Why Volkswagen keeps making microbus throwbacks it never intends to sell

http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/10/14215476/volkswagen-microbus-concept-id-buzz-emissions-scandal

Volkswagen unveiled another new microbus concept in Detroit — a total blast from the past that probably won’t have much of a future.

 

The I.D. Buzz is an all-electric, fully autonomous vehicle meant to harken back to Volkswagen’s glory days of peace signs, bellbottoms, and flower power. If the company actually builds it, the Buzz wouldn’t be the fastest electric vehicle out there, with a top speed of only 99 miles per hour. Nor would it be the most powerful or longest ranging EV, with a 200-kilowatt electric motor and a charging range of only 270 miles.

What it does have, though, is an ability to make a direct appeal to two important demographic groups: nostalgic baby boomers who want to relive Woodstock and retro-obsessed millennials who are addicted to technology. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy, but the question remains: will Volkswagen ever build this thing?

Volkswagen claims the microbus could make it into production by 2025, but that seems overly optimistic. The German automaker released a different minivan concept last year, the BUDD-e. And neither of these cars appear to have much basis in reality. But that doesn’t make them any less fun to obsess over, especially with futuristic features like mood lighting, retractable steering wheels, and driver seats that can swivel 180 degrees.

Another sweet add-on is Volkswagen’s ID pass, a cloud-based user profile that stores specific settings for both drivers and passengers. That means every time you get in, the car will automatically adjust everything to your liking: seat position, air conditioning, music. You name it.

While the exterior of the I.D. Buzz is playful and inviting, the interior leaves something to be desired. The swivel seats are cool, but the controls are totally bizarre and not entirely intuitive. The foot pedals feature dopey “play” and “pause” symbols, and the dash is almost entirely non-existent. The center console is a bit too much like those arm rests on airplanes that hide foldable tray tables. And there are so many USB ports in this thing it borders on overkill.

But it’s important not to let all these cool concepts distract from Volkswagen’s larger problems with its ongoing diesel emissions scandal. The company has a history of using genius marketing strategies to distract from unsavory business practices or toxic affiliations. Lest we forget, VW was the vehicle of choice for both Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson. Just saying.

“The microbus design inspiration is absolutely a blatant feel good effort,” said Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst at Navigant Research, “but I think there is a place for minivans in the future mobility ecosystem.”

Certainly, VW’s entire electrification strategy is partly driven by a desire to move past the diesel emissions scandal in which the company finds itself currently embroiled. Just before the Detroit Auto Show kicked off, a senior executive at the company was arrested by the FBI on conspiracy to defraud customers in the US. And just today, VW announced a preliminary $4.3 billion settlement with the US government. The carmaker says it will continue to work with law enforcement as the investigation into the cheating scandal plays out.

The I.D. Buzz isn’t the only concept built on top of VW’s custom-built Modularer Elektrifizierungsbaukasten, aka Modular Electric Drive kit. At the Paris Auto Show last year, VW unveiled its new all-electric, fully autonomous concept car, all-electric, autonomous the I.D., a sleek silver-and-blue vehicle meant to harken back to the iconic Beetle and Golf.

Volkswagen will always have a place in America’s cultural identity. Vehicles like the Bug and the microbus are icons, and it’s really cool to see the company continue to play around with these classic models as it looks further into the future.

 

This modular camper van is one for the dogs (and their owners)

http://newatlas.com/dogscamper-modular-camper-van/47987/

At camp with Dogscamper

 

Dogscamper is the latest camper van brand from Martin Hemp, whose work also includes the versatile Volkswagen and Mercedes van creations of Terra Camper, and the delightfully retro VW Flow Camper. The cornerstone of Dogscamper’s design is what it calls the Vari-Modular System, a series of grid walls that mount to the floor rails inside the van, allowing the owner to create kennels of different sizes and layouts as needed.

The Dogscamper's ramp helps dogs get in and out of the van

The system is designed to save on weight and bulk when compared to a permanent dog room or portable crate, while offering a more comfortable, adjustable space for one or more dogs to relax in during the ride and at camp. The Vari-Modular dog area closes securely and keeps dogs safely in place during the ride. Interior and exterior doors can be opened up at camp, allowing dogs to roam in and out of the vehicle and retire for a nap when desired.

Some quality bonding time in the Dogscamper

The dog area mounts neatly below the folding bed, so that humans also have a comfortable place to spend the night. The pop-up roof offers a second bed, providing sleeping space for four people.

Other helpful features for dog owners include a ramp that lets Fido or Fifi board and deboard through the liftgate with ease, a dog food/accessory case that hangs on the back next to the spare tire, and a wall mount/hook system that provides a place to hang up leashes, as well as other items, like coats and lanterns.

Beyond its dog-friendly features, the Dogscamper is a smartly laid out camper van that relies on Terra Camper’s expertise in modular furniture design. It features an indoor/outdoor driver-side kitchen area with removable camping stove and slide-out refrigerator. The fridge can be accessed from inside or out thanks to a pull-out that rides right through the sliding side door. The sink includes a sprayer hose to double as an outdoor shower, another feature that promises to be quite handy for dog owners.

