Volkswagen creates a Buzz
You'll not want a Buzz because of its EV tech but for how it looks, as well as the versatility it offers. It is essentially a box on wheels - though boxes don't usually look this stylish
VOLKSWAGEN'S line of ID electric cars have so far lacked in personality, but this funky little truck, the ID.Buzz is here to change that, writes William Scholes.
It's a bang up-to-date interpretation of the classic VW 'Bulli' van, with more flair and boldness to its design than anything else the company sells today.
The Buzz rides on the same platform that we've already seen under the ID.3 hatchback and ID.4 crossover, which in this case means a 77kWh battery and a 201bhp electric motor driving the rear wheels. Range is likely to be officially rated at around 280 miles, with a real-world range somewhat shorter.
That's pretty par for the course these days - you'll not be buying the Buzz because it's technically a step ahead of everything else.
Instead, you'll want one because of how it looks, as well as the versatility it offers. As well as the passenger car Buzz, there'll be a van version, the Buzz Cargo. You can see why it might lend itself to that sort of use - it is essentially a box on wheels.
But boxes don't usually look this stylish. Jozef Kaban, who is in charge of Volkswagen design, talks of how the Buzz "brings a lot of sympathy and proximity to people back to the road".
The proportions of the vehicle make it look like nothing else on the road, I think, with a real echo of the original VW van. In it, you basically sat on top of the front axle. That's not viable these days, not least for safety reasons, so you won't sit that far forward in the Buzz. Still, it has super short overhangs, emphasising its 3 metre wheelbase, with the wheels pushed far into each corner.
"The ID.Buzz is timeless, sustainable and yet also extremely functional - that makes it unique," says Kaba?, who also points to the V-shaped front panel between the headlights and (optional) two-tone paintwork as features which pay homage to the classic VW van.
There's also something refreshing about a new car that isn't yet another SUV. Perhaps the Buzz will herald a revival in MPVs - electric car architecture, where the battery and motor are typically carried in a skateboard-style platform, is especially well suited for people carriers.
For now, VW is offering the Buzz as a "lounge-like" five-seater, complete with a 1,121 litre boot, swelling to a volume of 2,205 litres if the back seats are folded.
The Buzz Cargo, meanwhile, can be had with either two or three seats in front, with a partition dividing off the 3.9 cubic metre load area - large enough to take two loaded euro pallets.
Expect longer wheelbases, more seats, different battery capacities and motors in due course.
VW is clearly excited about the Buzz's prospects. Company chairman Ralf Brandstätter describes it as no less than "a genuine icon for the electric era".
"A car, the likes of which only Volkswagen can build. In the 1950s, the Volkswagen Bulli stood for a new feeling of automotive freedom, independence and great emotion," he says.
"The ID.Buzz picks up on this lifestyle and transfers it into our time: emission-free, sustainable, fully networked and now ready for the next big chapter: autonomous driving."
The Buzz is due to be launched in Europe towards the end of this year. Don't expect much change from £50k either...
A word of warning though - the VW Group seems to be particularly exposed to the chip shortage afflicting the motor industry, with reports that is has effectively 'sold out' of electric cars for 2022.