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Volkswagen officially unveils its ID.Buzz EV

The Microbus is back, baby! Nearly 75 years since the first Volkswagen Type 2 rolled off its assembly line and into the annals of Americana as an icon of 1960s counterculture, VW is re-releasing the emblematic vehicle — this time as a full EV for the 21st century hippy.

VW ID.Buzz interior

VW executives took to the livestreaming stage on Wednesday ahead of SXSW 2022’s kickoff to debut the ID.Buzz, which will be available as both a people mover and a cargo van (dubbed the ID.Buzz Cargo) beginning later this year. The ID.Buzz will appear in Europe first — arriving later this year — and will be available with a number of options lacking in their American-market cousins including short-wheelbase and commercial variants. There’s even a self-driving version that likely won’t be making it across the pond. The American iterations will be debuted next year, Scott Keogh, CEO of VW America promised, and are slated to arrive in 2024.

Volkswagen only had the European model to show off Wednesday, but Keogh noted that the US version would be "more stylized for the American marketplace" but has "no doubt that it will be worth the wait," while teasing a California camper edition. The US version will have a slightly longer wheelbase and offer three rows of seating the the European version's two. 

The ID.Buzz is built atop VW’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB if you say it in German), and is actually the largest model to date developed for it. MEB is the same battery platform Ford plans to use for one of its European market vehicles in 2023. The will come equipped with a 77-kWh battery pack (slightly smaller than the 82kWh pack in the ID.4, which is also MEB-based) with a 170 kw charging capacity powering a 150 kw rear motor.

The passenger model will seat five with 1.21 cubic meters (39.5 cubic feet) of cargo space while the Cargo will offer 3.9 cubic meters (137.7 cubic feet) by replacing the rear seats with a partition behind the front row. For the interior, VW designers took inspiration from the aesthetics of the Microbus, pulling style elements from the T1 generation of vehicle and matching seat cushions, dash panels and the door trim to the vehicle’s exterior paint color of which buyers will have their pick of seven solid-color options and four two-tone schemes (white + another color).

VW Buzz seats
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VW also noted during the presentation the extensive work it put into lessening environmental impacts arising from the ID.Buzz’s production. The interior upholstery is made completely animal-free — the steering wheel may be made of polyurethane, but VW executives swear that it has the same look and feel as leather. The seat covers, floor coverings and headliner are all similarly composed of recycled goods like marine plastic and old water bottles. Using these materials emits 32 percent less carbon than similar products would, according to the company. Overall, VW hopes to ​​cut its carbon emissions in Europe by 40 percent by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality as part of its Way to Zero plan by 2050.


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