The Dogscamper's sink doubles as a spray cleaner for the dog

The kitchen equipment is secured to the floor rails, allowing it to be easily removed, and the van can then ride as an open cargo van or as a passenger van with seating for up to six, making it a truly versatile work and play horse. Owners can also add other removable modules, such as a toilet. The modules feature an aluminum and composite construction for a combination of light weight and durability.

Dogscamper offers its conversions for both the Volkswagen T6 Kombi and the Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer. Volkswagen versions can be ordered in short- or long-wheel base and front-wheel or 4Motion all-wheel drive with engines ranging between 101 and 177 hp. The Vito version comes on the long-wheelbase model only and can be configured in front-, rear- or all-wheel drive with engines between 87 and 188 hp.

Dogscamper doesn’t have a price list on its website, but a number of German motorhome publications list the starting price as €49,900 (US$52,000).

North Americans aren’t out of luck with this camper van, the way they often are with cool European-designed vans. California-based Terra Camper North America just launched its Mercedes Metris (American market Vito) camper vans and is offering the Dogscamper as an optional equipment upgrade on the Tecamp model. The Dogscamper package starts at US$1,799 for the front and rear walls, each with a door, the ramp, and a bumper pad to prevent the ramp from scratching up the bumper. Additional kennel walls are available optionally.

The Dogscamper is available in Europe on the Mercedes Vito (pictured) and VW T6 and in...

The Tecamp conversion with pop-up roof with bed, folding cabin bed, floor rail mounting system, indoor/outdoor kitchen, two removable seats, and accompanying cabinetry and equipment starts at $35,900. That price is for the conversion only and doesn’t include the price of the base Metris Passenger Van, so you’ll be up around $70,000 for the entire Dogscamper, possibly well over that figure if you start darkening option boxes.

Most motorhomes aren’t nearly as pet-friendly as the Dogscamper, but there are a few other man-dog camper designs out there. One of our favorite motorhomes of 2016, the NOAH Cross City Capsule, showed what a compact Japanese-designed canine-friendly camper van looks like. And if you’d like to try out a dog-friendly motorhome without committing to buying it, Germany’s 4pfoten-Mobile (4paws Mobile) rents one with a dedicated dog compartment with padded floor, anti-dribble water bowl, camera system to keep an eye on the dog during the journey, dedicated exit/entry with non-slip ramp and other dog-friendly features, not to mention plenty of amenities for the humans, too.

Gibsons releases official VW Campervan puzzle

9e47d203af76fefe01bda7f4de2c3dcfhttp://www.toynews-online.biz/news/read/gibsons-releases-official-vw-campervan-puzzle/048200

 

Gibsons has released a brand new addition to its Iconic Brands Collection, in the form of The Official VW Campervan Jigsaw.

Packaged in a mini tin replica of the classic 1960s RHD campervan, the 500 piece puzzle is a montage of the quirky campers that were a common sight during the ’50s,’ 60s and ’70s.

The puzzle features images of the iconic ‘split screen’ campervan and another with a crazy flower power pattern, with the tin offering an ideal way to store small items.

The VW Campervan jigsaw puzzle joins other branded classics from Gibsons including Marmite, The Great British Bake Off and Pringles

A VW Camper For The Child Who Has Everything

http://www.babatude.com/essentials/baby-and-childrens-toys-and-gifts/bun-van-bed-and-room.html

How much do you think this would set you back?  £800, £1500, £5,000…read on to find out the price.

Bun Van is a bed and room reinvented by CIRCU as the iconic VW camper, ideal for the little hippy adventurer in your life!

The whole bus is a hand made reproduction, with the exterior of this piece made in fibreglass with the use of chrome-plated parts and palisander wood veneers throughout give the Bun Van bed a true retro feel.  And in addition to storage compartments hidden throughout, you’ll also find a flatscreen TV, a mini bar, a sofa and of course a bed inside.

Parents will recognize the inspirations for this piece, one of the most remarkable vehicles ever produced and at the same time, one of the most iconic and magical symbols of fun and freedom!    Few other vehicles have the ability to turn heads and conjure a spirit of freedom, adventure and open roads.

Kids will also recognize another inspiration, one of the most well know characters of the Disney movie “Cars”, Fillmore, the 1960’s hippie bus. This bed is perfect to bring some fun and imagination to rooms!

Measuring 400 x 185 x 220 cm, the Bun Van bed adds a statement to your kids’ living space with impressive artwork and sophisticated furnishings.  A true and genuine piece of art, the bed pays homage to the hippie lifestyle and motoring heritage.

So how much?

Over £30,000 –  you do need to have everything…

bun-van-detail-circu-magical-furniture-01_11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VW transporter specialist drives forward expansion plans

https://www.insidermedia.com/insider/yorkshire/vw-transporter-specialist-drives-forward-expansion-plans

Image result for leighton vans rotherham

Leighton Vans, a VW transporter customisation specialist, has bought an 11,800 sq ft company headquarters and showroom in Rotherham as part of expansion plans.

Sheffield law firm Wake Smith advised on the six-figure sum purchase of the former Bradken manufacturing unit at Dodds Close on behalf of Leighton Vans’ owner, enabling the company to double its workforce and triple its sales and production space.

A £1m funding package from NatWest and Lombard Finance helped Leighton Vans finance the new premises.

