There are a lot of cool electric cars on the market, and more coming every day, but there is no electric car that generates as much buzz as the appropriately named ID. Buzz from Volkswagen. Every time we write about it, we get tons of feedback from readers who say they can’t wait to purchase one. (I am one of them!)
Why the furor? Mechanically, the ID. Buzz is little different from the ID.3, ID.4, or ID.5. All are based on the company’s MEB electric vehicle chassis. Then again, the original VW Microbus was little different than the Volkswagen Beetle of its day. Same anemic boxer 4 cylinder engine in the rear, same silly swing arm suspension, same lack of an effective heater.
Yet the Microbus was more than just a vehicle. It became the symbol of the Woodstock Generation and the distillation of the Age of Aquarius. When you were driving one, the Moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. It represented freedom, bliss, and counterculture serendipity mixed with a strong dose of anti-establishment thinking.
Sales is all about the transfer of emotion and there are few vehicles in history with as much emotional content as the Microbus. Volkswagen has captured that emotion perfectly in the promotional photo above. Somehow, that sense of excitement has transferred to subsequent generations. It’s not only Baby Boomers who crave the new ID. Buzz. The vehicle seems to have just as strong an appeal to younger drivers as well. The one question everyone wants an answer to is, “When can I buy one?”
The ID. Buzz will be manufactured at Volkswagen’s commercial vehicles factory in Hannover, Germany. Carsten Intra, head of Volkswagen’s commercial vehicle division, told the press this week deliveries in Europe will begin in 2022. For the Continent, there will be short- and long-wheel base versions, passenger and panel van configurations, one or two electric motors, and a choice of three battery sizes.
According to Car and Driver, Intra indicated the ID. Buzz won’t find its way to North America until 2023, where it will be sold as a 2024 model. It will be available only as a long wheelbase passenger vehicle with a single 200 horsepower motor powering the rear wheels as the standard configuration. A dual-motor version with a total of 300 horsepower will also be available. Prices have yet to be determined.
As we reported last month, Volkswagen expects the ID. Buzz to be its first production autonomous vehicle, but only in Europe, and not until several years from now. No self-driving versions are expected to find their way to US showrooms.
Enthusiasm for the ID. Buzz has not diminished one iota, although its gestation period has been longer than many had hoped for. Truth to tell, it is functionally little different than a minivan, a class of vehicles that is largely in disfavor with US drivers.
But the ID. Buzz has none of the “soccer mom” vibe that keeps people from buying a minivan. If it ever gets to America, it should find plenty of people who are eager to own one, assuming the price of admission is not too high. After all, one of the things about the original Microbus that made it so popular was its affordability. When we know more, you’ll know more.
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