Expected arrival date: 2022.
Volkswagen is going all-out with its upcoming lineup of I.D. branded all-electric vehicles, and the latest piece of evidence is the I.D. Buzz Cargo Concept. Making its official debut here at the 2018 LA Auto Show, the I.D. Buzz Cargo is exactly what its name describes, a cargo van. Of course, it’s not just any panel cargo van concept, but one with a maximum 340-mile range and capable of fully autonomous driving.
Based on VW’s MEB platform, the I.D. Buzz Cargo is the sibling to the I.D. Buzz concept that debuted at Detroit in January 2017. VW further claims a production version of this latest concept could arrive in Europe as early as 2022. But for now, it’s purely a concept though much of its technology is already quite familiar. For starters, it has a range of 200 to 340 miles depending on the size of the lithium-ion battery pack, located in the floor.
A 48 kWh unit is recommended for city driving while a 111 kWh unit is for greater distances. The concept has a total of 201 hp from its 150 kW electric motor and a single-speed transmission, which sends power to the rear wheels. An all-wheel drive system is also possible. Top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph. VW claims the 111 kWh battery pack can be charged to an 80 percent capacity in only 30 minutes via a fast-charging unit.
What’s more, engineers also designed the concept to be capable of inductive charging, which require the vehicle to be parked over a charging plate while parked. The exterior is similar to that of the I.D. Buzz except, of course, the panels in place of side glass windows.
However, the Buzz Cargo has shorter front overhangs and a rear overhang stretched by four inches, and rides on a set of 20-inch wheels. It also takes styling inspiration from the original Transporter van as well. Examples include the “V” up front. But instead of the original’s round headlights, the Cargo has interactive LED systems which not only illuminate the road, but can also communicate with pedestrians. Total payload capacity is around 1,760 pounds.
Other differences from the I.D. Buzz include a new solar roof, wide-opening rear doors and a new rear bumper. That solar roof generates so much energy that it can extend the vehicle’s range by up to 9.3 miles per day. Also note there is not a driver’s side sliding door, but the front and single sliding door open electronically.
The vehicle can even recognize authorized drivers via a digital key that can be sent from a smartphone. Interior cargo space is optimized via a shelving system. The axles have also been shifted outwards because no space is required up front for an engine. This creates up to 7 cubic feet of extra space. Instead of a pair of single seats in the front, there’s a driver’s seat and a double bench-seat on the front passenger side. The middle seat can also be folded down to create workplace. The driver’s seat can also be turned 15 degrees to the right.
While driving, all main controls are located on the steering wheel and all other vital information is projected in 3D on a heads-up display. Cameras also replace rear view mirrors. When in autonomous driving mode, it’s possible for the vehicle to accept, schedule and even process orders from the driver’s workplace.
Even order-related stock checks are possible thanks to the Safety Check function, which tallies any unsecured tools or missing parts before deliveries begin. Anything removed from the vehicle is automatically registered into the system. Perhaps it’s best to think of the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Concept as a mobile workshop as well as an autonomous, all-electric transporter. Who knows? This could be the future of delivery fans.