The automotive business, which has become a hit with the outdoor and lifestyle community nationwide, is the brainchild of Mike Leighton who spotted a gap in the market four years ago.

“Not only do we sell, rent and lease VW transporters but we create unique, high specification vans which can be colour coded, body styled, upgraded and modified to what our client requires,” said Leighton. “We really wanted to find premises that suited our business needs, and allowed for growth.”

Paul Gibbon, director at Wake Smith’s commercial property division, added: “The business model established by Mike works extremely well and he has developed a strong customer base across the country, tapping into the popularity of outdoor sports and people wanting to enjoy the countryside.”

Leighton Vans, a spin off from Leighton’s former used car business, supports professional mountain bikers including Sheffield’s Steve Peat, Scotland’s trial cyclist Danny Macaskill and World Cup circuit rider Brendan Fairclough.

NatWest relationship manager Aaron Carter said: “Leighton Vans is a dynamic and ambitious business. It has been really rewarding to work with the management team to progress their growth plans, which are helping to create new jobs locally.”

Rebecca Schofield, partner at Knight Frank, which marketed Dodds Close, added: “This industrial warehouse unit is in an established location and ideal for Leighton Vans’ expansion needs.

“It will allow them to have a much improved base with office, showroom, customer area and workshop – all under one roof.”

Knaus gets biblical with its latest VW camper van

etwthttp://newatlas.com/knaus-vw-saint-sinner-camper/47935

The Volkswagen Transporter and modern derivatives may get most of the camper van love, but another VW van platform makes for an even roomier camper. The new second-generation Crafter will launch next month, but the first camper vans based on the latest VW have already started arriving, at least in show van form. The Saint & Sinner design study from Germany’s Knaus Tabbert combines retro flair with modern amenities, showing what the new Crafter could look like all decked out for road trips and camping holidays.

With the dawn of its latest generation, the Crafter no longer rides as a Mercedes Sprinter-based build by Daimler. Rather, VW is now doing its own manufacturing at a new plant in Poland. And Knaus makes its Crafter concept every bit as distinctly Volkswagen as the van itself.

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Just as Volkswagen did when it introduced the sixth-gen Transporter in 2015, Knaus brushes its van with a heritage-inspired red-and-white paint split inspired by the classic Transporter T1. The exterior teases its dichotomous “saint and sinner” nature with angel/devil badging.

A striking, two-tone exterior is great for trade show floors, but out on the road, it’ll be all about the interior. And though the Crafter Saint & Sinner is just a show-floor concept for now, Knaus doesn’t skimp on camping comfort.

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The interior takes care of campers’ needs with a central open bathroom with toilet, a kitchen with dual-burner stove and 90-L refrigerator, and a transverse, 4.7-ft-wide (1.44-m-wide) rear double bed. The expandable dual-seat bench in front of the bathroom combines with the extendable table and swivel driver and front passenger seats to create a dining area for four.

The interior has a “wicked-good” personality thanks to the deep red and black throughout and prominent angel/devil logos. There’s no pop-up roof, but the Crafter’s 8.5-ft (2.58-m) roof height isn’t exactly begging for an upward expansion.

An e-Crafter camper van would make a fun concept, but this one is based on the front-wheel-drive Crafter 35 powered by a 140-hp diesel four-cylinder.

The Saint & Sinner debuted as a design study last month at CMT Stuttgart, but it was also “a glimpse into the not-so-distant future of Knaus Tabbert GmbH, which will offer the modern Crafter in additional extension and model versions.” We reckon we’ll be seeing a real Knaus Crafter camper van in the near future – perhaps later this year at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon.

The VW Crafter Saint & Sinner is just a concept for now, but Knaus is offering...

In the meantime, Knaus is offering the colorful, angelically devilish Saint & Sinner conversion for the popular Fiat Ducato (pictured above) in two different floor plans. The van wears the same red-and-white paint and has an even more prominent “saint/sinner” tattoo on its side. Features and options include leather upholstery, a red, black and white interior, interior LED lighting, fixed and open bathroom options, and available front and rear lifting beds. Deliveries will begin in summer.

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Italians help VW campers get back their va-va-voom

   dbb0bb424ab2ad05fbce25fb719d68adeecc926ehttps://www.yahoo.com/news/italians-help-vw-campers-back-va-va-voom-041848747.html

 

Florence (Italy) (AFP) – How many enthusiasts does it take to restore a fleet of rust-riddled Volkswagen camper vans? Ask the Italians.

At the back of a hanger in the heart of Florence, two VW fans have dedicated their lives to restoring these iconic vans from the Swinging Sixties, importing them from South America before fixing them up and selling them on.

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Some are over 50 years old, but once they are patched up by Mauro Altamore and his mechanic Giacomo Nucci, they are expected to chug on for another half a century at least.

“With good maintenance, these vans are indestructible. We have to overhaul a good part of the mechanics, but keep the original engines,” Nucci told AFP as he showed off a van that looked like it had rolled off an assembly line, despite its age.

From Ferrari to Fiat, Italy is a car crazy country, but Nucci firmly believes there is nothing better than a VW camper.

He’s been sprucing up these classic vans for collectors for over seven years and these days boasts an increasing number of businesses and advertising companies among his customers.

Fashion companies ask for “made to measure” vans for photo shoots or catalogues, he says pointing to a row of shiny red, blue and cream coloured vans, as well as one with a slogan stamped on the side.

