After nearly two decades of speculation, Volkswagen has finally confirmed production of a new Microbus — 40 years after the Type 2 went out of production.
Volkswagen CEO Dr Herbert Diess and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Dr Eckhard Scholz made the announcement at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach — a fitting location, given the event’s gathering of historic cars and futuristic concepts.
“After the presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit and Geneva, we received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car,’” said Diess. “The Microbus has always been part of the California lifestyle. Now we’re bringing it back by developing Volkswagen’s next e-generation and by reinventing (it) as an electric vehicle.”
The new minivan is going to be based on the design of the I.D. Buzz concept, introduced at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and will have an electric powertrain. It is due to launch in 2022.
Like the concept, the production minivan will house its batteries under the cabin floor and the compact drivetrain in the axles at the cabin’s extremes, meaning the exterior will have compact dimensions but the interior will have full-size capacity.
And that doesn’t just mean more room for passengers, but also more room for cargo, as it was further announced the van will also come in Cargo variant
“Along with a minibus version, we’ll also be offering an I.D. BUZZ Cargo variant for zero-emission delivery operations in a Level 3 vehicle that boasts a high degree of automated driving capability,” explained Scholz. “It’s an ideal electric van concept, particularly for inner cities.”
The production model is expected to stay fairly close to the concept in dimensions (4,942 mm long, 1,976 mm wide and 1,963 mm high) and feature variable seating, interactive connectivity and automated driving.
More information will naturally be available closer to vehicle launch, which is part of Volkswagen’s Strategy 2025, by which time Volkswagen expects to have 30 dedicated electric vehicles on the road.