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



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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.

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



Mark Gillies

Jessica Anderson


You Won’t Believe Volkswagen’s Eye-Popping Collection of Classic Rides



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Like many automakers, Volkswagen maintains a glittering museum as a tribute to the most amazing vehicles from its history. Space in such show places is finite, however, so other cool rides sit in storage, out of the public eye.

That is the case with Volkswagen’s “Depot” a nondescript industrial building in Wolfsburg, Germany, where most of the company’s collection is stored, waiting for a turn on display at the Autostadt museum.

More than two million visitors tour the Autostadt museum annually, and if you go, maybe one of these rare rides will have reached its turn for exhibition.




Colourful VW cruise raises £600 for Farleigh Hospice




MORE than 100 Volkswagen owners cruised in a colourful and shiny convoy to raise money for a hospice.

The VW vehicles, which dated from the Fifties to 2016, set off from the Grange, in Boreham, before travelling to Castle Point for a short stop outside the council offices in Kiln Road, Benfleet.

The group, which was raising money for Chelmsford-based Farleigh Hospice, then drove on to Uncle Toms Cabin, in Shoebury.

Paul Bridger, 42, is the organiser of the SX Dub Club car meet and arranged the event with the Essex VW Night car meet club.

He said: “It was a brilliant turn out and went very well.

“We managed to raise £600 for Farleigh Hospice which is a charity close to all our hearts.”

To join the club or find out more, visit facebook.com/sxdubclub

An electric VW Microbus will join Wolfsburg’s EV lineup


After years of teasing the public with Microbus concepts, some of which actually looked pretty close to the original thing, VW VW, -1.30%   will resurrect the popular 1960s MPV as an electric vehicle. Autocar reports that a production version of the recently seen BUDD-e concept will use the MEB platform alongside the ID, which recently made its debut in concept form at the Paris motor show.

The electric Microbus will offer seating for seven, which means it won’t be a crossover made to merely look like the original on the outside. One element that should make fans of the original warm and fuzzy will be the location of the 122kW electric motor; it will be integrated into the rear axle and will drive the rear wheels. A liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery will occupy the floor as in the ID concept, and the longer wheelbase and the wider track should give the battery plenty of room

According to Autocar, the electric Microbus will have a range of 500 kilometers as the ID concept promised, which translates into 310 miles on a single charge. When it comes to the exterior design, the EV is expected to follow the looks of the original’s upright windshield and an upright rear end, with the interior designed to maximize space. Don’t expect a blunt nose like on the original Bus — it will still need to pass crash tests. The EV is also likely to be slightly shorter than the current Transporter, which is no longer offered in North America.

The BUDD-e concept seen above is not how the Microbus will probably look; the design has not been completed and will inevitably be larger than the BUDD-e to offer seating for seven. Whether it will retain the door architecture of the original remains to be seen — the new MPV is unlikely to rely on a difficult-to-access third row of seats currently offered in a number of SUVs.

When will you be able to silently cruise the Pacific Coast Highway with a surfboard on top of the electric Microbus? VW plans to produce the ID starting in 2019, and it will be one of five electric models alongside the Microbus that the auto maker plans to bring to market before 2020.

2017 Caravan, Camping and Motorhome show details released


Image result for camping caravan and motorhome show 2017

Ben Fogle heads the celebrities attending the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2017, which takes place at Birmingham’s NEC from 21 to 26 February. Presenter of Countryfile and more recently New Lives in the Wild, Ben Fogle shares his love of the great outdoors alongside TV’s Kate Humble, Caravan and Camping Club president Julia Bradbury and one of TV’s popular bakers, Selasi Gbormittah.

The show’s Discovery Theatre will host an audience Q&A and talks by Fogle along with other celebrities on their own experiences of camping and caravanning, with tips from the industry experts on how to make the most out of outdoor adventures.

With over 350 exhibitors, including caravans, motorhomes, campervans, trailer tents, folding campers, tents, caravan holiday homes, camping equipment and thousands of accessories, February’s show provides inspiration for those planning their next holiday. The much-loved dog agility arena will return as well as many new features for 2017, including bushcraft workshops where visitors can learn essential survival skills.

This year’s show has plenty of free, have-a-go features for all the family, including an indoor children’s assault course. The Visit Wales area includes a mobile climbing mountain; a virtual reality experience of Europe’s longest zip wire; as well as an artificial caving feature where visitors can ‘rope up’ and be guided through the tunnels. A towing and manoeuvring skills area will offer expert tuition for those new to caravanning and motorhome holidays, as well as those who want to brush up on their techniques.