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Their distinctive VW hood emblems — which enjoyed a period of fame as rapper pendants thanks to the Beastie Boys — glint as new.

– A childhood passion –

Customers can be picky: one purist wants the rust on the bodywork kept, even down to craters that look like bullet holes. Another wants the original motor replaced with a Porsche engine.

Altamore, who came up with the idea for restoring the vans, says clients come not just from Italy but from all over Europe.

Inside the company’s office are dozens of ceramic models of the “Peace and Love” campers he has collected down the years.

His passion started in childhood when he used to collect models of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, whose rear engine and axles were later used in production of the camper vans.

When he was 18, he set his heart on buying one but his father refused to pay for it, denouncing the little car as a petrol guzzler.

So he got a camper instead and can now no longer remember how many of the old clappers he has bought and restored.

About a decade ago, while in Brazil working in the clothing import and export business, Altamore decided to switch his business focus to vans instead, fondly remembering his first client: “a famous biscuit manufacturer”.

He eventually dedicated himself full time to the van business with Nucci’s help.

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Restoration takes around six months and costs between 10,000 to 50,000 euros ($10,600 to $53,000), largely because picking up parts, which are out of production, is not always easy.

But these vehicles, which remain hugely popular, can often command prices which are much higher, with a 1955 model going under the hammer in Germany for around 200,000 euros ($235,000) in November 2014.

Manufactured in Germany until 1979, and in Brazil until 2013, the classic campers continue to fascinate people well beyond the “free love” hippy generation and have become a symbol of freedom.

“You turn the key and off you go,” Altamore says with a grin.

“The windshield opening says it all: it was like riding a motorbike. You would set off, stop where you want, you could even sleep inside.

“I reckon more than a few children have been born inside… and many have been conceived!”

Dear Volkswagen: Stop Showing Microbus Concepts Unless You Intend To Build One

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2017/01/17/dear-volkswagen-stop-showing-microbus-concepts-unless-youre-intent-on-building-one/#22c3acea4954

Another year, another VW Microbus concept – this time it's an EV called the I.D. Buzz and is claimed to run for as much as 270 miles on a charge. (Photo: Volkswagen)

Another year, another VW Microbus concept – this time it’s an EV called the I.D. Buzz and is claimed to run for as much as 270 miles on a charge. (Photo: Volkswagen)

It seems like whenever Volkswagen is going through a rough patch and/or has little in the way of genuinely compelling hardware to reveal (while admirable, we don’t find the new stretched Tiguan that premiered last week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to be particularly groundbreaking) they taunt brand loyalists with yet another latter-day “Microbus” concept.

VW has teased auto show-goers with latter-day iterations of its iconic Type 2 Transporter van as concept models for well over a decade, with the hype becoming so compelling at one point that Mattel even built Barbie her own version of a 2002 auto show styling exercise that at the time seemed headed to production (it had a working horn!).

An all-electric reincarnation was unveiled at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, affectionately called the BUDD-e, that – unsuccessfully to our eyes – channeled the classic Microbus look through current VW styling protocols. Otherwise, it was the usual distant-future project based on vaporware and unobtainium, with a claimed operating range of up to 373 miles on a charge.

(Photo: Volkswagen)

(Photo: Volkswagen)

This year VW rolled out yet another modern Microbus concept at the Detroit show that’s likewise both forward and backward looking. Saddled with the unfortunate hipster moniker I.D. Buzz, it’s an electrified people-mover that promises both standard and autonomous driving modes. At least this time around it does a nice job of capturing the classic rendition’s iconic look, particularly at the front- and rear-ends, and wraps it around three rows of configurable seats with a full range of high-tech amenities.

Battery range for the latest Type 2 concept is claimed to be a somewhat more realistic, though still far-reaching, 270 miles – by comparison, the just-introduced Chevrolet Bolt EV can go for an estimated 238 miles on a charge, while the Tesla Model S tops out at a 265-mile maximum with its available 90 kWh battery. The automaker says a 369-horsepower electric powertrain will enable the vehicle to reach 60 mph in about five seconds – which is impressive for any minivan with the the essential aerodynamics of a brick – though with a tepid top speed of just 99 mph.

As usual, VW brass is being coy as to on whether or not a reincarnated Microbus, electrified or otherwise, will ever roll off a global assembly line. Automotive News suggests that if the new Bus would be built it wouldn’t be until at least 2022; it’s prospects are favorable as the concept is said to be a favorite of VW brand chief Herbert Diess. Still, that leaves Barbie’s short-lived version as the only Microbus on sale in the U.S. since 1979.

At a time when Volkswagen is left battered and bloody from its continuing “Dieselgate” woes – to the extent executives are being advised to steer clear of the U.S. for fear of being arrested over the emissions cheating scandal – taking a step back to revisit its cherished past while looking forward to next-generation technology is clearly a welcome move. We expect a rendition of the classic Microbus would be a big seller among nostalgic Baby Boomers looking to recapture a piece of their lost youth, as well as younger buyers seeking the exaggerated allure of a bygone age. Look at the success Dodge is having – especially among enthusiasts of a certain age – with its throwback Charger and Challenger Hellcat muscle car models.

