Volkswagen is ready to join the electric car revolution — and it’s doing so with a buzzy refresh of one of its most classic vehicles.
The automaker announced that it will make its I.D. Buzz electric Microbus concept a reality by 2022, giving VW fans, EV enthusiasts, and modern day hippies alike a good reason to mark their calendars. The concept was first unveiled earlier this year to much acclaim, as the confluence of old school style and next-gen tech offered a much different take on the fully-electric car in a world filled with Teslas and Chevy Bolts.
Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess acknowledged the concept’s popularity while outlining the plan to bring the Buzz to North American, European, and Chinese markets. He said VW was flooded with letters and emails from excited customers, imploring the company to “please build this car” — so that’s exactly what VW is going to do.
The production model all-wheel drive Buzz will offer drivers more than just a blast from the past. The next-gen Microbus will boast 369 hp from electric motors on each of its axles for extra handling ability.
Most importantly, the Buzz is slated for up to 300 miles of range per charge, with the capability to power up to about 80 percent of its energy capacity in 30 minutes using VW’s fast-charging system.
VW says the next-gen design will give the Buzz plenty of room for passengers and more. The batteries will be mounted in the vehicle floor, and Volkswagen says the Buzz’s compact electric drive components mean that there’s even more space inside than previously possible with gas-powered bus designs.
The Buzz will be semi-autonomous to start too, capable of Level 3 self-driving. That means the car will be able to handle some of the driving responsibilities, although a human driver is still required. Volkswagen is aiming to introduce a completely self-driving system, dubbed I.D. Pilot, by 2025, however, so future models might be be able to cruise without anyone at the wheel.
There will also be a specialized Cargo variant, which will be optimized for hauling and delivering goods for commercial clients.
This announcement is doubtlessly exciting for VW fans — but it shouldn’t come as a big surprise in the EV space. Volkswagen has another all-electric car concept, the I.D., slated for a 2020 release, and other automakers are doubling down on EVs for their future designs. Volvo, most notably, recently announced that its entire lineup will be electrified starting in 2019.
We’ll see even more electric cars on the road over the next few years, but it’ll be hard to top the VW Buzz in terms of looks and classic hippie vibes. Have a chill time counting down the days till its release in 2022.