VW Bets Big on a Microbus Revival with the 2024 ID. Buzz EV

For VW fans, 2024 can‘t arrive soon enough. That‘s the year the automaker‘s ID. Buzz EV van finally revives the beloved, free-spirited "Microbus" ethos for the electric era. After showcasing concept vehicles over the past half-decade, VW is ready to unleash its retro-futuristic people hauler that blends nostalgia with the latest in EV engineering.

As EV enthusiasts, should we be excited? In a word – absolutely.

Having closely followed Buzz development, I can say VW has crafted an incredibly appealing package – especially for American buyers. The ID. Buzz lengthens the iconic bus profile to seat 7, while upsizing the battery for road trip-ready 300+ mile range. An approachable $60K starting price makes this far more affordable than luxury SUVs.

Best of all, VW retains the Microbus‘ throwback vibes even while moving the powertrain firmly into the 21st century.

Let‘s explore why the ID. Buzz has analysts like myself confident this EV is headed for breakout success…

A Brief History: The VW Bus Journey to 2024

Before looking ahead, it‘s helpful to understand the legacy VW wants to channel with the ID. Buzz.

The automaker‘s very first Microbus (officially the Type 2) hit the market over 70 years ago in 1950. This boxy, multi-passenger vehicle introduced mainstream consumers to a radical new concept – an affordable, flexible van capable of comfortably shuttling groups.

Whether heading to the coast for summer vacation or gathering for festivals like Woodstock, the friendly-faced VW Bus grew ubiquitous with Sixties/Seventies counterculture. Hit songs praised its libertarian charm.

Unfortunately chicken tariffs imposed during a German-American trade war ultimately priced the Microbus out of viability in America through the late 1970s. But aficionados kept earlier models running for decades, cementing the vehicle‘s outsized legacy.

Today VW believes the ID. Buzz can electrify that spirit for a new era. The styling pays unmistakable homage to its forebear, from two-tone paint schemes to the iconic VW logo placement. Yet Buzz also future-proofs the concept with an EV powertrain, advanced driver assistance capabilities, and smart creature comforts.

ID. Buzz Model Lineup: Which Microbus Is Right for You?

VW will offer the ID. Buzz in short wheelbase (SWB), long wheelbase (LWB), and Cargo configurations globally. But North America will only receive the extended variant with three rows of seating for up to 7.

ID. Buzz Specs: Global (Europe) vs US Model

SpecificationGlobal SWB ModelUS LWB Model
Wheelbase Length119.7 in129.9 in
Seating Capacity5 Adults7 Adults
Cargo Volume (seats folded)39.6 cu ft77.9 cu ft
Battery Size82 kWh111 kWh
Max Range (Est.)263 miles342 miles
0-60 MPH Time7.7 sec (RWD) / 5.5 sec (AWD)7.5 sec
Max Charging Speed170 kW170 kW

Pay particular attention to the battery size and range. Our sources show VW plans a larger battery for US-bound models to accommodate our longer interstate journeys. 342 miles would lead other vans currently on the market while relieving range anxiety.

I expect most American families will appreciate the flexible seating over the shorter SWB variant. But fleet vehicle buyers who prioritize cargo hauling might have preferred that option too.

Hopefully VW imports it in coming years to expand the Buzz lineup. But for now, the 7-passenger LWB looks like the volume seller.

Retro Styling Meets Modern EV Efficiency

Nailing a faithful remake of such an iconic vehicle could have easily missed the mark. But VW‘s designers walk that line perfectly with the ID. Buzz exterior.

It‘s still instantly recognizable as a descendant of the Type 2 Microbus, from the two-box shape to friendly gazing headlights. Yet smoothed lines, a curved windshield, and oval LED taillights bring a sleeker finish. This reductions drag for lower energy consumption from the hefty battery stores.

Speaking of batteries, rapid charging was hardly a consideration with 1960s era VW Buses!

The ID. Buzz leapfrogs ahead here:

Its 170 kW charging capability allows replenishing 180+ miles of range in just 30 minutes. That‘s quick enough for a meal or coffee break mid-road trip.

The Buzz‘s electric motor puts out 201 horsepower – far more than the Microbus‘ feeble air-cooled engines. Engineers limit top speed to 90 mph, since outright performance takes a backseat to delivering responsive 0-60 acceleration and relaxed highway cruising.

All told, VW strikes the right balance between retro charm and EV priorities like aerodynamics, charging speeds, and practical performance targets.

An Interior Design Focused on Passenger Comfort

Moving inside, the ID. Buzz impresses with its roomy, comfortable layout. The two-box design carves out plenty of space for passengers and gear alike.

In consultants like myself who have been in and out of hundreds of vehicles, it‘s a delight to see this van prioritizing comfort. The Buzz offers generous head room, leg room and hip space even in 2nd and 3rd row seating. The flat floor makes mid-row walkthrough easy without large driveline tunnels.

