Update: ‘World premiere’ section updated.
After running test prototypes of the VW ID. Buzz underneath a Transporter T6’s shell for a few months, Volkswagen began testing the production body of its new electric van around July 2021. TopElectricSUV.com reader David spotted a production VW ID. Buzz Cargo charging at an Aral Gas Station in Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany. David told us that he snapped the prototype while charging his ID.3, a sign of how the auto industry is changing, and that every vehicle in every segment will soon be connected, electrified, and offer autonomous driving features.
Now that it’s 2022, the ‘buzz’ for the VW ID is all around, with the world premiere just weeks away. Throughout last year, there’s a lot that we have learned about the upcoming electric van officially and unofficially. Teasers, spy media, and announcements from company executives have helped in forming a mental picture of the vehicle.
Here’s a comprehensive look at Volkswagen’s next-generation van:
It’s still unclear whether the production VW ID. Buzz will hold on to that name. If there is a vote, VW Bus or VW Microbus could turn out to be popular choices in the U.S., and the VW Bulli/VW e-Bulli in Germany. In some markets, the VW Samba or VW e-Samba may be a winner. Volkswagen has a pool of classic names to pick from. However, a rather modern or futuristic name with an ‘ID.’ prefix and only a hint of the past, like ID. Buzz, for instance, would combine the best of both worlds.
Design & Features
Volkswagen Group unveiled a black and white camouflaged ID. Buzz prototype at its New Auto Night event on the eve of the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021) in September 2021. The prototype is one of the first five self-driving test mules of the VW ID. Buzz AD (Autonomous Driving), and the technology demonstrator reveals some of the design features.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has masked the headlamps, but their outline is clearly visible. The van features a wide and curvy hood, rounded side mirrors, and dual-tone wheels. A LiDAR on the roof allows the EV to see objects from more than 400 meters (1,300 ft.) away. Pennsylvania-based Argo AI has made the LiDAR, and this proprietary sensor uses Geiger-mode technology that can detect even the smallest particles of light. So, even objects with low reflectivity, say black or purple vehicles, for instance, don’t go unnoticed.
The production VW ID. Buzz in the spy shot (above) has no sliding door on the driver’s side and features disabled rear windows, typical commercial vans characteristics. Thus, it must be the showroom-bound version of the ID. Buzz Cargo that premiered at IAA 2018, a year and a half after the original ID. Buzz passenger van at the NAIAS 2017. The passenger and commercial versions share the proportions and shape.
The production van isn’t as clean or sleek as the concepts. It looks certain now that the flush-fitting LED headlights and front fog lights haven’t transitioned to the final vehicle. The V-shaped hood is not as tall and unlike the Transporter, it doesn’t have a semi-hood design.
The slender headlights, which feature modules that look like human eyes, should be IQ Light LED matrix headlights with intelligent high beams. These headlights should automatically turn off many of the LEDs individually when needed to ensure that they don’t dazzle road users. The honeycomb design of the bumper adds funkiness to the van, and it appears more friendly. Don’t expect the outer sections of the bumper to have the concept’s illumination, as the teaser showing the front production lights in action released on Twitter doesn’t have it.
The production ID. Buzz will have quite a character on the sides. Besides the headlights extending into the fenders, a proper MPV-style four-part window area is noted in the spy pictures. The chunky wheels, short overhangs, and boxy body make the MPV stubby, yet very charming. The grey rocker panels turn the exterior color scheme from monotone into two-tone.
From the back, note how the VW ID. Buzz is lower than the Multivan with a squatter stance. The glass panels of the all-electric model are also noticeably smaller. The wide tail lamps with curves, just like the headlamps, are part of the disguise and aren’t representative of the final design. However, we are positive that the production version will also have slender wrap-around LED clusters.
Volkswagen equipped the passenger ID. Buzz concept with a two-part panoramic sunroof that can let in plenty of natural light into the cabin. However the ID. Buzz Cargo concept used a solar panel roof that can increase the driving range by 9.3 miles (estimate). We don’t see that feature on the test mule, but the company may offer the photovoltaic system as an option when it launches the model. Another major difference on the Cargo version was rear-wing doors, but it looks like the company has reverted to the passenger version’s tailgate.
The spy shot below shows the ID. Buzz’s thin turn indicators in the rear cluster. Moreover, we also see a cut-out for the charging port on the right-side rear fender. However, it’s placed too low, and so, maybe it’s part of the disguise.
The production VW ID. Buzz interior (which you can see on Motor1) looks quite similar to the VW ID.4. With an Open Space theme, the cabin is airy and light, with a lounge-like atmosphere. The interior looks clean and simple but quite modern and upmarket for a people mover.
