Volkswagen has teased a 21st-century reboot of the iconic "Microbus" for years, but the German automaker has finally announced its intention to put the I.D. Buzz concept vehicle into production. But don't head to your dealer just yet; this fully electric minivan isn't expected to hit showrooms until 2022.
The initial concept, introduced at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, revealed a futuristic design that referenced the past as much as it looked toward the future. On the outside, the parallels to the original Microbus are unmistakable, with a boxy, slab-sided body and gigantic window openings. LED exterior lighting and a driving position behind the front axle are obvious signs of modernity, but nobody will mistake this nostalgic people mover for anything else.
Inside, the I.D. Buzz is anything but retro. Some futuristic elements (such as the birchwood floors and swiveling front- and second-row seats) likely won't to make it to the final production model, but there are touches that hint at Volkswagen's hopes for how the I.D. Buzz will be used by consumers. A steering wheel that fully retreats into the dash (another unlikely addition) highlights promised Level 3 autonomy capabilities. In a nod to the original's camper-friendly reputation, the second- and third-row seats can be folded to form a flat surface, perfect for a quick nap or overnight comfort. The central touchscreen tablet and speakers can be removed from the vehicle for when you want to bring tunes to the fire pit.
No new details have been announced regarding the powertrain since the concept's debut in Detroit. Volkswagen initially estimated that the 111-kWh battery (located entirely under the passenger compartment to preserve cargo space) would develop 369 horsepower, allowing the I.D. Buzz to rocket from zero to 60 mph in about 5 seconds. Maximum range is claimed to be 270 miles.
The I.D. Buzz is expected to be the second vehicle in Volkswagen's planned lineup of all-electric cars, following a four-door compact vehicle.