Sure America is hooked on SUVs again, with the coming three-row VW Atlas likely being the right vehicle for the times, but yet another boxy people-mover isn’t likely to bring traffic into showrooms as would a thoroughly modern, yet instantly recognizable modern-day Microbus, electric powered or not. Let’s just not wait until those who remember the van most fondly are no longer in a position to own something that big, or even still be able to drive for that matter.

In the meantime, a mint-in-box version of Barbie’s 2002 Microbus can be found selling on eBay for $160 and up, with well-used models going for as little as $20.

Wellhouse launches new Ford and VW campervans

https://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/motorhomes/news/wellhouse-launches-new-ford-and-vw-campervans

Wellhouse Leisure has launched a new version of its Ford Terrier 2, called the Le Tour, and a new campervan on the Volkswagen T6.

Prices for the new Ford campervan start at £34,000. The model, which is based on the Ford Tourneo Custom, has more interior space thanks to an optional (£750), removable ‘camping pod’ kitchen, which gives it the flexibility to be a people-carrier, load carrier or campervan.

It has a sliding, full-width rear seat with three seatbelts, plus full interior trim, lighting, electrics, curtains and an SCA elevating roof, with the option of a roof bed.

Wellhouse is also offering this conversion on used Ford Transit/Tourneo Custom models.

For the first time in many years, Wellhouse is also offering a limited number of Volkswagen campervans based on the new VW T6, as well as used models.

Using the traditional side kitchen layout with fresh and waste water tanks, plus SMEV hob and sink, these VW campervans will have an SCA elevating roof (with optional roof-bed), Eberspacher heating system, mains hook-up, solar panel and a sliding, three-seat rear bench seat.

Available with a choice of Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre diesel engines, with prices starting from £44,500, the first model, with an 84PS, 2.0-litre engine, is due to be ready by the end of January.

Finally, last summer’s successful return of the award-winning Wellhouse Hyundai i800 Camper, based on the i800 people carrier, has led to the appointment of four specialist dealers to make this model more available across the UK. The new dealers are

  • DSG Hyundai in Morecombe
  • Bletchley Hyundai in Milton Keynes
  • Hyundai Torbay in Devon
  • and Highland Campers in Inverness, Scotland

VW Press release – I.D. Buzz – Electric Microbus

http://media.vw.com/release/1326/

I.D. BUZZ CONCEPT MAKES ITS WORLD DEBUT AT THE NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW IN DETROIT

  • I.D Buzz ready to be charged

id_buzz_release

id_buzz_specifications

Versatile, zero-emissions, all-wheel drive vehicle is a Microbus for the future

  • All-electric driving range of up to 270 miles, comparable to gasoline engined cars
  • Maximum flexibility: I.D. electric drive system allows seating for up to eight and two luggage compartments
  • Focus on people: in the fully autonomous “I.D. Pilot” driving mode, the driver’s seat can be turned 180 degrees to face the rear
  • Traction for any terrain: electric all-wheel drive with two motors and 369 horsepower
  • Head-up display projects information via augmented reality
  • Vehicle features fully autonomous driving capability
  • Flexible center console with tablet display and Beats® Bluetooth® loudspeakers can be used outside the vehicle

Detroit, January 2017 — The era of electric mobility has begun, and Volkswagen will be shaping it with the I.D. BUZZ concept presented at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A Microbus for a new era, the electric concept forges links between the origins of the Volkswagen brand and its electrifying future. The I.D. BUZZ, like the compact I.D. presented at the Paris Motor Show, is another new Volkswagen vehicle that gives compelling design to electric mobility and reflects a transformation of the brand and its models.

Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management for the Volkswagen brand, says: “The Volkswagen brand’s big electric offensive begins in the year 2020 with a completely new vehicle architecture. That is when we will be launching an entirely new generation of fully connected, all-electric vehicles to the market. By 2025 we want to be selling one million of these vehicles annually. We are making electric mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen.”

The I.D. BUZZ zero-emissions vehicle conceptually follows the new Volkswagen brand strategy. Its claim is: “We make the future real.” Four fields of innovation form the basis for this strategy:

  • Smart Sustainability—Volkswagen is advancing the development of innovative high-volume electric car models
  • Automated Driving—Volkswagen will make cars even safer and more comfortable by means of autonomous driving
  • Intuitive Usability—Volkswagen is focusing on cars that are intuitive to operate and feature new display and control concepts
  • Connected Community—In the future, Volkswagen will interconnect humans, cars and the environment with a Volkswagen user identity

Volkswagen is showing just how multifaceted electric mobility can be in Detroit with the I.D. BUZZ concept vehicle—maximum space utilization with all-wheel drive, electric motors at the front and rear axles, a fully autonomous driving mode (“I.D. Pilot”) and a new generation of display elements and controls.

The “I.D. BUZZ” name was hardly an arbitrary choice. I.D. stands for “Identity,” “Idea,” “Individual,” “Intelligent” and “Iconic Design”. BUZZ, on the other hand, is a phonetic word play on “bus” and refers to the silent “buzzing” of the drive system.