The compact steering wheel has a flattish center cap and touch-sensitive controls. On the left of the driver is a control panel housing the light and vision functions, followed by a round AC vent. A floating touchscreen panel resides in the middle of the dashboard, most likely measuring 12 inches diagonally for AVN. An inclined surface below the central display has sliders to adjust the audio volume and temperature. Finally, right behind the steering sits a compact digital instrument cluster along with a rocker switch to select the drive modes and activate the parking brake.
CarBuzz has published some interior spy pictures of the production ID. Buzz with the displays turned on. The steering wheel, digital instrument cluster, and climate control panel appear to be the same as those of the ID.4. The infotainment system looks similar to the ID.4’s Discover Pro 10-inch and Discover Max 12-inch units, but a closer look reveals a completely rectangular shape even at the bottom. So, while the infotainment systems could be the same, the housing could be different, more in line with the van’s exterior design.
Augmented Reality Head-Up Display, Play & Pause stainless steel pedals, ambient lighting with 30 or more colors, wireless smartphone charging pad, and front seats with lumbar support, twelve or more electric adjustment options, a memory function, and a massage function are some of the other key features we expect in the production ID. Buzz.
Video Source: YouTube/Autogefuhl
YouTube channel Autogefuhl’s presenter Thomas Majchrzak has sat in a VW ID. Buzz AD prototype, sharing his first impressions in a video. The German auto expert notes that the electric van gives a very spacious feeling on the driver’s seat. The short overhangs (and the cab-forward design) allow more interior length for the front seats. Majchrzak, 186 cm tall (6’1″), says that the headroom is “way more than enough.”
The VW ID. Buzz will be Volkswagen Group’s first autonomous vehicle. At the company’s New Auto strategy event in July 2021, CEO Dr. Herbert Diess talked about profiting from mobility and transport as a service. He said:
Fully autonomous will be an integral part of our business model in 2030. Robo-taxi services require four different layers of activity. A booking platform to match demand and supply, holding the customer data, and managing the payments. This platform can be highly profitable. The operation of the fleet, a service business which we are testing with our MOIA brand in Hamburg. The autonomous vehicle – we will start with the ID. Buzz AD. And then the virtual driver, the most complex software system the world has seen so far, in fact, a worldwide active neural network which continuously improves its driving capabilities. Also potentially very profitable.Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen Group New Auto strategy)
Christian Senger, Head of R&D MaaS/TaaS, Volkswagen Group, confirmed at the event that the VW ID. Buzz AD will feature LiDAR:
LiDAR will be integrated in our first fully autonomous vehicle – the upcoming all-electric ID. Buzz AD, which will be used for our 2025 pilot service.Christian Senger, Head of R&D MaaS/TaaS, Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen Group New Auto strategy)
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, MOIA (a mobility company of Volkswagen Group), and Argo AI will deploy the VW ID. Buzz in an autonomous ride-pooling system in Hamburg, Germany, by 2025, with the ultimate goal of scaling it internationally. Argo AI was going to start mapping the streets of the test area in Q4 2021, where it manually drives the test vehicles throughout the city to create 3D maps. The initial test area is East of the Alster river, including parts of Winterhude, Uhlenhorst, and Hohenfelde.
Once the initial testing and development phase is over, all three companies will conduct test drives with and without passengers to ensure that it is safe for a public launch in 2025. Right now, prototype testing is undergoing at a test track near Munich airport. Soon, the scope of prototype testing will expand to public roads in Munich. Argo AI will use the learnings from the German project for the U.S. market.
Dr. Diess has said that Volkswagen aims to make “the world’s best driver” with this project, as per an Autocar report. Volkswagen will launch private cars with autonomous driving eventually. The low-riding model it is developing under the Trinity project will be one of them, offering Level 3 autonomous driving at launch in 2026 and Level 4 autonomous driving from around 2030. The feedback and data it gathers from the ID. Buzz with autonomous driving may become useful during the development of the Trinity project EV.
Christian Senger shared highlights about the VW ID. Buzz’s different configurations in his presentation of the autonomous version.
Senger said that the ID. Buzz “will be a truly iconic and also highly versatile product.” Then, he shared revealed teasers (above) of the different seating layouts of its passenger versions and talked about them briefly.
