In 1950, the first Volkswagen Microbus hit the streets. The car was a staple for the hippie movement—constantly bursting with teenagers, surfboards, and camping equipment.
By 1982, Jeff Spicoli fell out of the iconic van (late to class) and into our hearts.
And in 2013, the last of the van’s bloodline was assembled in Brazil—the end of an era… or so we thought.
On August 17, 2017, VW announced the re-ignition of a new electric microbus era. In 2022, VW plans to release a new microbus model the automaker is calling the I.D. Buzz electric vehicle.
The German carmaker’s declaration rang loud and clear during the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, an August car show in Monterey, California. Rumors surrounding the new van began at the Detroit Auto Show in January of this year; however, an official announcement was never made.
To VW officials, it was important the announcement be made in Pebble Beach, rather than anywhere else. “The Microbus has long been part of the California lifestyle. Now we're bringing it back by reinventing it as an electric vehicle,” said Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess.
This time around, the bus is driving back in both style and efficiency. VW plans for the new van to be fully electric, with a 270-mile-per-charge range, according to VW statement.
What’s more, the I.D. Buzz will feature a new VW fast-charge system. This charging mechanism allows the microbus to recharge about 80% of its energy capacity in 30 minutes.
Youths on a quest to travel the world would pack their friends into the old VW van in days of yore. In an attempt to bring the same thought process to the new vehicle, the I.D. Buzz can “seat eight people with ease,” say VW officials.
For any lone nomads without the need for company, the seats can be folded or removed to hold up to 162.5 cubic feet of cargo. In addition, the I.D. Buzz is integrating the VW Beetle’s front trunk for more storage.
The soon-to-be new face of Volkswagen will also have an autonomous “I.D. Pilot” mode. However, this technology will not be installed until the 2025 Buzz is produced.
VW officials plan to integrate autonomous technology, a foldaway steering wheel, pop-up laser scanners in the roof, and a heads-up display that incorporates augmented reality.
“The Microbus was always a freedom machine, always about being independent,” said Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen Design. “With the huge range, the car will allow us to go new places.”