“The I.D. BUZZ is a next-generation vehicle based on the new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), offering comfort and plenty of space,” says Dr. Frank Welsch, Volkswagen Member of the Board of Management responsible for Development. “The overall concept of the I.D. BUZZ points the way to the future. This concept vehicle is the world’s first electric multi-purpose vehicle to be equipped with a fully autonomous driving mode. It carries the feeling of freedom of the Microbus over to a completely new era of mobility.”

Thanks to its MEB underpinnings, space utilization is better in the I.D. BUZZ than in any other electric vehicle. An excursion with two families over the weekend? A gig with the band in another city? A vacation trip with bikes and boards? Driving to a business meeting with colleagues who need to prepare on the way? None of these scenarios pose a problem with the multi-variable seating layout and interactive networking of the I.D. BUZZ. Using an extended MEB-XL platform, this concept vehicle—which is 194.6 inches long, 77.8 inches wide and 77.3 inches tall—offers an extraordinarily spacious interior for its class.

The I.D. BUZZ is not only huge inside, but its technical concept makes it one of the world’s most comfortable cars. It has a silent drive system and an extremely long wheelbase of 129.9 inches. The floor-mounted battery lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity and delivers ideal weight distribution. The suspension layout—including multi-link rear suspension with integrated drive units and decoupled subframes at front and rear, as well as air suspension at the rear axle using electronically controlled dampers—delivers premium class comfort, high cornering power, and ideal acoustics.

The zero-emissions all-wheel drive system has a total output of 369 horsepower and an NEDC electric driving range of 600 kilometers (270 miles on a predicted U.S. driving cycle). One electric motor at the front axle and one at the rear each deliver a power output of 201 hp, distributed between the two axles by an “electric propshaft.” The I.D. BUZZ shown in Detroit can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 5 seconds, with a governed top speed of 99 mph.

The vehicle’s 111 kWh battery can be charged to 80 percent of its capacity within 30 minutes using the Combined Charging System (CCS) or an inductive charging interface, with a charging rate of 150 kW. As an alternative, the battery can be charged from any conventional household outlet and at charging stations. The all-wheel drive configuration is just one of several that are conceivable. Thanks to the MEB, it would be just as easy to equip the I.D. BUZZ with a rear-wheel drive setup producing up to 268 hp and a smaller 83 kWh battery, depending on the region and purpose of use.

Automated Driving
The I.D. BUZZ is the world’s first fully autonomous multi-purpose vehicle. A slight push on the steering wheel makes it retract and merge into the instrument panel, switching the I.D. BUZZ from manual control to the fully autonomous “I.D. Pilot” mode that could make it into production by 2025. In this mode, the wheel is decoupled from the steering gear via a newly developed steering column system. The ambient lighting then switches from white light (“Drive”) to mood lighting that is warm and relaxed. At the same time, the distribution of ambient lighting is extended to the rear seating area. Simultaneously, the status of the I.D. BUZZ can be seen at all times on the tablet and the augmented reality head-up display.

Now driving on its own, the zero-emissions concept has already activated its onboard laser scanners. Four of them extend from the roof in “I.D. Pilot” mode. The cleanly styled roof sensors call attention to the fully autonomous mode by indirect lighting.

The I.D. BUZZ is not only able to detect other road users with its laser sensors, but also with the assistance of ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors, side area view cameras and a front camera. Traffic data is also continually acquired and compared with the vehicle data via the cloud. Fully autonomous mode is deactivated by touching the steering wheel or by pressing the brake or accelerator pedal.

Volkswagen User-ID
I.D. knows who will be at the wheel, thanks to the Volkswagen User-ID. This is an individual profile that stores the personal seat and air conditioning settings, favorite radio stations and songs, sound system settings, exterior sound, configuration of the navigation system, type of ambient lighting and contact information for the driver’s friends and business associates. This profile can be retrieved securely via the cloud.

Consequently, the I.D. BUZZ also recognizes which person is entering the car or wants to take the steering wheel at any given time via the authorized user’s smartphone—the Digital Key. As soon as a person approaches the vehicle, the sensor surfaces for opening the door light up. If the person’s hand is very close to the surface, that individual door is opened. Using the Volkswagen User-ID and a relevant smartphone app, passengers in the vehicle can also control infotainment functions and input intermediate destinations into the navigation system. The route is shown on a tablet.

Exterior Design 
The original Microbus is a legend all over the world and forms a global community. Although the I.D. BUZZ is designed for a new era, it would fit in perfectly with its predecessors.

Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen Head of Design, says: “The I.D. BUZZ is not a retro design on 22-inch wheels; rather, we have taken the logical next step forward in development using what is in all likelihood the most successful design of its kind in the world. The entire design is extremely clean with its homogeneous surfaces and monolithic silhouette. The future and origins of Volkswagen design DNA combine here to create a new icon.”

The best example of the interplay of familiar and new elements is the front end with its characteristic ”V” and likeable ”face”—it’s clearly a Microbus, but a completely new interpretation. Oliver Stefani, Head of Volkswagen Exterior Design, says, “Instead of the round headlights used in the original model, in designing the I.D. BUZZ we opted for slender LED systems, which not only turn night into day, but also interactively communicate with other road users and pedestrians.” Similar to the compact I.D., the bumpers also integrate a matte aluminum honeycomb design, with illuminated outer sections.

Extremely short body overhangs also define the vehicle. This applies equally to the roofline with its charismatic front overhang and three stylized air vents in the rear roof pillars, a small tribute to the T1. Each detail has, however, been re-interpreted and implemented in a new context.

