Volkswagen reimagined the Microbus when it introduced the I.D. Buzz concept in early 2017. This all-electric remake seats up to eight people in a living-room style seating environment. Now, the automaker is revealing a cargo version designed for commercial use.
Like the passenger version, the I.D. Buzz Cargo concept sits on the flexible MEB platform for electric vehicles. This architecture can accommodate batteries with ranges of around 205 miles to more than 310 miles on the European scale. While the I.D. Buzz passenger van will enter production in 2022, the cargo model could launch as early as 2021, the automaker says. Eventually, the model will support autonomous driving and allow drivers to get more work done while on the road.
The cargo version deviates from the Buzz passenger concept with a new solar roof that can add about 9 miles of range per day. It also receives wide-opening rear wing doors that help workers load and unload the van. A workbench can fold out when the wing doors are opened. Volkswagen also redesigned the rear bumper for the cargo version.
Acting as a mobile workspace, the I.D. Buzz Cargo features shelves fitted with sensors and other technologies that make it possible for the driver to track all items on board. While the vehicle operates in autonomous mode, drivers can process orders, perform stock checks, or take care of other business matters via the on-board computer.
A Pick-by-Light function illuminates the specific tool a driver is looking for on a shelf at a given time. And with Safety Check, drivers will know if they’re missing any important tools for the job before they take off. Drivers can use battery power to charge their work tools through 230-volt sockets.
On this particular concept, which debuted at the Hannover auto show in Germany, there is a 150-kW electric motor paired to a lithium-ion battery. As is the case with all MEB-platform vehicles, this battery sits under the floor to lower the van’s center of gravity. Customers can fast-charge the battery to 80 percent capacity in as little as 15 minutes.
The Buzz vans will join other models in VW’s upcoming I.D. family, including a hatch, crossover, and sedan. The hatch will go into production first, launching late next year in Europe.