It (ID. Buzz) will support EU-focused ride pooling for multiple customers sharing a ride at an even more attractive price and with the additional benefit of less inner-city traffic congestion. The ID. Buzz will provide safe access from one side and each seat will be individually accessible with a separate information screen for each passenger the more US-focused ride-hailing variant will provide a comfortable space for our customers traveling alone or in small groups of family and friends.Christian Senger, Head of R&D MaaS/TaaS, Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen Group New Auto strategy)
Senger talked about the commercial version, which could be a big volume driver in Europe. Moreover, he shared a teaser of a future commercial version’s interior that would be autonomous.
For our goods transportation solutions, the autonomous ID. Buzz Cargo provides the right base for many use cases, eliminating the requirement for a human driver and making parcel delivery even more productive.Christian Senger, Head of R&D MaaS/TaaS, Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen Group New Auto strategy)
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is evaluating various additional applications for the ID. Buzz apart from those confirmed at the New Auto strategy event in July 2021. At the ITS World Congress 2021 held in October 2021, the company suggested it could make an ID. Buzz ‘BLCK’ autonomous business shuttle that provides executive seating for four passengers. It could offer an ID. Buzz autonomous ambulance as well. You can watch these and other digitally imagined versions in the embed below:
Video Source: YouTube/Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge
The production VW ID. Buzz will likely ride on the extended MEB-XL platform, featuring a wheelbase of around 3,300 mm. Like the concept version, it should have an air suspension at the rear axle and electronically controlled dampers for maximum comfort. The lengthy wheelbase can lead to a huge turning circle, but the production version should have a steerable rear axle like the concept, which had a turning circle of less than 11 meters. For the production model, Auto Express claims a smaller, 10-meter turning circle.
Volkswagen may offer the ID. Buzz in single-motor RWD and dual-motor AWD configurations, with battery packs as large as 111 kWh. The battery pack would be part of the floor, reinforcing the vehicle’s structure and lowering its center of gravity.
Inferring the spec sheet of the concept ID. Buzz (incl. ID. Buzz Cargo), it’s possible to equip the van with up to two motors and 83 kWh and 111 kWh battery packs. Volkswagen also talked about a 48 kWh battery pack when it unveiled the Cargo concept, saying that it is enough “if the transporter covers fairly normal distances in the city on a daily and weekly basis.” However, don’t expect that smallest option, if available, to come stateside.
The electric van’s maximum power could range between 150 kW (201 hp) and 275 kW (369 hp). The biggest battery pack may deliver a range of between 325 and 350 miles (WLTP). In addition, Volkswagen may offer a solar roof option to extend the daily range by around 9 miles in sunny conditions. As always, expect official EPA estimates to come out lower than the WLTP ratings.
Volkswagen’s current MEB platform models have a 400-volt charging system and support DC charging at up to 150 kW. If anything, there’s only room to grow in this aspect for Volkswagen, as competing automakers like Hyundai and Kia are offer DC charging at over 200 kW in their EVs with the more advanced, 800-volt charging systems here. For instance, users can charge at 220 kW in the Ioniq 5 and 240 kW in the EV6, reducing wait times at the charging station.
The VW ID. Buzz’s production will take place at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle’s Hannover plant in Germany. Hannover currently manufactures the T6.1 and the all-new Multivan, and it’s undergoing remodeling to prepare for the ID. Buzz production, which will begin this year, most likely in the second half.
Hannover would entirely change with the ID. Buzz. Launched next year, we are entering the BEV world. The most interesting German premium car, the Artemis, will be built in Hannover as well. In addition, we are expanding our body manufacturing for a new model of Bentley. With the MOIA shuttles and the ID. Buzz AD, this site will be spearheading autonomous driving. Hannover will be a technology driver for the entire group.Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group (Supervisory Board meeting on December 9, 2021)
Speaking to The Detroit Bureau in September 2021, Johan de Nysschen, COO, Volkswagen Group of America, revealed that production VW ID. Buzz will roll out of the Volkswagen plant in Puebla, Mexico as well. The U.S. and Canada should get their ID. Buzz shipments from this factory.
On January 6, 2022, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess confirmed on Twitter that the VW ID. Buzz will premiere on March 9, 2022. Sales will begin later this year in Europe, and in late-2023 in the U.S market.
Well this is something that lets my heart beat much faster, but this is something we’ll talk about in the beginning of next year, it’s the ID. Buzz, its an addition to our ID Family. It’s part of our strategy Accelerate, accelerating the way to mobility, the battery electric mobility, the way to zero.Klaus Zellmer, Board Member for Sales, Marketing and After Sales at Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, at the ID.5 premiere on November 3, 2021.