At the front, wrap-around ambient lighting forms a new era equivalent of chrome trim. It is actually an accent strip made of matte aluminum that is embedded in what designers call a sharp undercut. Indirect ambient lighting has been integrated into this full wraparound undercut, which also forms the ”V” of the front hood. When it is dark outside, this creates a unique light signature together with the backlit front and rear VW logos and the lighting elements in the front bumpers.

The I.D. BUZZ is also unmistakable from the rear. Here, the slender full-LED lights and large painted surfaces make up the iconic design. The tailgate extends far down into the bumper to give a low load sill height of just 23.6 inches. Thanks to its compact electric drive, the I.D. BUZZ not only offers a rear luggage compartment of between 23.3 to 162.5 cubic feet, but also a front trunk of 6.1 cubic feet. The doors and trunklids are power operated: opening the tailgate, front doors and rear sliding doors is initiated by sensors outside the vehicle. Thanks to the Digital Key, all the user needs to do is hold his or her hand over a marked area for entry.

There are clear design parallels to the I.D. shown in Paris. The front LED lights, wrap-around LED taillights, homogeneously integrated bumpers, side sills stylistically raised at the center of the door area, laser scanners on the roof and the aluminum-alloy wheel design combine to form the design insignia of Volkswagen’s future electric mobility.

There are few cars in the world that look as good in classic two-tone paint as the Microbus, which is why it was a must for the new I.D. BUZZ. The car is painted in Silver Metallic above the seam that integrates the ambient lighting and in Cyber Yellow Pearl Effect below that line. The yellow hue is also found on the sidewalls of the tires, while the 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are painted in Galvano Gray Metallic.

The I.D. BUZZ communicates with its surroundings via the LED lighting at the front end. The LED headlights interactively mimic the gestures of the human eye and thus interact with other traffic. The concept vehicle masters these light scenarios:

  • Parking. When all systems of the I.D. BUZZ are shut down it looks from the front as if its “eyes” are closed. When the I.D. BUZZ is parked, just a narrow, small LED strip is visible in the headlights.
  • Opening. When the I.D. is “awakened”, it greets its driver and passengers with a 360-degree light show. First, the Volkswagen logos light up. This is followed by the wrap-around ambient lighting. In the final phase of this light show, the I.D. BUZZ opens its “eyes.”
  • Driving. The Volkswagen logos, wrap-round ambient lighting, Daytime Running Lights and the LED headlights are always active while driving. As the car accelerates, the “eyes” adjust to the higher speed by adopting a more dynamic light signature.
  • Automated. A distinctive feature of the fully autonomous driving mode is that the laser scanners in the roof are extended and illuminated. As the car speeds up, the LED “eyes” look ahead, giving the car a sportier appearance. In addition, the “eyes” are interactive in the fully autonomous driving mode. If the I.D. BUZZ wants to turn, for instance, the LED headlights look in the direction the car is going to turn. To top it off, if the vehicle detects people at the side of the road, it looks at them. Through this interaction, the Volkswagen alerts pedestrians and cyclists to its presence.

Interior Design
“The design of the concept places people as the focus; it should appeal to them and invite them to come in,” says Klaus Bischoff. Awaiting them there is an interior that combines the world of the automobile with the atmosphere of a lounge. Tomasz Bachorski, Head of Interior Design of the Volkswagen brand, explains the next era of interior design: “From now on, we will be networking the vehicle much more intensively to make it more interactive. The interior will become a sort of family room, a mobile place where you feel at home.”

As a result, the classic cockpit no longer exists in the I.D. BUZZ. In place of traditional instruments or controls is an intuitively operated cockpit consisting of:

  • Touch-sensitive steering wheel (multifunction steering wheel with capacitive surfaces)
  • Augmented reality head-up display
  • “I.D. Box” center console (including a tablet usable outside the vehicle)

In the “I.D. Pilot” mode, the front seats can be electrically unlatched and rotated so they face the rear, after the “I.D. Box” multifunctional center console is moved rearward. The seating system is flexibly designed to be like the living space at home or a lounge area. This versatility is based on a seat rail system that is integrated in the flat floor and on adjustable and folding seats. The seatbacks of the individual second row seats can be folded to form tables. At stops, the third row can be made into a bed, enabling the I.D. BUZZ to be used for overnight voyages. When the trip is resumed, clever detail solutions make travel more pleasant, such as softly padded rear side sun visors that can be moved and are designed so that a passenger can lean on them. Individually placeable cushions also underscore the cozy atmosphere of the interior, which is flooded with light thanks to its large windows and two-part panoramic roof.

The warm interior colors are also in keeping with the lounge character. For instance, the dashpad in front of the driver and front passenger transitions from Magnet Metallic to Moon White Metallic, and the dashpad and door panel structures are illuminated by the ambient lighting as well. Stylish details include:

  • Wood floor. The floor is made of fine, Silver Birch wood. The bright color underscores the cozy character of the interior. In the rear seating area, aluminum inlays in the wood take up the honeycomb pattern of the dashpad and touch-sensitive steering wheel as well as the front bumper.
  • Door trim. The top sections of the doors are covered with sophisticated metallic leatherette. The interplay of color is underscored by the transition from the darker driver’s area to the brighter passenger zone. The designers have upgraded the lower sections of the door trim panels with a cream-colored knitted fabric throughout the rear seating area.
  • Seat fabrics. Seats are covered in an innovative knit fabric that features a graduated honeycomb pattern. The refined knitting technique used to produce the individual diamond shapes allows a light metallic background material show through. Accentuated yellow details such as piping and seat belts showcase the fresh look of the I.D. BUZZ while creating a connection between exterior and interior.

