News of the iconic ‘hippie van’s’ millennial facelift crushed the Internet last week. Here’s what you need to know.
Shag carpet, disco balls, and roving troupes of sitar-playing potheads — much of what made the ’60s-era Volkswagen bus an American legend is ancient history.
Last week, VW announced it would resurrect the “microbus” with the vehicle named “ID. Buzz”. The concept electric vehicle ramps into production … in 2022.
But the internet didn’t care about the wait, as auto blogs and newspaper headlines flooded social media in earnest.
Why the fuss? Well, here are the big changes the Buzz makes on the Bus, 70 years since its inception.
VW ID. Buzz Electric ‘Microbus’
The forthcoming Buzz harkens to the hippie van we all think of from the ’60s and mid-’70s. Though VW built further iterations of the bus overseas and varying van models into today, this is the (great) grandchild of the Type 2 T1.
“We received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car’,” Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess said at a press conference.
See the full (largely boring) announcement here:
Now, while I have my grandpa’s earlobes, I’m more technologically savvy, I’m a lot faster, and I’m (arguably) better-looking. So it goes with the ID. Buzz and its Type 2 ancestor.
It’s Electric, Oogie-Boogie-Woogie
“1 Earth” and “COEXIST” bumper stickers aside, Buzz is way more eco-friendly than the Type 2 buses of yore.
Cute as it was, the original VW buses ran on leaded gas — gasoline with lead in it. It was tantamount to driving a miniature dumpster fire through the city.
The ID. Buzz will be 100% electric, with batteries mounted under the vehicle floor.
MPGe vs. MPG
With a tank full of (leaded) petrol, a Type 2 sputtered 15-20 miles per gallon. A Buzz, by contrast, will cruise (silently) up to 300 miles on a charge. That puts it in the 100 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) range.
Unlike any of the early microbuses before it, the ID. Buzz will feature all-wheel drive. So it’s less apt to spin helplessly after a three-day rain-gathering in the woods.
One of the hallmarks of the original hippie van was its power … or lack thereof. Back in the day, there was no reason to hurry, man. The journey was the jive, and the Type 2’s 39 horsepower made that journey as long as possible.
The ID. Buzz will pack 369 horsepower in its unassuming, totes adorbs frame.
Driver Not Included
Speaking of having everything I want delivered immediately, the Buzz will also be the delivery van of the future. And it will drive itself!
According to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Dr. Eckhard Scholz:
“With Level 3 autonomous capability, this is an ideal concept for an electric van, particularly for delivering packages and goods to the inner cities.”
Dubbed the ID. Buzz CARGO, the level 3 automated van will be able to manage “safety-critical functions” with a driver still present to intervene if necessary.
Bonus: It Has Eyes
We’re not totally sure what this means, but it’s worth noting. According to VW’s press release, the van’s LED headlights “have hexagonal segments that act as ‘eyes’ to communicate the vehicle’s status.”
And this cryptic video clip shows what appears to be eye-blinking headlights.
In short, put out the doobie, toss the bobbling hula-skirt dashboard doll, and get with the times. The bus is back.