Volkswagen Group has announced plans to revive its popular microbus as an electric vehicle. The old microbus was among the most recognizable Volkswagens in the brand’s 1960s hippie heyday. The company made the announcement at an annual car show in Pebble Beach. The microbus has long been associated with California hippies and surfers.
Volkswagen is seeking to reignite Americans’ love affair with the microbus. The microbus is one of America’s most beloved vehicles. A recent trend on social media featured young adults promoting their road trips in old-school vans under the hashtag #vanlife.
The new vehicle was designed to be a clear throwback to the old microbus. The concept version stole the spotlight at the Detroit auto show in January. Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess said “After the presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit and Geneva, we received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car.'”
The company said it would start selling the I.D. Buzz microbus in 2022. Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess outlined a plan to bring the Buzz to North American, European, and Chinese markets. The company said it would also make a commercial van version of the vehicle called the I.D. Buzz Cargo.
VW’s North American CEO, Hinrich J. Woebcken, said that the I.D. Buzz was “the perfect balance between emotion, usability and sustainability, while also showcasing our technological leadership.” It’ll be one of many new electric models VW is set to introduce as part of its shift away from diesel engines.
The production model all-wheel drive Buzz will offer 369 HP from electric motors on each of its axles for extra handling ability and is slated for up to 300 miles of range per charge. Its batteries and electric motor will be positioned underneath the floor to give it an enormous interior. Diess said that the new model “looks like a compact commercial van on the outside, even though it offers the generous interior space of a large SUV.”
According to the company, the new microbus will get semi-autonomous capability, capable of Level 3 self-driving. That means the car can handle some driving responsibilities, but still requires a human driver. Volkswagen wants to introduce a completely self-driving system, by 2025.