Kai Grünitz, Head of Vehicle Development at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, explained: “Before we start full production of the ID. Buzz, these final trials with vehicles practically matching the ultimate full-production specification provide us with indispensable input for the final fine-tuning.”
The ID. Buzz prototypes are now only slightly disguised. Both ID. Buzz versions also draw on the stylistic elements of the legendary T1, the original Bulli. Those elements include extremely short vehicle body overhangs, maximum utilisation of space on a minimal footprint, the classic division of the vehicle body design into an upper and lower level, plus the unmistakable face with its V-shape. And just like the original Bulli, the ID. Buzz too has rear-wheel drive.
On the engineering front the new model line is based on the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). Both ID. Buzz versions are launching this year with a high-voltage lithium-ion battery providing gross energy content of 82 kWh (net: 77 kWh). The battery supplies a 150 kW electric motor, which is integrated in the rear axle, which it also drives. The top speed is electronically limited at 145 km/h. Official figures for range are not yet available. For the one part, the electric motor builds up its maximum torque of 310 Nm from a standing start. And for the other, these dynamic components are joined by the vehicle body having a very low centre of gravity, as the battery is located well down in the sandwich floor. By virtue of its design, the ID. Buzz has another advantage: the electric Bulli’s turning circle is only just over 11 metres.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has developed a versatile structure based on the MEB that facilitates a particularly wide spectrum of uses: With its five seats, the multivariable ID. Buzz is just as perfectly tailored to leisure time as it is to business use. With the three-seater ID. Buzz Cargo, an ultra-modern zero-emission van is taking off. But that is just the beginning. During the course of the coming year, the portfolio will be added to by a model with a longer wheelbase and a correspondingly broader range of possibilities in the interior.
Versions of the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo coming with a standard wheelbase (2,988 mm) are just 4,712 mm long. By way of comparison: the wheelbase of the new ID. Buzz is only two millimetres different to that of the T6.1, which, however, measures 4,904 mm in total length. The ID. Buzz is similar internal length, but is able to use smaller parking spaces. The bus, which is generously fitted with glass all round, is 1,937 mm high; in the case of the van, it is 1,938 mm due to slight differences in the chassis (T6.1: 1,970 mm). The two ID. Buzz vehicles are 1,985 mm wide (excluding wing mirrors); the new model is thus 81 mm wider than the T6.1.
Thanks to the space-saving MEB concept, the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo offer unusually good utilisation of space. The five-seater ID. Buzz takes up to 1,121 litres of luggage even with all seats occupied. The maximum load capacity of the ID. Buzz Cargo, which is fitted with a partition behind the front seats, is over 3.9 m3.
Clever charging solutions are relayed, using the latest ID. software, the model line will in future offer the ‘Plug & Charge’ function as well. Using this function, the ID. Buzz authenticates itself at many providers’ (DC) quick-charging stations via the charging connector, exchanging all necessary data with it in this way – a much more convenient arrangement. And there is going to be another new feature: bidirectional charging. This technology opens up a whole new spectrum of possibilities. One example: It will from now on be possible to store excess power from a home’s own solar panels in the ID. Buzz and to feed it back into the home in the evening in order to be independent even without the sun.
Across the board, it is the case for the ID. Buzz and for all models of the ID. family that software updates can be downloaded over the air. These include both updates of the infotainment system and updates relating to charging or driver assist functions. The spectrum of driver assist systems includes innovatively interconnected technologies such as the new ‘Trained Parking’ function (automatic manoeuvring into and out of parking spaces), ‘Car2X’ (warnings and hazard alerts in the local vicinity) and the latest version of ‘Travel Assist’ featuring utilisation of crowdsourced data; the system facilitates forward and lateral guidance on a partly automated basis across the full speed range.
Production of the ID. Buzz starts in the first half of this year, and the European launch follows just a short time later in the autumn.