Cleantech & EV'sNews

VW ID Buzz test drive: an EV with character and utility

I test drove the VW ID Buzz, an electric minivan and the latest VW electric vehicle. It’s a fun new EV with character and that is going to provide a ton of utility for families, and maybe even some special use cases.

VW ID BUZZ SPECS

Let me preface this by saying that VW brought us to Europe to test drive the vehicle because that’s where it is going to launch first. I know most of our readers are based in North America and what you want to know is when it is going to get here.

We are going to have to wait, unfortunately.

While deliveries in Europe should start in the coming weeks, they won’t start in North America until 2024.

Furthermore, the North American market is going to get a different version of the ID Buzz with 10 more inches between the wheels. This is going to enable a third row (though I’d argue the current “short-wheelbase” version could probably accommodate one) and a bigger battery pack than the current 82 kWh (77 kWh usable), like the big pack in the ID.4.

Currently, the pack enables 423 km (263 miles) of range based on the WLTP standard and just a smidge more for the cargo version of the ID Buzz. It has a DC fast-charging capacity of 170 kW.

As for the motor, the minivan is equipped with a single 150 kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor that lets the vehicle accelerate to up to 145 km/h (90 mph).

It has a towing capacity of 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds).

VW ID BUZZ DESIGN

The design of the ID Buzz is obviously meant to bring up some nostalgia for the old VW minibus from the ’60s and ’70s, but it is also a vehicle that stands on its own.

VW modernized the design to a degree where it looks like the minivan of the future while also having design cues, like the front-end with the massive VW logo, the super short overhangs, and the two-tone paint job, that remind you of the old Westfalia.

The vehicle’s design gives it a fun character. It brings a smile to your face. I drove the vehicle all around Copenhagen, and the reactions on people’s faces were almost always the same: a look of confusion not knowing what it is, and then a big ol’ grin.

As for the interior, it is a fairly simple but clean look. The materials used in the interior of the ID Buzz are all animal free.

When it comes to the Buzz’s interior, the keyword is “spacious,” especially with this short-wheelbase version only having a second row. The back seat is spacious with plenty of room for an adult in the back.

If you fold the second row, you end up with massive space in the trunk:

The skateboard battery architecture of an electric vehicle is perfect for a minivan like this since it creates a massive interior space.

The interior is also full of plugs, especially USB-C. The version that I tested had eight USB-C plugs all around the vehicle.

VW ID BUZZ TEST DRIVE

The ID Buzz is very different from most EVs that I test, and I tried to keep that in mind during my test drive.

Most electric vehicles I test are performance vehicles, but this is a minivan that accelerates to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 10 seconds.

It’s a different experience, but I loved it. You get full captain seats in the front with arm rests on each side, which changes your driving position into a more relaxed and comfortable position. While not powerful, you can still feel the torque of the electric motor for a quick, short burst of acceleration when you need it.

My main complaint with the driving experience is the field of view, which doesn’t go high enough, in my opinion.

I was getting annoyed at some traffic light where I had to uncomfortably lean forward to try to see the light. It did serve as a good contrast to realize just how comfortable the normal driving position is with the vehicle.

Here’s a video that I quickly put together of my first drive experience with the VW ID Buzz.

VW ID BUZZ PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

While I appreciate Volkswagen bringing us out to Denmark to check out the ID Buzz, it is not super relevant to us in North America for now.

This version of the ID Buzz won’t actually make it to us, and the company was mostly tight-lipped on the changes that will come to the US version beyond the longer wheelbase and bigger battery pack.

The same goes for the California camper version of the ID Buzz.

In Europe, the ID Buzz starts at £57,115, which is the equivalent of about $66,000, but it includes taxes. We should expect something close to or a little higher in the US when it arrives in 2024.


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Author: Fred Lambert
Source: Electrek

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