Volkswagen detailed its plans to build an autonomous, electric panel van as it displayed the I.D. Buzz Cargo concept vehicle at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show this week.
The I.D. Buzz Cargo is based on VW’s Modular Electric Drive Kit, which allows for different battery sizes to power the various EVs that use the platform. The biggest, a 111-kWh battery pack, could give the I.D. Buzz Cargo a range of as much as 340 miles. It will have a minimum range of about 200 miles from a 48-kWh pack.
Solar panels on the roof of the van could provide another nine miles of additional range.
The I.D. Buzz Cargo offers workers a 230-volt outlet for power tools that can draw energy from the battery, freeing them from having to haul a separate generator.
Lots of Storage
As the concept’s name implies, the I.D. Buzz Cargo was designed to carry a payload of up to 1,760 pounds. With the battery built into the vehicle’s floor, the interior is designed for maximum storage space.
There is an 8.6-square-foot light built into the ceiling of the van to illuminate the contents of the cargo area. Built-in connectivity could let delivery workers keep up-to-the-minute tabs on package contents and track all articles on the vehicle’s shelves. A high level of autonomous capabilities would let the delivery worker perform tasks in the workspace while the van drives itself in “I.D. Pilot” mode to the next destination. In this configuration, the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard to give the worker more room.
The all-electric powertrain in the I.D. Buzz Cargo uses one 201-horsepower motor on the rear axle. Volkswagen says all-wheel drive is possible with the addition of another motor on the front axle. VW says the rear-axle configuration offers up to seven cubic feet of extra storage space in the front of the vehicle.
The German automaker said the cargo van could enter the market as early as 2022, most likely in Europe first.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles unveiled the I.D. Buzz Cargo in September at the IAA Commercial Vehicles conference in Hannover, Germany. A similar EV, the I.D. BUZZ microbus concept, was displayed at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.