Patience required for the US version
Volkswagen has threatened to bring back the Microbus, colloquially known as the the Bus-for over 20 years now. Four concept vans, a rebadged Dodge Grand Caravanand an emissions scandal later, VW finally revealed the reborn Electric Bus, the 2024 Volkswagen ID Buzz. The only catch: you will have to keep waiting. You can’t buy the Euro-spec Buzz ID you see here in the US, because the US version won’t be ready until 2024. Even so, there’s plenty to get excited about.
VW Bus meets ID Buzz
Understanding yesterday’s Microbus goes a long way to understanding today’s 2024 Volkswagen ID Buzz. In short, right next to the Beetle, the Volkswagen Bus…variously referred to as Type 2, Vanagon and Eurovan by VW over its 53 years in America, but known to most as the VW Bus, is an automotive icon. Early Type 2s helped shape America’s post-war hippie movement, while later Vanagons and Eurovans became iconic as weekenders, campers and even off-roaders. In other words, Volkswagen defined “van life” long before it was an Instagram hashtag.
The original Volkswagen bus was little more than a boxy body on a beetle based platform powered by the Bug’s iconic air-cooled flat-four. The new ID Buzz follows a similar philosophy. Beneath its futuristic yet iconic boxy body is a platform, motor and battery that would be familiar to anyone. Owner of a Volkswagen ID4.
What feeds it?
Volkswagen’s new MEB electric vehicle platform is what makes ID Buzz possible. Modern crash standards being what they are, the platform allows Volkswagen to capture the famous forward-control proportions of the original bus while meeting today’s safety regulations.
The ID Buzz, shown here in standard-wheelbase (SWB) form — the US will only get a long-wheelbase version to reveal — is backed by the same 82 kWh gross (77 kWh net) battery pack ) than the SUV ID4. It also features the same powertrain as the ID4: a rear-mounted permanent magnet motor rated at 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque. It’s a safe bet that the long-wheelbase (LWB) variant will have a larger battery and could be offered with more power thanks to dual-motor all-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive versions of the ID4 add an efficient AC induction motor to the front axle, increasing total power to 295 hp and 339 lb-ft.
Regardless of the battery, VW says the batteries in the ID Buzz do not use cobalt, an expensive rare metal frequently linked to unethical mining practices in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also promises to take back batteries at the end of their automotive life to prepare them for a second use.
How far can this bus travel on a single charge?
Volkswagen isn’t talking about range right now, but based on the ID Buzz’s specs, its 280-mile EPA rating, and its dashboard showing a 76% charge with 222 miles remaining, we think 270 miles is a safe estimate for the electric Bus. Regardless of what the 2024 Volkswagen ID Buzz nets on the EPA cycle, VW says it will feature a peak charge rate of 170 kW, good for charging from 5 to 80 percent in about 30 minutes. It also has a built-in 11kW AC charger, ensuring the ID Buzz will also keep Level 2 charges as short as possible.
Stylize the bus
More than its underpinnings, the styling of the 2024 VW ID Buzz is the star of the show. Although there are 13 windows less than famous type 2 sambathe new ID Buzz seamlessly combines classic VW Bus design elements with a more modern ID design language.
About as wide as a Volkswagen Atlas and the length of a Volkswagen Tiguan in SWB form (we suspect the LWB ID Buzz America gets in 2024 will be about 15 inches longer, making it about nearly the size of a Mercedes-Benz Metris), the ID Buzz will be available worldwide as a passenger van and cargo van.
Whatever its purpose, the ID Buzz is unmistakably the modern successor to the original Bus. Up front, vintage styling cues like the oversized VW logo – a feature that wouldn’t be out of place on a modern American pickup – and optional two-tone paintwork pair perfectly with an LED light bar and accents. contemporary like the Buzz’s headlights and diamond-patterned grille. Along the ID Buzz’s flanks, you’ll notice its massive greenhouse, twin power sliding doors, and distinctive three strakes on its E-pillars that tie into the design of the van’s grille and echo the air intakes of the Second generation type. 2 D-pillars. The ID Buzz will feature 18-inch wheels as standard, but the minivan we were lucky enough to see featured 21-inch wheels as an option. In the back, the ID Buzz Van features a tailgate (split-opening barn doors are optional on the ID Buzz Cargo), a full-width LED taillight and another massive VW logo with “ID Buzz” spelled out in below.