As soon as the driver’s seat is occupied, the steering wheel, which is retracted into the dashpad in parking mode, extends out, and the indicators and buttons on the steering wheel light up simultaneously. In parallel, the I.D. BUZZ activates the augmented reality head-up display and the tablet in the “I.D. Box.” The ambient lighting also greets the driver. Close the doors, buckle up, press the brake pedal and select a gear and the I.D. BUZZ is immediately ready to start. The concept car is shut off by the “P” button on the steering wheel. When finished, the steering wheel retracts flush into the cockpit panel.

The steering wheel of the I.D. BUZZ does not have any spokes. The wheel, trimmed with Nappa leather, is more of an interactive touchpad. This touch-sensitive steering wheel is a new concept, which allows the driver to operate the drive modes (P, R, N and D), turn signals and various menu functions as well as settings for the head-up display via touch-sensitive areas on its surface.

The outer region of the touchpad has a honeycomb-like light signature, as does the dashpad ahead of the driver and front passenger. Pressing on the illuminated VW logo in the middle of the touch-sensitive steering wheel initiates a switch between the “Drive” mode and “I.D. Pilot” mode; the steering wheel then retracts or extends accordingly.

The “I.D. Box” fits the character of the I.D. BUZZ perfectly. When the vehicle is being driven by someone, the I.D. Box is positioned between the front seats. In this case, the integrated tablet in the console is positioned to serve as a display and control surface for the driver and front passenger. The I.D. Box is also equipped with loudspeakers from Beats®, which are interconnected with the passengers’ smartphones and the sound system via Bluetooth®. When the driver switches to the “I.D. Pilot” mode, the entire “I.D. Box” moves towards the rear. Other console features include cupholders and a folding table. The console tablet (like the Beats speakers) is easy to unsnap and remove from the vehicle.

The Volkswagen I.D. lets the I.D. BUZZ know who the driver is. The individual vehicle settings are configured accordingly, and features such as the person’s calendar are shown on the tablet. The I.D. BUZZ also knows the driver’s friends via the Volkswagen I.D. Based on this information, the car might recommend meeting with friends or suggest activities that would fit into the day’s schedule.

In “I.D. Pilot” autonomous mode, the system informs the driver on the tablet about changes to the calendar, for instance. If the I.D. BUZZ passes one of the driver’s favorite shops or a favorite restaurant, the car informs the driver via the tablet about the current offerings at these personal points of interest. A new era of interactive and personalized online services is beginning with the I.D. BUZZ.

Like the compact I.D., the I.D. BUZZ is equipped with an augmented reality head-up display. Information such as navigation directions are projected as virtual images from 23 to 49 feet ahead of the car. The effect is astonishingly realistic. Directions are projected via augmented reality to show exactly where the driver is heading. Thanks to the head-up display, the navigation instructions are now part of three-dimensional surroundings that the driver can experience. Drivers can use the touch-sensitive steering wheel to modify the type and amount of information shown, adapting the system to their individual needs.

Three levels of information density are available here:

  • Level 1: “Navigation,” “Speed” and “Battery indicator”
  • Level 2: Level 1 plus “Phone” (in “Drive” mode) and “Local offerings” (in “I.D. Pilot” mode)
  • Level 3: Levels 1 and 2 plus “Friends” along the route (in “Drive” mode) and “Messages” (in “I.D. Pilot” mode)

There are no rearview mirrors in the I.D. BUZZ. Cameras and a display have taken over that function. Where there would normally be a rearview mirror, there is a screen called the e-Mirror. Here, a monitor combines data from the exterior mirror cameras on the left and right of the vehicle and from a camera that faces directly rearward. Doing away with the side mirrors improves the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

The lighting mood of the interior also changes according to the mode. In “Drive”, illuminated elements are lit in white. When the driver activates “I.D. Pilot”, they switch over to a warm mood color. In addition, the ambient lighting and touch-sensitive steering wheel assume warning and indicator functionality. In “Drive” mode, if the driver wants to change lanes while another vehicle is alongside, a warning signal is shown on the relevant side of the dashpad. This means that the LED warning indicators for the Blind Spot Monitor, which are located in the door mirrors in today’s vehicles, migrate into the interior where they are even more obvious to the driver.

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state -of-the- art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. VWoA sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, CC, e-Golf, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan and Touareg vehicles through approximately 652 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.

Notes:
This press release and images of the I.D. BUZZ are available at media.vw.com. Follow us @VWNews

“VW”, “Volkswagen”, all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. “Beats” is a trademark of Apple, Inc. “Bluetooth” is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc

 

CONTACT:

Mark Gillies
703-364-7104
Mark.Gillies@vw.com

Jessica Anderson
703-364-2919
Jessica.Anderson@vw.com