The Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept reportedly has been approved for production and will mark the return of the Microbus to Volkswagen’s lineup.
News of the I.D. Buzz’s green light for production comes via Volkswagen board member Herbert Diess, who spoke to the U.K. publication Auto Express. “Emotional cars are very important for the [Volkswagen] brand,” he said, adding that along with cars like today’s Beetle, “[Volkswagen] will also have the Microbus that we showed, which we have recently decided we will build.”
The new Microbus is anticipated to carry the torch lit by the I.D. Buzz concept that made its debut in January at the 2017 Detroit auto show. This includes the concept’s all-electric drivetrain as well as its use of Volkswagen’s MEB modular electric-vehicle architecture. Thanks to the model’s large footprint, Volkswagen should be able to fit a big enough battery pack underneath its floor to deliver an all-electric range of more than 200 miles on the EPA cycle. The I.D. Buzz concept boasted a 373-mile range on a single charge, but that was using calculations based on the notoriously optimistic European driving cycle.
Regardless, the new-age electric Microbus is all but guaranteed to make its way to our shores when production commences sometime before the middle of next decade. Thank Volkswagen’s settlement with the EPA on diesel emissions, which requires the automaker to make a multibillion-dollar investment in zero-emission vehicles, infrastructure, and promotion.
Of course, our market’s nostalgia for the original Microbus and propensity for purchasing big people-carrying vehicles certainly makes an additional business case for selling the new Microbus here.
How much Volkswagen will charge for the new Microbus when it finally goes on sale remains up in the air. It wouldn’t surprise us if Volkswagen were to take a Tesla-like approach and offer the new Microbus with multiple battery-pack options to help drive down the retro van’s starting price.