Volkswagen ID Buzz Says Goodbye Flower Power, Hello Electric Power

Volkswagen ID Buzz Says Goodbye Flower Power, Hello Electric Power

The ID Buzz van is one of the most exciting new cars to come from Volkswagen in a long time. Making its debut Wednesday, the ID Buzz does a brilliant job of straddling the line between classic nostalgia and modern design, and while the European version you see here is slightly different from what we’ll get in the US, it’s close enough to make us stoked.

We don’t get a lot of European-style vans here beyond offerings from Mercedes-Benz and Ram (the ProMaster is a rebadged Fiat), and that’s kind of a shame, because the size and proportions really are suitable for American cities. The short-wheelbase Euro version of the Buzz is approximately as wide as Volkswagen’s Atlas SUV and as long as a three-row Tiguan. We don’t have any exact dimensions, but Volkswagen confirmed the US-spec ID Buzz will have a longer wheelbase and three rows of seats, compared to the two-row model pictured here.

Volkswagen obviously had to lean into the vintage thing with the Buzz, and so it wears massive, dinner-plate-sized badges. It also has two-tone paint options and some stylized trim on the rearmost pillar, which evokes the classic VW Type 2’s engine air intake vents. The Buzz has a short front end that reads more Eurovan than Type 2, but given modern crash safety requirements, that’s hardly a surprise.

Inside, the ID Buzz strikes an excellent balance between practical and whimsical. We love touches like winking smiley face screw covers and embossed vans in the armrests. Also excellent are the bright color inserts that tie in with the exterior color. The overall layout is practical, with tons of headroom for even a super-tall driver and passenger. VW claims the optional panoramic glass roof should maintain this level of headroom, and there’s plenty of second-row room for passengers of all sizes. Interior materials seem like they’ll be hard-wearing and easy to clean, too, which is good, given the Buzz’s utilitarian mission.

From a tech standpoint, the Buzz is based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, which means that there aren’t a lot of wild departures from what we’ve seen in the production ID 4 EV. We love the abundance of USB-C ports throughout the cabin, as well as the ample storage spaces and cubbies. A 10-inch infotainment screen is standard, but a 12-inch screen will be optional, as will niceties like massaging front seats. Other odds and ends that we appreciate are the use of non-leather upholstery, environmentally friendly paint and lots of recycled materials.

Huge hauling space is a van hallmark.

Since it’s based on the MEB platform, mechanically, the ID Buzz isn’t much of a surprise, either. The electric van will launch in a single-motor configuration with 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque at the rear azle. That motor is paired with an 84-kilowatt-hour battery, of which 77 kWh are usable, which should lead to a driving range somewhere close to the ID 4’s 268 miles. The ID Buzz will be available in Europe with bidirectional charging, meaning your Buzz could power your house should you lose grid power, and that’s cool. Also, the van can DC fast charge at speeds up to 170 kWh, which should theoretically let you go from a 5% state of charge to 80% in around 30 minutes. Volkswagen is very likely going to offer a dual-motor version of the Buzz soon after launch.

Speaking of launch, Volkswagen tells us that while the European version of the ID Buzz should be on sale in a few months, we Americans will have to wait a lot longer. According to VW representatives, the current plan is to do a debut of the US model in 2023 and have it in production and at dealers in 2024. We suspect it’ll be well worth the wait.

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