It has been over five years since Volkswagen teased the I.D. Buzz EV van. Alot has changed since then both in the industry as well as the state of affairs in regards to recent current events. But the wait is finally over with Volkswagen formally unveiling the production version of the all-electric van. There are some cool things buried in the Buzz’s skin as well as a few caveats (we’ll touch on those shortly) but here’s what makes the Buzz so special.
Cheery Retro Styling Makes I.D. Buzz A Playful Future Minded EV
Volkswagen claimed that they wanted to channel some of the basic DNA that made the 1960’s era VW Bus a hit with buyers. While several decades of design and technology enhancements have made the resemblance a bit hard to see at first glance, there are some hints of its flower-powered ancestor in its basic shape. The boxy shape features a sleek set of head and taillights and the two-tone paint jobs accent the strong character lines that split key sections of the van up. The production version is less rounded versus the concept but we suspect that was due to practical reasons including safety mandates.
The cab-forward shape also allows the van to make full use of the wheelbase and it’s very reminiscent of 1990s era Chryslers which pushed their dimensions right to the corners in an attempt to enhance the interior room. It will be interesting to see how the Buzz does in delivering on this promise, especially in the face of key rivals from Hyundai and Toyota.
Interior Doubles Down On Futurism
With the exterior embracing a digitized version of the 1960s in its design, it’s good to see that the interior has many of the traits that have made modern VW offerings stand out in recent years. All models get a 10-inch version of Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit instrumentation as well as a 10-inch infotainment screen though the latter can be swapped out for a larger 12-inch unit. Other goodies are borrowed from the ID.4 with the digital indicator system for various functions being carried over here to the Buzz. A two-tone interior is available, and the cargo version features a partition wall that separates occupants from the cargo that they are hauling.
This focus on the future will undoubtedly allow the Buzz to have a unique presence and look for the vibrant colors to stand out in the minds of younger buyers especially those that prioritize style over substance.
Performance Options For I.D. Buzz Will Grow With Time
Volkswagen claims that the I.D. Buzz will eventually have a wide range of electrified performance options, but for now the only powertrain setup that they revealed was a lone rear-mounted electric motor which is mounted to the rear-wheel-drive platform. This is the same setup as the I.D.4 and allows the Buzz to produce 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque. The 82-kWh battery pack is also lifted from the I.D.4 so look for the charge times to be very similar to that model.
Volkswagen is promising that the battery options will expand with time, and the MEB platform that underpins it is also shared with other I.D. models which means that there’s the potential for higher levels of performance including a dual-motor setup that would allow the Buzz to produce 302 hp and have standard a;-wheel drive.
When Can I Buy One?
Remember the caveats that we mentioned earlier? They become noticeable when you look at the launch timeline that Volkswagen has laid out for the I.D. Buzz. European buyers will be able to choose between a passenger-oriented version and the cargo model with those versions making it to dealerships there later this year. Eventually, VW will unveil a bigger three-row version that will have seating for up to seven passengers.
This variant is the one that’s slated for the U.S. but buyers here will be in for a long wait with Volkswagen revealing that when all is said and done, the model will not make it here to our shores until 2024 with the model appearing as a very early 2025 model. That’s a long wait and that will give rivals here in this country time to not only update potential models that would challenge the Buzz but also leapfrog it in terms of technology and other features.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.