The VW Minibus is an iconic vehicle that just oozes beach vibes. Here in California, it is synonymous with surfing and the ’60s and has a cult following even to this day. For that reason, it was impactful that VW CEO Dr. Herbert Diess chose California as the place to announce the return of the VW Minibus. He related as much to the crowd in Pebble Beach, California:
“The Microbus has long been part of the California lifestyle. Now we’re bringing it back by reinventing it as an electric vehicle.”
Dubbed the VW I.D. BUZZ, VW shared that the new Minibus will be fully electric and will carry forward a lot of the cool design cues from the original, but into the modern age. VW believes that the form factor makes for a great platform for all sorts of bespoke options, much like the Ford Transit and similar vehicles. VW announced explicit intentions to move into the transit space with a special version called the I.D. BUZZ CARGO that will allow buyers several options for a transit-oriented version straight from dealerships.
As most major automotive manufacturers have announced plans for various levels of advanced vehicle autonomy in 2020 or 2021, the VW I.D. BUZZ would also make a great form factor for a fully autonomous local shuttle van. With VW’s focus on interpersonal communication and device-agnostic vehicle communication, it is not difficult to imagine the I.D. BUZZ as a feature packed autonomous shuttle that would suit the millennial lifestyle like a glove. VW shared that it will include Level 3 autonomous driving features, which is a step above what Tesla’s Autopilot solution offers in production today. But …
Before you get too excited about the VW I.D. BUZZ and run off to call your local dealer to put down a deposit, we have to talk dates. In all too unfortunately typical VW fashion, the VW I.D. BUZZ isn’t slated to make it to showrooms until a ghastly 2022. In electric vehicle terms, that’s an eternity away. Volvo will sell only electric versions of its vehicles by an impressive 2019 — though, in all likelihood, this only means they will be at least a hybrid, with likely options for plug-in hybrids and fully electric drivetrains on some models.
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