Volkswagen’s people mover reborn
Photos by Volkswagen A.G.
Global car giant Volkswagen is set to redefine future mobility as it has taken the wraps off the I.D. Buzz. Presented to the global media at the recently concluded North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the rebirth of Volkswagen’s “microbus” for the new age is an electric concept that provides us with a renewed vision for future mobility.
“The I.D. BUZZ stands for the new Volkswagen: modern, positive, emotional, future-orientated. By 2025, we want to sell one million electric cars per year, making e-mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen. The new e-Golf2 already offers 50 percent more electric range. From 2020 onwards we will then launch our I.D. family, a new generation of fully electric, fully connected cars. It will be affordable for millions, not just to millionaires,” explains Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management.
The I.D. BUZZ concept vehicle represents how the electric mobility of tomorrow will be – an all-wheel drive spatial marvel with electric motors on front and rear axles, a fully automated driving mode (I.D. Pilot) and a new generation of indicators and controls. “The I.D. BUZZ is the next generation MPV. It is based on the new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) and provides comfort and loads of space for long journeys. Its electric range as per the NEDC is up to 600 kilometres”, explains Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Brand for the Development Division. The I.D. BUZZ takes on new energy inductively or from a charging station. At a charging power of 150 kW, it takes around 30 minutes to charge up to 80 per cent.
The new I.D. BUZZ is the first MPV with which that is possible: all that is needed is a gentle push on the steering wheel and it instantly moves back, melts into the cockpit and switches the I.D. BUZZ from manual into the fully automated ‘I.D. Pilot’ mode (envisaged as of 2025). The driver’s seat can also be turned around and face the passengers at the back. Laser scanners, ultrasound sensors, radar sensors, area-view cameras and a front camera scan the surrounding area, with other traffic data being received via the Cloud.
In the I.D. BUZZ the conventional cockpit no longer exists. The MPV instead projects the key information by means of an AR (augmented reality) Head-up Display into the driver’s field of vision – in 3D, in virtual format onto the road. Features such as the infotainment and air-conditioning functions are operated via a removable tablet. The main controls for driving, meanwhile, are located on the steering wheel. Its inner section is not fitted with spokes and buttons, but rather has a kind of touchpad with capacitive fields, thus turning the traditional steering wheel into a multi-functional touch-sensitive steering wheel.
The use of space in the concept car, which has up to eight seats, is better than in any other electric vehicle. The multi-variable seating and interactive integration of the I.D. BUZZ makes a great deal possible. Thanks to the extended MEB XL platform, this 4,942 mm long, 1,976 mm wide and 1,963 mm high concept vehicle provides what for its class are extraordinary spatial dimensions inside as well.
However, the I.D. BUZZ is not just a giant in terms of space: by virtue of its design it also becomes one of the world’s most comfortable cars. At 3,300 mm, it has an extremely long wheelbase. Located in between in the vehicle floor is the battery. It lowers the centre of gravity and ensures perfect weight distribution. The suspension of the I.D. BUZZ, with its electronically regulated shock absorbers, additionally ensures top-class comfort. The zero emission all-wheel drive system with output power of 275 kW / 374 PS (electric motors front and rear each delivering 150 kW) is the perfect match for the car’s dynamic character. The version of the I.D. BUZZ presented in Detroit reaches 100 km/h in 5 seconds; its top speed is restricted to 160 km/h.