The long-wheelbase version of the retro-inspired EV offers more space and versatility for passengers and cargo. I have a confession to make: I love buses. Not the smelly, noisy ones that clog up city streets but the cool, vintage ones that evoke a sense of adventure and freedom. The ones that make you want to pack up your bags and hit the road with your friends or family, exploring new places and having fun along the way.
That's why I was so excited when Volkswagen announced the ID. Buzz the electric reincarnation of the iconic VW Microbus that debuted in 1950 and became a symbol of the hippie movement in the 1960s. The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is part of VW's ambitious plan to launch a whole family of EVs based on its modular MEB platform, which also underpins the ID.4 crossover and the ID.3 hatchback (not sold in the U.S.).
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz was first shown as a concept in 2017, and since then we've been eagerly awaiting its arrival in production form. VW has confirmed that it will launch the ID. Buzz in North America and Europe in 2024, but there's a twist: there will be two versions of the electric bus, one with a standard wheelbase and one with a long wheelbase.
The long-wheelbase version, which had its world premiere this week at an event in Germany, is called the Volkswagen ID. Buzz L (for long, obviously). It measures 205.5 inches long, 77.8 inches wide, and 77.4 inches high, making it 11.8 inches longer than the standard ID. Buzz. The extra length translates into more space and versatility for passengers and cargo.
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz L can seat up to eight people in three rows of seats, or up to six people with a second-row bench that can be folded down or removed entirely. The third row can also be folded down or taken out, creating a flat load floor that can accommodate up to 106 cubic feet of cargo (with both rows removed). That's more than twice as much as the standard ID. Buzz, which can seat up to seven people or carry up to 48 cubic feet of cargo.
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz L also offers more options for customization and personalization than the standard ID. Buzz. Customers can choose from different exterior colors, roof designs, wheel sizes, interior materials, and ambient lighting themes. There are also different equipment packages available, such as the Travel package that adds a panoramic glass roof, a head-up display, a rearview camera mirror, and a premium sound system; or the Active package that adds roof rails, a tow hitch, an air suspension, and an off-road mode.
But what about the driving experience? Well, the ID. Buzz L promises to deliver plenty of performance and range for an electric bus. It will be powered by two electric motors, one on each axle, providing all-wheel drive and a combined output of 295 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. VW claims that it will accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 99 mph.
The ID. Buzz L will also have a large battery pack with a capacity of 111 kWh (net), which VW estimates will provide a range of up to 300 miles on the WLTP cycle (the EPA estimate will likely be lower). The battery can be recharged from five to 80 percent in about half an hour using a fast-charging station with up to 125 kW of power.
One of the most intriguing features of the ID. Buzz L is its ID.Pilot system, which will enable Level 4 autonomous driving in certain situations. This means that the vehicle can take over the steering, braking, and acceleration functions without human intervention as long as the driver remains alert and ready to intervene if needed. The ID.Pilot system will use a variety of sensors, cameras, and radars to monitor the traffic and road conditions and will communicate with the driver through a digital cockpit that can change its layout depending on the driving mode.
The ID.Pilot system will also allow the driver to swivel their seat around and face the rear passengers, creating a more social and relaxed atmosphere inside the ID. Buzz L. This feature will only be available in Europe at launch, as it requires regulatory approval in the U.S. However, VW says that it is working with the authorities to bring it to the American market as soon as possible.
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz L is not just a nostalgic tribute to the past but a forward-looking vision of the future. It combines the charm and character of the original VW Microbus with the technology and efficiency of a modern EV. It offers more space and flexibility for passengers and cargo than any other electric vehicle on the market. And it introduces a new level of autonomy and connectivity that will make driving safer and more enjoyable.
I can't wait to get behind the wheel of the ID. Buzz L and take it for a spin. Or better yet, let it take me for a spin. I think it will be the perfect vehicle for road trips, camping trips, family outings, or just cruising around town. It will be the electric bus we've been waiting for.
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz L will go on sale in Europe in late 2024, followed by North America in early 2025. VW has not announced the pricing yet, but we expect it to start around $50,000 for the base model and go up from there, depending on the options and packages. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to its launch date.