Autonomous Car

Hooray For Hippies! Volkswagen Confirms A New Microbus

And the all-electric, retro goodness ID Buzz Concept is the basis.

What we’ve long suspected would happen finally has. Speaking with Auto Express, Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess has confirmed the German automaker will proceed with plans to re-launch its iconic Microbus, based on the ID Buzz Concept. Only this time it’ll be part of VW’s upcoming ID range of all-electric vehicles. "Emotional cars are very important for the brand," stated Diess. "We are selling loads of Beetles still, particularly in the US markets. But we will also have the Microbus that we showed, which we have recently decided we will build."

We were on hand last January at the Detroit Auto Show to check out the concept in the flesh and, in all honestly, it looks both nostalgic and futuristic. We dig it. It’ll be built on the new MEB platform, which stands for Modular Electric Drive Kit. The concept was more than just a shell; it had a 111 kWh battery that’s capable of being charged to 80 percent of its capacity in just 30 minutes. With a wheelbase of 129.9 inches, the ID Buzz is quite large inside and the battery, as expected, is floor-mounted for better center-of-gravity and weight distribution. Volkswagen also claims the ID Buzz is the world’s first fully autonomous multi-purpose vehicle.

That funky-looking steering wheel can retract and merge into the instrument panel when in autonomous mode. VW is also launching its own ride-sharing company, MOIA, in 2020 and the production-spec ID Buzz will undoubtedly play a key role.

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