Reservations open in Norway & Sweden
Norway could be among the first countries where ID. Buzz goes on sale. You’ll be surprised to know that Volkswagen is already accepting reservations for the upcoming electric van’s Cargo version in the country. Both individuals and companies can reserve their ID. Buzz Cargo electric van today on butikk.vw.no. Reserving now will give customers priority when sales begin later this year, Volkswagen says on the website.
Swedish customers can also pre-book the ID. Buzz, and both passenger and Cargo versions are available to reserve at online.volkswagen.se. The pre-bookings cost nothing and they are cancellable at any time. Volkswagen expects to start delivering the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo in Sweden this fall.
VW ID. Buzz U.S. release date
In the U.S., deliveries of the ID. Buzz will commence next year. In March 2021, Prof. Carsten Intra, CEO, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, confirmed when the VW Bus will return to America.
The ID. Buzz, beginning in 2023, will be returning to the North American market, and we also see major interest there right now.Prof. Carsten Intra, CEO, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (Annual Media Conference 2021)
Dustin Krause, Director of E-Mobility, Volkswagen of America, recently indicated that the ID. Buzz will go on sale in the U.S. in 2023, but he suggested that a delay that turns the calendar page to 2024 is possible. In an interview with electrek, Dustin reaffirmed that the “7-8-seat transporter” will be the next VW EV launch in the country but said that we’ll see that happen “in the late 2023 to 2024 range.” He assured that tall people like him (6’3″) will be able to sit in the rear seats, as the seats ahead will be more toward the front of the vehicle than in SUVs.
VW ID.California campervan
In a press announcement on December 9, 2021, Volkswagen Group confirmed a new electric vehicle derivative called VW ID. California. In all likeliness, it was referring to a campervan version. An ID. Buzz campervan was expected sooner or later, and now we almost have a confirmation. The ID. California would be the pure electric equivalent of the California campervan that employs an internal combustion engine. The latter could cease to exist by the end of the decade.
The ID. Buzz will join the T6 and the all-new Multivan (T7) as Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle’s third van. Speaking about the upcoming all-electric van at the new Multivan’s world premiere, Prof. Intra said:
As the third Multivan, as of 2022, the ID. Buzz will nicely round out our van portfolio. It will become fully electric, and soon, fully autonomous icon from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. And with that, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will now define such issues as autonomous driving, new digitally mobility transport solutions, become the leader here, and also shape the new mobility, and we’ll also continue to thrill our customers.Prof. Carsten Intra, CEO, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (2021 VW Multivan world premiere)
Volkswagen Group’s American ambitions in line with the Biden plan
U.S. President Joe Biden wants to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 in the country, zero-emissions vehicles. Volkswagen Group is in a strong position to achieve the target, as is likely to speed up the launch of its new EVs in the United States.
We are ready to bring a wide range of highly attractive EVs tailored to the U.S. market, and participate over-proportionally at a time when everybody has to start from scratch. The ID.4 had a flying start, perfectly in time for Biden’s push towards e-mobility.Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen Group New Auto strategy)
The VW ID. Buzz is a big deal for Volkswagen Group in the U.S. market, where it faced a major setback following the dieselgate scandal in 2015 and is trying to rebuild its reputation.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is evolving more and more into a lifestyle brand, offering the range of famous California vehicles and soon launching our most emotional electric car so far – the ID. Buzz. It will significantly contribute to enhancing the appeal of the Volkswagen brand, reloading it with emotions and love, particularly in the United States where the coming home after 30 years will boost our EV campaign in the market and bring back the emotional touch with all the memories of from the 70s.Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen Group New Auto strategy)
Volkswagen Group could launch several niche models in the coming years to intensify customer interest in its EVs. After the New Auto strategy announcement in July 2021, Dr. Diess said that the company needs more emotional products, as per a report from Automotive News. Cars like the VW ID. Buzz really adds something to the brand and helps it stand out from the competition. The company expects to increase its market share in the U.S. to 10% by the end of the decade. Dr. Diess thinks that the modern-day VW microbus would be popular in the country.
VW ID. Buzz FAQs
What is the VW ID. Buzz release date?
Following the premiere on March 9, the ID. Buzz will go on sale in Europe this fall, and in the U.S. in late-2023.
Which VW ID. Buzz versions will be available?
The VW ID. Buzz will be available in passenger, cargo, ride-pooling, and campervan (ID. California) versions.
Which models will be VW ID. Buzz alternatives?
The VW ID. Buzz will likely compete with the Peugeot e-Traveller, Citroen e-SpaceTourer, and Opel Vivaro e-Life.
Featured Image Source: David/Instagram