The VW ID.Buzz, successor to the popular VW Bulli, is to drive into the electric future with yesterday's genes. As early as 2001, VW presented the Microbus, a retro Bulli, but it never went into series production. How does the retro balancing act succeed with the ID. buzz? In any case, the Bulli fans are already excited.
There are so many expectations of the all-electric heritage of the legendary T1 bus that the axles of the ID. Buzz would have to bend. After all, the T1 was a folk hero. Starting in 1950, he drove Germany through the economic boom, showed families the big wide world and helped to build up the Federal Republic as a transporter. In the flower power era, the Bulli finally became a cult, and even many post-millennials get excited when a Bulli crosses their path.
A real challenge for the team around VW chief designer Jozef Kaban. But they say: No problem, after all, any child can draw a car like the T1 with a few lines.
Oh well. It took a little more than carelessness and a sharpened pencil to create the first e-bus. Above all, more time. In fact, more than 20 years. Because as early as 2001, VW presented their idea of a retro Bullis with the Microbus in the USA. The Microbus never went into series production. In contrast to the ID. buzz From November he will follow in his grandfather's footsteps. And the fan base is already adoring him. More than 10,000 orders have already been received, a good 45 percent of them for the cargo version. So this bet on the electric future seems to be working, especially since it's all blind orders. No customer has ever had an ID. Buzz sat let alone drove him.
We're starting today and we're madly in love. This is exactly what he had to look like. "An Icon reloaded" is what VW calls it. The grinning face of the ID. Buzz perfectly translates the charm of the old Bullis into the present day. The classic two-tone finish makes a big difference. Sure, there is no bonnet, only a service flap. The electric motor sits on the rear axle, i.e. rear-wheel drive, just like back then. Towards the rear, the ID. Buzz optically some tension. Beefy flap, continuous light band. More modern than retro. Much is due to the drag coefficient of 0.285. Great value for a box like this.
At a compact 4.71 meters, the ID. Buzz between Golf and Passat Variant. Including the exterior mirrors, however, it is almost as wide as a VW Crafter. This is immediately noticeable in the interior. Also because the largest model to date on VW's modular electrical construction kit (MEB) has a huge wheelbase of almost three meters and its batteries can be hidden in the underbody. So there is plenty of space here.
Initially, the bus only drives up as a five-seater with two sliding doors on the side, quite conventionally with two seats in the front and a rear seat bench that can be folded down and moved in parts. From the end of 2023, the e-bus will come with a longer wheelbase, take seven passengers, or three times two in a row in the business version. Other ideas have long been in the pipeline. Also from the suppliers who use the ID. Buzz will dress up like a doll's house. Half of the household already fits in the back. 1,121 to 2,205 liters of storage space. The ID Cargo swallows two Euro pallets in a row and can load 650 kilos.
We sit at the front - elevated and comfortable - behind a cockpit that looks at least partially familiar to us. We know the displays, 5.3 and 10 inches in size (optionally 12 inches), from the ID family. A SIM card is always integrated, the multimedia system is up to date and connected to all kinds of online services. A large box between the seats swallows plenty of small items, if you don't need them, you can simply unhook them with a flick of the wrist.
A lot looks rather classic here and yet there are small details that quote the model. Such as plastic parts that match the color of the vehicle. Tomasz Bachorski was responsible for the interior and calls the ID. Buzz his "most emotional project" to date. The ID Buzz drives completely vegan, i.e. leather-free. Includes steering wheel, which has a rim made of synthetic material.
Current crash standards hardly allow a flat front layout like the T1. And what to do with all the sensors? So you don't sit directly on the axle like you used to, but just behind it. Also means: plenty of airy space up to the pane, which is cleverly concealed optically. When driving, it goes so far that you actually almost think you are sitting on the wheels. The steering wheel is set a little flatter, plus a turning circle in Golf format, which is reflected in the ID. Buzz feels as mini as a scooter at the carnival. Perfect illusion.
Of course, the electric heir can do everything much better than his grandfather T1. So VW managed the steering really well. With lots of feedback and directly. And the suspension is by far the best in the ID. family. The ID Buzz has the sensitive rolling comfort that we miss with the sticky ID.4. A fine tuning for many relaxing kilometers of family holidays.
The ID. Buzz don't know anything anyway. It is deliberately not designed as an express bus. There is no sports program at all, for stable road holding without major rolling movements in curves, VW Commercial Vehicles has developed a complex four-link rear axle together with colleagues in Wolfsburg. After all, in the second half of 2023, an all-wheel drive version with more than 220 kW/300 hp and 450 Newton meters is to follow, which can then take 1800 kilos on the hook.
Until then, the version we drive with 150 kW/204 hp will have to do. And she always does. With a manageable temperament, but far from a slow bus. After all, the ID. Buzz with 2.47 tons also weighs the fighting weight of a VW Touareg. The 82 kW/h battery is said to guarantee a range of up to 423 kilometers. In the all-wheel drive, a battery with more than 90 kWh should be used.
What tended to flop in the Beetle revival is now the ID. fold buzz. It shows the emotionality and future-oriented technology that the warmed-up Golf-based Beetle legacy never had. Unfortunately at a price that normal families can hardly afford. The buzz ticket is available from around 64,600 euros (ID. Cargo from 54,450 euros). And it is little consolation that a well-kept T1 costs at least as much today.