The Volkswagen microbus is making a comeback and we couldn’t be more excited.
Volkswagen said the bus will enter production and hit dealerships in 2022. It won’t resemble the classic hippiemobiles of years past, as most apparent by its all-electric drivetrain. Still, it’s great to see the bus make a comeback.
Details are still scarce, but here’s what we do know:
The microbus was but a distant memory until Volkswagen unveiled a new concept at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. It was great to see, but there was no word on whether it would actually go up for grabs.
But now it's official! Volkswagen confirmed that the bus will enter production at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey, California. We can expect it to hit dealerships in 2022.
'The Microbus has long been part of the California lifestyle. Now we're bringing it back by reinventing it as an electric vehicle,' Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess said in a statement.
Details on Volkswagen's new microbus, called the I.D. Buzz are still scarce. But we know it will be powered by an all-electric drivetrain.
Volkswagen said the production version will have level 3 autonomous capabilities. That means the bus can handle complex driving tasks like changing lanes on a highway, but a driver still needs to be on alert.
For reference, Tesla Autopilot is said to fall between Level 2 and Level 3 autonomy.
'Along with a minibus version, we'll also be offering an I.D. BUZZ CARGO variant for zero-emissions delivery of goods,' Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Eckhard Scholz said in a statement.
Volkswagen hasn't confirmed any other features, but we can see what it has in mind by looking at the concept.
The Volkswagen concept was based on the company's Modular Electric Driving Kit (or MEB) that will be exclusive to Volkswagen vehicles. The concept unveiled at Detroit was said to boast a range of 420km, but Volkswagen hasn't said whether we can expect that range in the production version.
The concept was powered by two electric motors with 369 hp. Volkswagen also said the concept could accelerate from 0-100km/h in 5 seconds and reach a top speed of 160km/h.
The concept came with a heads-up display and a large center console that can be physically removed from the vehicle and used as a tablet.
From a design perspective, Volkswagen said at the Detroit Auto Show that it purposely stepped away from the microbus' retro roots to create something with a smooth and integrated exterior.
The concept's interior was extremely spacious at 194.6 inches long and 77.8 inches wide. The seats could move on a rail system attached to the wood floors, opening up space for a fold out table for people in the back.
The new microbus is part of Volkswagen's goal to release 30 electric or hybrid vehicle models by 2025, an aim made in response to the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Volkswagen has said it will launch its 'electric offensive' in 2020.
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