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South Africa's foremost electric mobility platform

  • Writer's pictureIan McLaren

The Buzz around the new all-electric Kombi

Volkswagen launching its iconic family transporter into an EV future.

Five years after showing a concept example of what it views as the future of family adventure transport, Volkswagen has now officially revealed the ID. Buzz, an all-electric nod to the original T1 “Bulli” multivan from the 1950s; and the scheduled replacement for the current T6.1 Transporter (Kombi and Caravelle).

Including iconic two-tone exterior paint finishes and an ode to the original car’s distinct V-shaped front panel, the new ID. Buzz and its ID. Buzz Cargo panel van sibling are built on the brand’s modular MEB platform and will eventually be available in both a short- and long-wheel base configuration.

Shorter in terms of overall length, yet wider than the current T6.1 bus, the next-generation VW bus makes the most of its all-electric underpinnings to offer impressively slim overhangs, front and rear. The e-bus also boasts a turning circle of just 11,1-metres. While the passenger version features two sliding passenger doors and a conventional tailgate, the Cargo can be configured with just one sliding door and the option of side-hinged “barn doors” at the rear.

Already proficient in the field of LED lighting technology, the new bus is set to feature a full bouquet of Volkswagen’s IQ. Light packaging, including a distinct LED light bar linking the tail lamps. A choice between 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels is on the cards.

Set to go on sale in Europe from May 2022, the ID. Buzz will initially be available with a 77 kWh battery mated with a 150 kW motor that powers the rear wheels only. The obvious advantage of using a modular platform is that all-wheel drive (Syncro) derivates – that include a supplementary motor mounted on the front axle – as well as more powerful models can easily be added. Top-spec derivatives like the California camper have also been touted and will likely be based on the long-wheel base configuration.

Able to be charged via an 11 kW home charging setup, the VW’s battery system can also set to deliver charge back into a household, when required. Though not yet officially announced, the expected range of the all-electric “Volksie Bus” should be in the region of 550 km.

Proud of the extensive use of recycled, sustainable materials throughout the cabin, the Buzz features an obligatory raised driving position and the latest in terms of infotainment and driver assistance technologies. Including a 5.3-inch digital instrument display, a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment screen can be upgraded to a to a features-filled 12-inch unit. Expect wireless smartphone mirroring and inductive phone charging, as well as an array of USB ports throughout.

Until the long-wheel base 7-seater derivative goes into production, the ID. Buzz is fitted with a second-row setup that can folded and tumbled in a 60:40 split when not required. With both seats folded, the standard 1 121-litres of luggage space can be increased to 2 205-litres worth of utility packing space.

While Volkswagen South Africa will obviously be keen to bring the ID. Buzz to our market, for the time being we’ll add it to the list of nice things we can only have once government comes to the party…

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