Commercial Electric Microbus Shown in Hannover
Last year, as part of its upcoming I.D. electric brand, Volkswagen debuted the Buzz concept. It was a modern interpretation of the beloved Microbus, complete with the V-shaped trim and large VW logo on the nose and rows of windows along the sides.
Last week Volkswagen debuted another concept version called the I.D. Buzz Cargo at IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover. This is the modern-day version of the working man’s Transporter, with panel sides, but retaining the Buzz’s shape and charm. Like the Buzz, it’s based on VW’s Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), which will underpin other proposed I.D. models.
The Cargo isn’t identical to the regular Buzz. Besides the lack of side windows, it’s four inches longer, and one side lacks the sliding door to accommodate a shelving system. Wide-opening rear wing doors make it easy to load and unload, and there’s a different rear bumper. Wheels on the Cargo are 20-inch versus the flashier 22s on the Buzz.
The Working Person’s Buzz
What really sets this new concept apart from its Buzz sibling is the way it’s designed for business. Using Internet of Things (IoT) technology with sensors and lighting, its rear shelving features a digital cargo system that can maintain inventory. The driver can access information about it from a laptop up front that’s built in to the center folding seat.
The Cargo is set up for Level 4 full autonomy in I.D. Pilot mode, so imagine a delivery van that can find its destination on its own while the “pilot” accepts, schedules, and processes orders from the front seat. The steering wheel retracts when you’re in Level 4 autonomy mode, freeing up space (but certainly limiting control in an emergency).
The Buzz Cargo boasts a 230-volt socket for operating tools, so you can not only carry up to 1,760 pounds of payload, but the Buzz Cargo becomes a standalone workshop when you arrive at your destination.
High tech is everywhere. Like a Tesla (and surely all cars in the future), you just use a digital key on your smart phone to gain access and drive. The solar roof generates enough power to travel up to 9.3 extra miles. There’s inductive charging, where you simply position the car over a pad and charge without plugging in.
Like the passenger Buzz, the Cargo is powered by a 201-horsepower, 151-kW motor mounted on the rear axle. The batteries are scalable, with a range from 200 up to 340 miles, sized from 48 up to 111 kWh. You can choose the best fit for the job. The specs include high-voltage 48-kWh fast charging to 80 percent in just 15 minutes.
If you hunger for a Buzz Cargo, you’ll have to wait, but VW says it could be out as early as 2021, before the passenger Buzz. Whether it gets all the features of the concept or not, it’s hard not to love this new take on an old idea. The next decade should be a watershed time for the newly electrified Volkswagen brand.
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Source: Electric, Hybrid, Clean Diesel & High-MPG Vehicles