The electric Volkswagen I.D. Buzz van is an instant eye-catcher.
On the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show, its fluorescent yellow paint and massive size are hard to miss. Smiling onlookers piled into the spacious back seat. The accelerator and brake pedal feature matching yellow “Play” and “Pause” icons.
Even with its obvious consumer appeal, Volkswagen also sees the concept vehicle as the ideal platform for a commercial vehicle. The automaker announced in August that it will build the I.D. Buzz in 2022 for both consumers and businesses in North America, Europe and China. The commercial version will be called the I.D. Buzz Cargo.
An electric van is ideal for delivering goods in large cities, according to Volkswagen.
The van has a flat floor, perfect for loading and hauling. The rear hatch opens extremely wide and low to the ground. It has a long wheelbase and short overhangs, maximizing interior space.
Just like the concept, the production I.D. Buzz will mount batteries in the vehicle floor. It is the preferred configuration for electric vehicles because it lowers the center of gravity for better driving dynamics.
The electric powertrain also improves the van’s dimensions. Modern safety standards require Volkswagen to build a thick crash structure into the front of the I.D. Buzz. A conventional engine under the hood would have cut into interior space.
Placing the powertrain under the floor allowed designers to make better use of the van’s volume, said Reto Brun, director of Volkswagen’s Design Center California studio.
The production version will also incorporate multi-variable seating, connectivity technology and automated driving features.
Volkswagen has said the vehicle is powered by two electric motors. One is attached to the front axle and another to the rear. Together, the powertrain creates 369 horsepower and offers 270 miles of range.
The I.D. Buzz is part of Volkswagen’s new family of electric vehicles. The automaker will bring the I.D. Crozz SUV to the U.S. in 2020. It will build an I.D. compact car for international markets and plans to introduce another sedan in the future.
Globally, the automaker hopes to sell 1 million electric vehicles annually by 2025, said Jürgen Stackmann, head of Volkswagen sales and marketing.
“We believe this is technology for the upcoming generation of cars, and we want to be at the forefront,” Stackmann said.