What we learned driving VW’s new electric ID Buzz

a green and white ID Buzz, an orange and white ID Buzz, and a yellow and white VW ID Buzz parked underneath a dock crane
Enlarge / Volkswagen would not expose the US-spec ID Buzz for one more calendar year, but it invited us to drive the European version, which it has just launched.

Jonathan Gitlin

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK—Few autos in the time we’ve been masking the business have attracted—or sustained—quite the level of fascination as Volkswagen’s ID Excitement. Portion realization of two decades’ truly worth of notion autos and teases, portion apology for dieselgate, it really is an electric minivan with retro-neat styling, constructed on a solid electric motor vehicle platform. US-spec ID Buzzes are even now some way off—we is not going to get the Excitement right up until 2024—but in the meantime, VW asked if we’d be fascinated in attempting out the two-row, European-spec product, which is just about to go on sale the other facet of the Atlantic.

Boxy microbuses have been a section of the VW lineup considering that 1949’s first Form 2, also recognized as a T1, Kombi, or Transporter. As time went on, the buses advanced to be much more angular, and they ultimately started out to glimpse like any other minivan. But as VW uncovered with the Beetle principle in 1994, you can find a ton of affection out there for its early models.

The to start with retro-hunting revival try was a 2001 thought termed the Microbus. This was prior to people today understood you could daisy-chain enormous quantities of notebook batteries jointly to make a feasible electrical automobile, so the 2001 Microbus thought would have been driven by VW’s inside combustion engines—most typically its ubiquitous and cheaty diesels, no doubt.

VW has kept the Microbus' charm intact for the production ID Buzz.
Enlarge / VW has saved the Microbus’ appeal intact for the manufacturing ID Buzz.

Jonathan Gitlin

10 years afterwards, a less gainly strategy identified as Bulli adopted it was more compact and had standard rear doorways, only two rows of seats, and a a lot more pronounced nose and engine bay, but theoretically, it would be created as a battery EV or a conventionally run car or truck. With a 102-inch wheelbase, it was too tiny for the US current market, and 2011-era EV technologies would have meant Nissan Leaf-like specs and effectiveness.

In 2016, VW showed off a strategy minibus called BUDD-e, but the extra fascinating announcement at the time was a new modular platform for electric powered cars, similar in strategy to the modular architectures that VW Team models have employed to these kinds of excellent impact. By this time, VW’s authorized woes with regulators in the US and elsewhere were headed towards a summary, 1 where by VW remodeled itself into an EV powerhouse, paying out hefty fines and location up Electrify America alongside the way.

So what superior way to garner some positive press than by providing the group what it needs? Ars initial achieved the ID Excitement at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show it was nonetheless in notion sort, total with a maglev gnome on the dashboard. Community response was mind-boggling, and in contrast to the later ID Buggy concept, a business circumstance was clear—the ID Excitement was eco-friendly-lit for output.

The Buzz attracted plenty of attention and many questions whenever we parked.
Enlarge / The Buzz attracted lots of attention and numerous queries any time we parked.

Jonathan Gitlin

US-sure ID Buzzes will not get there until eventually 2024, as having the ID.3 and ID.4 out the manufacturing unit doorways has been a greater precedence. In actuality, we will not likely even see the US product right until future year. But the possibility to devote a day driving the shorter-wheelbase, two-row EU edition was far too tough to go up.

Beneath that eye-catching human body is a equivalent electrical powertrain to the ID.4. That suggests a 201-hp (150-kW) long term magnet synchronous motor driving the rear wheels, driven by a 77 kWh (useable, 82 kWh gross) lithium-ion battery pack mounted underneath the cabin ground and in between the axles.

The ID Buzz’s drag coefficient is a first rate .285, but there’s no having all-around its substantial frontal place, so that interprets to a WLTP variety of up to 263 miles (432 km) for context, an ID.4 has a WLTP range of 333 miles (537 km) as opposed to an EPA vary of 275 miles (443 km). In excess of the study course of a day’s driving, we averaged 3 miles/kWh (20.9 kWh/100 km), which would equate to 231 miles (372 km) on a comprehensive cost.

We didn’t examination recharging, but the ID Buzz can take a DC rapidly charge of up to 170 kW, which must return the battery to 80 p.c in 30 minutes. At 11 kW, an AC charge from to 100 per cent condition of demand can take about 7.5 several hours.

A black steering wheel is a much better idea for a family car than the white wheel we saw back in March.
Enlarge / A black steering wheel is a significantly much better idea for a loved ones car or truck than the white wheel we saw back again in March.

Jonathan Gitlin

From the driver’s seat, you have a widescreen view of the entire world, as the break up A pillars limit blind places. But you sit somewhat much again from the windshield—blame the require for impression-absorbing crash structures—and that indicates the roof can cause a little bit of a letterbox result. But it really is nonetheless a extremely effortless car or truck to location on the highway or park in spite of being somewhat extensive at 78.1 inches (1,985 mm). (The mirrors increase practically 10 inches to the width.) That width and the ID Buzz’s huge greenhouse conspire to make for a roomy cabin when you are sitting down up entrance.

Our exam Excitement ditched the initially edition’s white steering wheel and infotainment procedure for a lot more sensible black versions, but in any other case, it was significantly the same as the preproduction design we filmed in Los Angeles back again in March. I ought to take note that VW’s MIB infotainment program seems snappier than in the last car I drove, with apparent advancements in swiping involving screens and apps. Even so, the voice recognition prompt was a small also delicate, often interrupting our conversation soon after mishearing and imagining my driving associate or I had just stated its induce phrase, “hello ID.”

The three-dimensional plywood on the dash reminds me of the BMW i3 (in a great way), as does the straightforward main instrument screen and travel mode selector. And tech nerds will be gratified to see so many USB-C ports arrayed all-around the cabin—I counted at minimum eight entirely. There is a 230 V AC outlet less than the rear seats.