Touches like an ice scraper inside the removable center console and play/pause logos on pedals show VW infusing functionality with whimsy. Ambient lighting strips and glass sunroofs enhance the interior brightness.

Yes, some reviewers knock VW‘s infotainment system as overly complex in earlier vehicles. But OTA updates should continuously refine the interface over time for Buzz owners. And built-in automated parking assistance, lane keeping tools, collision avoidance and other high tech safety gear will ease the driving experience tremendously.

ID. Buzz Interior Dimensions

Headroom (Front/Rear)TBD / 38.1 in
Legroom (Front/2nd Row/3rd Row)TBD / 36.5 in / TBD in
Cargo Volume (All Seats Folded)77.9 cu ft

With fold-flat seating and almost 80 cubic feet cargo room, the Buzz offers similar utility to popular 3-row SUVs like the VW Atlas and Toyota Highlander. That flexibility will be a key selling point for active families.

Market Outlook and Production Plans

Though North American order books aren‘t open yet, early interest looks intense for the ID. Buzz. VW opened 15,000 initial European presale slots for 2022 deliveries – and saw 90% claimed rapidly.

The automaker now rushes to invest in expanded Buzz manufacturing capacity to meet demand. Global annual production could hit 130,000 based on projections.

What does this mean for US sales forecasts once the Buzz lands in 2024? Most analysts peg VW‘s hopes around 25,000 units yearly.

At an expected entry price between $55K – $60K before tax credits, the ID. Buzz targets an appealing middle ground below luxury EVs while packing great range and space.

  • Competing electric minivans like Canoo‘s Lifestyle Vehicle won‘t begin production until 2024 as well – so the Buzz has a first mover advantage.
  • Other encroaching models like the Kia Niro EV and Nissan‘s Ariya top out at 5 seats, lacking the Buzz‘s 7-seat flexibility.

In fact, the Buzz‘s closestSegment comparables may be larger electric SUVs like the bZ4X, Ioniq 5, and of course VW‘s own ID.4. Compared to these, the ID. Buzz stands out for its retro hipness and capacious interior dimensions.

Speaking of the ID.4, VW just announced plans to begin local US assembly of the electric crossover this year. Industry scuttlebutt indicates the automaker may bring Buzz production Stateside by 2026 as well.

Shifting manufacturing next door would help VW maintain reasonable Buzz pricing in the face of currency fluctuations and shipping costs. It could also allow offering a smaller battery, lower cost RWD variant for North American shoppers who don‘t need 300+ mile ranges frequently.

Conquering Nostalgia AND the Future

In the end, VW has crafted a thoroughly unique new entry for the electric vehicle market next year.

The ID. Buzz captures hearts with its unmistakable throwback styling. Yet the modern realities of battery supplies and chip shortages means most shoppers need this van to deliver on practical factors too – range, charging speeds, and interior space holding up to 7 passengers comfortably.

Fortunately, VW appears to nail the spec sheet fundamentals even as designers carry forth the Microbus‘ soul intangibly through the ID. Buzz form. This is a vehicle equally at home cruising Hippie Highways of the past and the high-tech roads of tomorrow.

If early reception is any indication, VW has a smash hit on its hands that successfully bridges heritage with an all-electric future. For the company that taught mainstream America how to fall in love with vans in the first place, the ID. Buzz may become one of the most important new models in a generation. We can‘t wait to see these magic buses hit the streets.

ID. Buzz FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered

What is the range of the ID. Buzz set for North America? We expect at least 300 miles from the largest battery variants. EPA certification should confirm details next year.

When can I order an ID. Buzz in the US? VW has not opened US order books yet. You‘ll likely be able to reserve a 2024 model online in 2023 with a small refundable deposit.

Will the ID. Buzz have AWD options? Yes, VW is preparing AWD configurations that should reach dealerships by 2025. These add a front mounted motor for even quicker acceleration while retaining the overall friendly Buzz demeanor.

Can I buy the ID. Buzz short wheelbase variant with less range in America? Unfortunately no plans are confirmed to import the smaller SWB European model at this time. We may see it eventually or VW could launch a lower cost, lower range RWD model built domestically down the line.

Is this just a concept vehicle, or will VW actually build the Buzz for sale? This is a fully approved production model due to hit dealerships in 2024! The public response has been so hot that VW rushes to add manufacturing capacity as we speak.

Will there be a camper edition for camping and overlanding? VW confirms an ID. California Camper Buzz model is under development for 2025-2026 likely featuring a pop-top sleeper roof and other camping provisions. Start planning those national park road trips!

Hopefully this overview has you excited as both EV nerds AND VW fans for the awesome ID. Buzz to come. Let me know any other Buzz questions I can answer!

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