In its first iteration the Volkswagen Microbus was the quintessential hippiemobile. But a new concept vehicle revealed by VW at the Detroit Auto Show does a better job of maintaining the hippie ideals of sustainability than the original. The I.D. Buzz borrows a lot of design inspiration from the past (even the name “Buzz” is a play on “Bus”), but its all-electric, zero emissions engine is a nod to the future, and to the health of the planet.
While much of the talk about Volkswagen and emissions has been negative in recent months, owing to the automaker’s fudging of emissions results for its cars, the I.D. Buzz represents a move to sell one million electric vehicles by 2025 and make “electric mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen.”
Not only is the I.D. Buzz electric, it also has a self-driving mode with a driver’s seat that rotates 180 degrees to face the passengers in the rear. (Insert joke about making it easier to pass a joint around here.) The three rows of seats accomodate up to eight people, but there are all kinds of nontraditional ways to modify the interior. The traditional center console moves around and can be reconfigured as a table to create a living room-esque setup.
While the first Microbus wasn’t exactly known for its performance qualities, taking more an “I think I can! I think I can!” approach to getting around, the I.D. Buzz goes from 0-60 in five seconds and has a governed top speed of 99 miles per hour. The two electric motors put out 369 horsepower and have a range of 270 miles. The 111 kWh battery charges to 80 percent in just 30 minutes with a fast charger.
As with all concept cars, the I.D. Buzz comes with the disclaimer that it is very much not in production. But there have been rumors about Volkswagen producing a similar vehicle in the next few years, so this could be much more than a design exercise.