Great news, road trippers: the VW bus is back, and the new iteration should be sleeker, more efficient, and better for the environment than its iconic predecessor. Oh, yeah—and it’ll be electric.
Volkswagen dropped the proverbial mic earlier last weekend when it announced plans to produce and sell an official version of an award-winning concept electric vehicle that debuted and turned heads at the Detroit Auto Show last January. The new bus will be called the I.D. Buzz. It is expected to be available by 2022.
Mark Gillies, Volkswagen’s senior manager of product and technology communications, said the new battery-powered vehicle will be very quiet and should have a range of more than 250 miles with the ability to recharge to 80 percent of battery capacity within 30 miles.
He added that the Buzz will be fully autonomous by 2025, which would revolutionize road trips.
“The old Microbus was a great vehicle, but compared to today’s machinery, it is relatively slow, relatively fuel inefficient, and lacks the technology and amenities that current buyers consider vital,” he told AFAR in an exclusive interview this week.
To demonstrate his points, Gillies noted that while the old bus had around 50 horsepower, the new one will have more than 350 hp. He said the new vehicle will offer modern safety and driver assistance systems, and the Buzz will have features such as adaptive cruise control with autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot detection. Finally, Gillies noted that while the old VW bus was space-efficient for its day, the Buzz will offer more passenger and cargo volume, as well as modern infotainment and connectivity, allowing travelers to connect personal devices seamlessly.
A teaser video of the new vehicle provides a quick glimpse of what the new bus will look like. A plug in place of a gas tank is definitely one of the standout features. Another feature that’s sure to generate bazillions of Instagram pix over the next five years: The vehicle’s front headlights flicker subtly and look like eyes.
Technically, the Buzz is the second electric vehicle concept that Volkswagen has revealed for production—an original concept was slated to enter production around 2019 as a 2020 model. Another iteration, dubbed the I.D. Crozz, looks and feels more like an electric SUV. All three vehicles utilize Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive (MED) kit, a group of components and chassis parts specifically engineered for Volkswagen in electric vehicles.
Although no price point was available as of press time, the new Buzz will be available in the United States, Europe, and China. Stay tuned for details and plan your next big road trip accordingly.