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VW unveils new all-electric and autonomous retro microbus with 270 miles of range

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VW kicked things off at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week with a new all-electric and autonomous microbus concept: I.D. BUZZ.

The vehicle is a significant step up from the previous BUDD-e electric microbus concept and actually looks like a more modern version of the classic VW microbus. It is, of course, updated with all the latest tech and more importantly, an all-electric drivetrain using Volkswagen’s upcoming MEB platform for electric vehicles.

It’s not expected to hit the market until at least 2020 since it’s when VW plans to release its first vehicles on the new electric platform, but nonetheless, it looks like it’s an important part of VW’s ambitious electric vehicle efforts.

Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management for the Volkswagen brand, said during the announcement:

“The Volkswagen brand’s big electric offensive begins in the year 2020 with a completely new vehicle architecture. That is when we will be launching an entirely new generation of fully connected, all-electric vehicles to the market. By 2025 we want to be selling one million of these vehicles annually. We are making electric mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen.”

VW generously offered a lot of specs about the powertrain of the new concept.

There will be two options. The most high-end will feature an all-wheel drive system with a total output of 369 horsepower powered by a massive 111 kWh battery pack. Surprisingly, especially after their recent range comparisons, VW also offered the estimated range based on the U.S. driving cycle, which the company claims will be 270 miles.

The German automaker claims that this version of the I.D. BUZZ, which it shown in Detroit, can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 5 seconds and has a top speed of 99 mph.

Another less expensive version will feature a rear-wheel drive setup producing up to 268 hp and a smaller 83 kWh battery.

The microbus will be compatible with Combined Charging System (CCS) or an inductive charging interface, with a total charging rate of 150 kW.

Considering the timeline to market of the vehicle, VW will hopefully update the charging specs to match the latest DC fast-charging technology, like the new ultra-fast 350 kW charging or ChargePoint’s new Express Plus 400 kW system.

The I.D. BUZZ is using the biggest version of the MEB platform (MEB-XL) and feature along wheelbase of 129.9 inches. It is 194.6 inches long, 77.8 inches wide and 77.3 inches tall.

The result is a really spacious interior:

It can be configured in different ways to offer more space for luggage or sleeping – with the rear compartment changing between 23.3 to 162.5 cubic feet and it also has a front trunk of 6.1 cubic feet.

Here are the different configurations:

And to top it off, VW also says that the vehicle will be equipped with a fully autonomous technology, like its other I.D. concept: VW unveils details of its all-electric & autonomous ‘I.D. concept’ car w/ ‘over 250 miles range’, says it will arrive in 2020

For now, all those concepts are just that, concepts, but they are part of VW’s plan to build 2 to 3 million all-electric cars a year and unveil 30 new models by 2025 and therefore, it looks like they are serious about bringing them to market.

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