Volkswagen is FINALLY putting a retro Microbus into production!

Categories: Mobility

"Emotional cars are very important for the brand," Diess told Auto Express at the launch of the new VW Polo. "We are selling loads of Beetles still, particularly in US markets. But we will also have the Microbus that we showed, which we have recently decided we will build."

Earlier this year, it was reported that Diess was championing the I.D. Buzz heavily within VW, and aimed to have it in production by 2022. Diess didn't offer any more detail to Auto Express, so it's unclear when exactly we'll see the I.D. Buzz hit the market.

The I.D. Buzz rides on VW's new Modular Electric Drive (MEB) platform, which will underpin a host of upcoming all-electric cars from the German brand. The first car to ride on this platform, the Golf-sized I.D. hatchback, is expected to reach production in 2020.

The MEB platform is ideal for creating a modern version of the original Type 2. In this platform, the batteries and electric motors are installed in the floor, freeing up lots of space for passengers and cargo. Keeping all the drivetrain components in the floor will also help the I.D. Buzz meet modern crash safety standards without the need to abandon its iconic flat face.

In concept form, the I.D. Buzz promised 369 hp from electric motors at the front and rear axle — like an all-wheel drive Tesla — and 270-miles of electric range. The concept was also fully self-driving, but who knows if those capabilities will be ready for production in 2022.

The return of the Microbus has been a long time coming, and fans of the original are no doubt excited by the possibility of a new model. It's also a smart call from VW, which needs some way to change its image following its diesel-emissions scandal.

Of course, the Beetle didn't last forever, and neither did the Bus. The most recent van that VW sold in the US is theRoutan, which was a Town & Country with a new body. Abroad,VW's vans are staid and boring, nothing about them is reminiscent of the Bus, even though VW has presented Bus concepts through the years to show that they still know what made them famous.

This is one of those concepts, but a concept that also has a chance of making it to production in the next decade.

Dubbed the I.D. Buzz, this is an electric, autonomous reincarnation of the bus that made VW into a darling of the generation that loved Pink Floyd, hallucinogens, and the environment. It's like a bionic version of the classic bus.

At least that's how it looks from the outside. It's like someone from the future described the old bus to a friendly drawing robot that had never seen the original.

This one utilizes the new MEB platform, which will underpin VW's electric offerings going forward. VW is very proud of this, saying that it will be the platform to remake the company as a leader in electric cars. In this application, it's all-wheel drive and has a total system output of 369 horsepower. That's good for a range of 270 miles in the US, a 5 second run to 60, and a limited top speed of 99 mph. VW also says that it should be able to equip it with a rear-wheel drive setup good for 268 horsepower. Of course, there'd be less range with that version.

The big deal here, of course, is the autonomous features of the bus which makes it more of a communal experience. In I.D. Pilot mode, the BUZZ retracts the steering wheel and allows the driver's seat to swivel a full 180 degrees to face the other passengers. That way the driver and passengers can all talk about how terrible driving is and how great their organic snacks (they'll be eating organic snacks, right?) are. 

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