Those who value hippie chic in the 2024 Volkswagen ID Buzz will likely be happy to find animal-free upholstery and heavy use of recycled plastic, but disappointed to find a fairly contemporary cabin. But ID Buzz is probably all the better for it.
The loaded ID Buzz Volkswagen brought to the States for us to dig into was sleek but simplistic. Faux wood is tastefully paired with white plastics and, in our example, yellow trim to match the pickup’s two-tone exterior. The instrument panel features a 10.0-inch digital instrument cluster and a large 12.0-inch infotainment system screen (a 10.0-inch infotainment screen is standard).
Storage is ample. The dashboard includes a wireless phone charger to the right of the steering wheel and a large compartment in front of the passenger, while the doors offer more storage space and a USB-C socket on the passenger side. Two cupholders protrude from below the power sliding door switches in the center of the dash, while between the driver and passenger is a removable center console inspired by the ID Buzz concept. This center console features dividers that double as a bottle opener and ice scraper, plus cup holders and storage drawers.
The SWB ID Buzz will be available in two, three, five and six passenger configurations, thanks to a front bench seat (standard on the ID Buzz Cargo and optional on the ID Buzz Van). The American LWB model will come as a seven-seater with a 2/3/2 layout.
Although we haven’t seen the Americanized ID Buzz yet, VW promises it will offer similar levels of space as the standard wheelbase’s huge loadspace. The two-row ID Buzz offers 60/40 rear seats that slide fore and aft, allowing up to 39.6 cubic feet of cargo, more than the three-row Chrysler Pacifica (32.3 cubic feet) , Mercedes Metris Passenger (37.4 cubic feet), and Ford Transit Connect Wagon (24.9 cubic feet). The ID Buzz Cargo offers 136 cubic feet of cargo space, which is less than the long-wheelbase Metris and Transit Connect vans, but more than the short-wheelbase Transit Connect. VW says it will offer a tiered storage shelf on the ID Buzz, allowing for a flat load floor with the rear seats folded down, as well as covered storage space under the shelf.
Although we haven’t had a chance to drive the ID Buzz yet, the driving position is reminiscent of an SUV, both imposing and comfortable. Visibility seems to be excellent, although the ID Buzz’s “hood” is much farther from the driver than the styling of the forward control would otherwise suggest. Probably a smart design consideration as the knees don’t make the best crash structures.
How much does a VW ID Buzz cost and when can I buy one?
Volkswagen promises to announce pricing for the ID Buzz overseas in May, just as the van goes on sale in Europe. We probably won’t get a better idea of how much the 2024 ID Buzz will cost in the US until the LWB version arrives in 2023. Our best guess is that the 2024 Volkswagen ID Buzz LWB will start around $45,000 and will top just north of $60,000 for higher spec versions. Volkswagen plans to open ID Buzz’s reservation books to US buyers sometime in 2023. Until then, more patience. The wait is coming to an end.
Specifications of the Volkswagen ID Buzz 2024 (standard wheelbase)
|STARTING PRICE||$45,000 to $60,000 (estimate)|
|ARRANGEMENT||Rear engine, RWD, 2-6 pass, 3-4 door van|
|MOTOR||201 hp/229 lb-ft permanent magnet type electric|
|UNLOADED WEIGHT||5300 lbs (MT east)|
|L x W x H||185.5 x 78.1 x 76.3 inches|
|0-60MPH||8.5 sec (MT East)|
|EPA FUEL ECONOMY||Not rated yet|
|EPA RANGE (COMB)||270 miles (MT East)|
|ON SALE||Fall 2024|