Advance ticket prices start from £7.00 per person and children 15 and under enter for free

Christmas gifts for VW campervan owners


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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has launched its 2016 Christmas merchandise range which is only available from Volkswagen’s Van Centre network.

Inspired by the brand’s heritage, the new collection boasts a range of themed items that will appeal to any Volkswagen fan. Prices range from £5 for a T1-shaped Christmas biscuit cutter, to £28 for a genuine Steiff teddy bear, with special Volkswagen chest mark and red satin scarf.

The collection offers fans a variety of choices covering all tastes and budgets, whether it’s a Transporter T1 egg cup holder or distinctive T1 Christmas bauble. Model collectors should look out for the limited edition Zinc Transporter T1 piccolo model. The 1:87 Christmas special comes complete with bespoke gift packaging. The ever-popular campervan moneybox and USB sticks are also available.

For younger fans, the funky campervan tent will provide hours of fun, while looking forward to warmer days there’s the Campervan Cookbook plus a new T1 Bulli picnic blanket.

New for this year is the retro-styled Classic Campervan range of collectables. This includes round storage tins, classic campervan mugs and a set of matching coasters. There’s even a practical travel mug with lid to ensure you stand out with your coffee while out and about.

The professional Volkswagen van owner is also catered for this Christmas with Volkswagen branded business card organisers, a slimline silver pen and iPad covers now available.

VW California Ocean campervan review: ‘This van is amazing’


 VW California Ocean

The fundamental question about a car (who would buy this, ahead of any other car?) is already answered by the VW California Ocean. This is for people who want to camp in their van. All those existential questions, like “If you want a shower and a cooker and a kettle and a sofa and a bed, why not stay in a building instead?” we just have to park, which will be easier to park than the California. Ours is not to interrogate camping in principle: only in practice.

Especially if you’re eight, but even when you’re 43, the sudden acres of space at the push of buttons blow your mind. The controls are very intuitive, and the showstopper is the roof: make sure the ignition is on, the van is not moving (that bit is crucial), the windows are open, the tap is not running (just because it makes a distracting noise), you are not having a shower, the side door is open (unless you listened to me about the windows) and press the central button. The roof pops open like a clam shell. The top bed is gigantic. A small amount of jigging joins the passenger seats into a bench behind and a second double bed emerges. They are actually not as large as I thought: I thought I could sleep on the bottom with two children. When this didn’t work, it set in train an epic, childhood-defining row over which kid I would choose, which ended with me sulking in the driver’s seat like a dad in a 1960s cartoon strip.


But my God, it is amazing. You could load four adults horizontally into a vehicle that isn’t much more cumbersome than a Zafira. The drive is fine; you’re definitely aware of hoisting about more than an average load, but it has plenty of acceleration. The cornering has that distinctive white-knuckle frisson of a vehicle with high sides and a not particularly large engine, but you’re in a mobile home and should not be bouncing all over the road anyway.

Far, far more delightful than driving the thing is playing with its accessories. Pretty well everything turns into something else: the driver and front passenger’s seats, for instance, swivel 45 degrees, to become seats at a weird angle. We spent a mind-bending amount of time just playing; it was like being an incredibly spoilt womanchild with a doll’s house.

This van is amazing. The only thing I don’t know is whether or not all recreational vehicles are this amazing; if they are, modern life is incredible.

VW California Ocean

Price £50,391
Top speed 121mph
Acceleration 0-62mph in 11 seconds
Combined fuel consumption 44mpg
CO2 emissions 169g/km
Eco rating 5/10
Cool rating 10/10


VW Finds WWII-Era Bomb At Wolfsburg Factory



The expansion of Volkswagen’s largest factory uncovered an unexpected surprise late last week.

Construction workers at the automaker’s Wolfsburg headquarters last month found metal fragments in several locations, which fueled speculation that the complex was hiding more unexploded bombs from World War II.

Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg headquarters in Germany (AP Photo)

A subsequent inspection by explosives experts found an undetonated 400-pound American bomb, one of several to be found at the plant in the more than 70 years since Wolfsburg was a major target of Allied bombing campaigns.

VW told Business Review Europe that the bomb was neutralized with no impact on production.

About 700 nearby residents were expected to be evacuated as a precaution while the bomb was defused.