Volkswagen has announced that it will finally bring the iconic Microbus back to showrooms — but that the car won't get here before 2022 ... and that it will actually be a full electric vehicle when it arrives. The company plans to release the new van, based on the I.D. Buzz concept vehicle and on the upcoming new Modular Electric Drive platform that will form the basis of all of VW's new electric vehicles.
The first vehicle to arrive will be the original I.D. concept, but the one that is slated to arrive in North America will be the I.D. Crozz, an SUV version, according to VW. That one is likely to arrive about 2020, but the one generating the most excitement is the I.D. Buzz, a modern interpretation of the original VW Microbus.
The concept features a platform very similar to the old General Motors Autonomy concept from the early 2000s — a flat "skateboard" chassis that houses all of the components of the electric drive, including batteries and controls, with a "top hat" body that can be adapted to whatever the manufacturer desires, be it a small sedan, SUV or minivan-style vehicle. The I.D. Buzz will be produced in both a passenger and cargo version, according to VW, with the commercial van perfect for urban delivery, the automaker said in a statement.
The concept van features seating for eight or a cargo hold that can accommodate a much as 162.5 cubic feet of stuff when the seats are folded or removed. Due to the unique architecture of the vehicle, its electric nature and the flexibility of packaging that provides, advanced autonomous features will be available. The concept features a steering wheel that folds away and laser scanners that pop up out of the roof when autonomous mode is engaged.
No pricing or specific launch date has been announced, but the I.D. Buzz is not likely to arrive until at least 2022, says Volkswagen. The company desperately needs some buzz to try to regain momentum after the disastrous diesel emissions scandal upended both its product plans and consumer confidence around the world. It plans on doing this by investing heavily in electric vehicles, but with the first EV off of VW's new platform still more than two years away, it may be a long wait until the next Microbus gets here.