Pop Culture Icon Volkswagen Kombi Transforms Into New EV

  • VW leans on the legacy of Kombi to recreate new-age van with ID.Buzz
  • Expect range exceeding 260 miles and a price of around $40,000.
  • The new ID.Buzz will come in two versions, including sporty ID.Buzz GTX.

The Volkswagen Kombi was one of the coolest vans of the sixties and seventies, defined a generation, and was the original minivan of pop culture. Now, an all-new ID. Buzz electric version hopes to become the EV van of a new era and cater to families in an untapped market.

Back in the day, it was officially known as the Transporter (long before Jason Statham took that role!), or informally as the Bus in the U.S., Camper in the U.K., and Bulli in Germany. It’s “traveling in a fried-out Kombi” lyrics featured in Men At Work’s 1983 hit song ‘Down Under,’ while a blue VW bus appeared on the cover of Bob Dylan’s 1963 album ‘The Freewheelin.’ A Kombi played a supporting role in Audrey Hepburn’s 1967 movie ‘Wait Until Dark,’ and Robert Redford’s film ‘Sneakers’ from 1992, while Libyan terrorists drove one in the 1985 hit flick ‘Back To The Future.’

The new model takes design hints from the original model.

In 2022, some 73 years since the original Kombi was born, Volkswagen has launched the all-new ID. Buzz for a new generation of influencers. The design of the ID. Buzz commemorates the German company’s iconic Type 2 Microbus, which inspired the new minivan’s retro design. In addition to its nostalgic exterior, its spacious cabin will feature flexible seating and three rows that cater to 7 adults. 

The ID. Buzz’s all-electric powertrain will come in rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations, delivering a driving range expected to clear 260 miles. Its single-motor rear-wheel drive powertrain is used in certain variants of the VW ID.3, ID.4, and ID.5, as well as the Supra Born and Audi Q4 e-tron. Plugged into a DC quick-charger, VW says the new van will be able to charge its battery from 5 to 80 percent in 30 minutes, which is pretty much the norm in the EV world today. The company also eventually plans to introduce its plug-and-charge technology that essentially eliminates the need to use an app or a card for payment to unlock the charger. 

The new van will come is two specs—the ID. Buzz and a sportier ID. Buzz GTX. Both will feature a 7-seater option. Both versions offer 7-seat options but the long-wheelbase delivers a little more legroom. The teaser images you see here were released in the last few days. The long-wheelbase 7-seater ID. Buzz will be the first model North America gets, with an expected launch in 2024. 

“We will continuously expand this brand and offer a GTX variant for every ID. model in the future – from ID.3 to the ID. Buzz,” said VW. The close-up image of the ID. Buzz GTX steering wheel revealed at a VW investor meeting, showed the same wheel that’s already used on the company’s two other GTX products—the ID.4 GTX and ID.5 GTX.

The stock standard ID. Buzz employs a 77kWh battery, which is the same as that used in the GTX cars. However in the ID. Buzz GTX we expect power to rise from 201-hp to 295-hp, with torque remaining at 310Nm. The standard ID. Buzz sends power to the rear wheels only, but the GTX will use a four-wheel-drive system just like the ID.5 GTX. 

Acceleration should increase dramatically from the standard car’s 10.2-second 0-62mph time to under 8 seconds, while the 90mph top speed clears three figures as well. The 255-mile range, however, will not do as well thanks to the extra power and additional electric motor on the front axle.

When the new age van is launched in 2024, expect a price of around $40,000.

OUR THOUGHTS

The Kombi was and still is a legend. VW knows this. When you have an icon like this—milk its legacy to the max!! That’s why they have breathed life into a totally new electric interpretation for a new age. It looks good and has the potential to perform well too. In a genre with few rivals, the ID. Buzz is sure to make waves, much like its predecessor did over 50 years ago.

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