Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ concept van looks to past, future

Bus melds retro styling with electric autonomy

Volkswagen is teasing us again with a concept for a revived VW microbus, this time in an all-electric an autonomous version.

The original VW microbus of the 1960s has been an iconic fixture in automotive culture. Over the decades, Volkswagen has shown off several concepts of a return to the microbus layout. However, none ever made it to production.

Late Sunday, the company introduced the latest concept version, the I.D. BUZZ. This one is definitely just a concept for now, with its fully electric powertrain, retractable steering wheel, and full autonomous capability.

Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ concept van looks to past, future

From a packaging perspective, a small van like VW’s I.D. BUZZ here and the Chrysler Portal that was shown last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas make sense. Having a small room for your autonomous vehicle opens the space for different seating and storage options.

In the I.D. BUZZ, that space can be configured however you want it. When the van is in its autonomous mode, the front seats can swivel around and face the back.

Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ concept van looks to past, future

Powering the van are two electric motors – one for the front wheels and one for the rear wheels. Together, they crank out 369 horsepower. VW leaders say the little van should be able to go 270 miles on a full charge, and accelerate to 60 mph in about 5 seconds.

For now, the I.D. BUZZ is just a concept, but more and more car makers are touting the benefits of a small electric fully autonomous van as the transportation of the future.