By on March 26, 2021

VW Microbus I.D. Buzz Concept

Remember the all-electric Microbus successor Volkswagen was chirping about a few years ago? If you don’t, you can be forgiven. Despite the model receiving loads of press after the automaker acknowledged it would indeed be coming to North America, reports on its progress started becoming incredibly rare by 2019. With #VanLife trending inside the United States, VW would be an absolute fool not to start offering something trendy to fit the bill and the horribly named I.D. Buzz seems an ideal candidate. However, it feels as though the company has forgotten our market while it preps the model for Europe.

There’s reportedly no reason to worry. Volkswagen has confirmed that the model will be showing up on our shores in 2023 after it’s made a splash across the pond. But there will be a few stipulations. 

The Buzz is supposed to show up in Europe in a multitude of styles, including stripped-down commercial variants. However, Volkswagen commercial vehicle chief Carsten Intra recently confirmed with Car & Driver that the van will only show up here as the long-wheelbase variant. While understandable, considering the U.S. and Canadian preference for larger vehicles, not selling commercial models that could be more easily modified into conversion vans feels like a mistake.

Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, custom vans were all the rage in the United States. Economic uncertainty had convinced many to transform their vehicles into a distinctive mobile living space and there was a sense of needing to hit the road and see what’s out there in the midst of a cultural malaise that set in after America finally came off its post-war high. We seem to be laying the groundwork for a repeat event, with many young adults becoming suddenly interested in the idea of being able to put everything they need into a van so they can relocate at a moment’s notice or temporarily live off the grid when urban life becomes too much.

While this could fizzle out overnight, any manufacturer that fails to jump on the trend (should it take off) will probably regret it. Besides, Volkswagen is in an enviable position of soon being able to furnish an all-electric van in addition to its internal-combustion equivalents. Your author has long hoped the German automaker would sell its Transporter here and believes the lack of a US-spec California camper van is criminal. But the I.D. Buzz (please rename it) will likely work for many who don’t need to get quite so far out into the wilderness as others.

Details on what exactly we’re getting remain scant. Base model vans are supposed to rear-wheel-drive with about 200 horsepower. Though VW does intend on offering an all-wheel-drive version somewhere around 300 hp. We’re mainly concerned with the batter, however, as Volkswagen has run into repeated bad luck with suppliers and produced cars offering less-than-impressive ranges. Fortunately, the Buzz’s flat floor is supposed to make equipping oversized packs quite simple and the automaker has suggested the model’s power pack would come in a few flavors.

Expect not to hear much more on the van’s progress for the rest of 2021 and then an explosion of information ahead of its 2022 launch in Europe.

I.D. Buzz Concept Volkswagen Microbus

[Images: Volkswagen]

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24 Comments on “VW Microbus Successor Scheduled for 2024 American Launch...”

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Why not call it the VW e-bus. Simple name and everyone will associate it with the old VW bus. I.D. Buzz is a stupid name and many will ask who makes it. VW e-bus is simple and everyone will know its a VW. Is VW ashamed of their legendary bus that they won’t call it by what it was known as?

    • 0 avatar

      It doesn’t seem to capture the charm of the original … Looks kind of like a robot replica of your grandma … not quite the same thing. Still, looks pretty useful. Could be a nice vehicle.

  • avatar

    I learned to drive in a 1978 VW bus with a fire-breathing 80 hp air-cooled flat four. The gas pedal was either “on” or “off.” Getting on a freeway was usually terrifying.

    200 hp worth of electrical propulsion would be a big improvement.

  • avatar

    Electric only will make it a flop.

    I mean, do you want to get “off the grid” in a vehicle that requires you to connect to the grid?

    • 0 avatar

      With those wheels, it’s not going very far off-grid. Also, as any seasoned long-distance EV traveler knows, campgrounds with their RV NEMA 14-50 outlets are perfect for a portable level 2 charger when there are no other options. If you find yourself in need of a charge in the middle of nowhere, look for a campground.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m really on the fence and ‘the grid’ is the limiting factor.

      I’d love to replace my GMT-800 generation Suburban, but we go to the back-country. I could hit up a campground every day or two, I guess. That just leaves towing as the big hurdle. Can I take 4 dirt bikes, 6 souls, and enough supplies for tent camping for a long weekend?

      And what about those road trips? I think anything with more than 1 or 2 gas stops now becomes a flight instead of a drive.

      The other 350 days of the year, this is a WAY better choice.

  • avatar

    Too late. By that time all hippies will be dead. They waited too long. Киа Теллюрайд is way cooler for the cool aid generation.

  • avatar

    Presenting this vehicle to the TTAC audience is like offering watermelon to a cat.

    • 0 avatar

      I like it! I’m just wish EVs were going in the direction of hydrogen rather than lithium.

      • 0 avatar

        “I like it! I’m just wish EVs were going in the direction of hydrogen rather than lithium.”

        Hydrogen vehicles are rapidly losing and advantages they have over EVs as battery technology progresses. Even Toyota has given up on them and has BEVs on the way. Some hydrogen issues are never mentioned. One issue is the recovery time of stations. Once the pressure is depleted by a few refuelings, they have to repressurize and that can take longer than any EV recharge. Those 10k psi tanks have to be periodically replaced. Would you want to be in a tunnel or basement garage with an improperly maintained hydrogen vehicle? No maintenance on the safety system and an aging tank.

        The range of a Toyota Mirai is 402 miles. You can now buy EVs with that range and soon, maybe sometime in 2022, we’ll have 500+ mile EVs on the road.

        • 0 avatar

          >Hydrogen vehicles are rapidly losing and advantages they have over EVs as battery technology progresses

          One huge advantage hydrogen vehicles have over EVs is not requiring the environmental impact of mining for materials used to create the batteries.

          • 0 avatar

            Oh the humanity!

          • 0 avatar

            “environmental impact of mining for materials used to create the batteries.”

            They’re solving those issues too. They’ve eliminated cobalt in some batteries and Sodium-ion batteries are starting to enter mass production and are mostly for stationary storage uses now. They only have 2/3rds the density of state-of-the-art lithium batteries, but that still puts them at a density better than original Nissan leaf batteries and close to the original cells in the Model 3. I think the technology will improve to replace lithium-ion. Also, hydrogen cars are still equipped with a lithium-ion battery.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I wonder if VW will offer an electronic chirping sound on this bus to make a truly retro VW bus.

  • avatar

    VW has been teasing the world with “New Buses” for nearly 20 years. They all look pretty much like this and none of them ever go into production.

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • avatar

    I think I’d go with an EV from just about any other manufacturer other than VW, no matter how cool it might otherwise be. There’s just no freaking way.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would trust Toyota and Honda more than the Germans on EVs.

  • avatar

    Your comments on the non-import of a conversion-ready version of this van are spot on. Criminally stupid.

  • avatar

    > not selling commercial models that could be more easily modified into conversion vans feels like a mistake.

    Then petition your government to get rid of the ridiculous Chicken Tax.

  • avatar

    >But there will be a few stipulations.

    Translation: Bring LOTS of cash.

  • avatar

    When Cadillac is reduced to selling handbags and coffee, why not VW selling cheese?

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