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Question of the Week: Will Volkswagen actually build the modern electric minibus this time?


#1

Volkswagen loves to tease flower children with a regular stream of retro-fueled renderings that harken back to the iconic Type 2. Whether you like to call it the Transporter, Kombi, Microbus, or simply bus, it’s an icon in the classic car scene. Volkswagen has never missed an opportunity to get press from renderings and the possibility of bringing the shape back to production. Is this time for real though?


Photo- Volkswagen of America

The forward-control layout of the Type 2 lends itself to lots of interior cargo space, which VW took to heart in the latest design exercise for the I.D. Buzz concept. The new design is an imagining of the EV bus as a trade or work van, and VW says this iteration could be launched as early as 2021. Previously VW noted that the I.D. Buzz-inspired EV bus would hit markets in 2022, following the launch of the Golf-like I.D. electric hatchback that’s slated to arrive in 2019.

But will it happen for real? We have seen fancy drawings before, this is not even the first time they teased the idea of making it electric. VW’s only current (pun intended) electric offering, the e-Golf, appears to have a much more aerodynamic profile and only manages 125 miles per charge. The forward control layout will certainly struggle with crash ratings, making it a tough sell in an ever-safety-conscious automotive market.

VW has our attention though—the numbers have potential to be add up to something special. With the largest battery, VW claims 340 miles of range, aided by a large solar roof that can stretch range by up to 9.3 miles. High levels of autonomous driving features allow the “driver” to work on a laptop just to the right of the steering wheel. A fold-out workbench slated for this latest tradesman oriented iteration combine with 230V electrical sockets to allow use of large tools without the need for a noisy generator at the worksite.

It looks and sounds great, but from the looks of it VW has some serious hurdles ahead of them to hit its own timeline. We have our guess, but we want to hear if you think there will be one in your local VW dealer come 2022. Is the electric VW van etched in stone or total vaporware?


#2

NEVER happen. The Beetle just got canned, and the company is in disarray. I drive a '68 Type II single cab, and it is a wonderful machine for my shop. Would I buy a new electric. NO at any price. ……….Jim Liberty


#3

You can own an electric Kombi now. http://www.zelectricmotors.com/. :slight_smile:


#4

It pains me to say this, but I don’t believe that Volkswagen will be producing another microbus. It would seem that they have left themselves enough of an out in their press release, that the deadline will just be pushed back into infinitude.

Perhaps the better question is this: Do we as consumers want another VW bus?

My own personal answer would have to be no - if it would turn out to be an all-electric transportation vessel. Part of that vehicle’s charm (in my eyes) was its absolute simplicity. Nearly any backyard certified mechanic could have an “injured” microbus back up and running within an afternoon or two. However, I understand that this is just my own, pre-war biased opinion.

I’m sure there are those out there who would love an electrified version of this icon, but that market just doesn’t include me and my old-school ways.


#5

As long as this electric boogaloo hauls ass like a tesla, I say why the hell not?


#6

It looks like there are a couple of bugs and a couple of buses available
[http://www.zelectricmotors.com/available/]

We’ll be waiting to see what you buy! :slight_smile:


#7

In a clandestine opereation between Ghia’s Luigi Segre Karmann’s Wilhelm Karmann, A VW Karmann Ghia prototype was built and debuted at the 1955 Paris Motor Show. VW execs fell head over heels and produced it! It was a innovative design but a bit of a dangerous move just when the Beetle was gaining traction. Todays VW is not the VW of that time. These giant corporations have to answer to the bottom line and satisfy shareholders. The diesel scandal almost killed them. Volkswagen has announced a new more ecologically sound direction and a big part of that news is the electrification of most if not all of their fleet. Much of the response is due to the European Union planning to eliminate gasoline power by 2030. VW sells a respectable chunk of their production to the E.U. As a Ghia and GTI owner I certainly wish they would take the leap like they did in 1955 with Ghia and build the “Buzz”. I think it would be a big hit and definitely bring back the Mojo VW sorely needs. I would be the first customer!.


#8

If it is, then it’s about damn time. As long as it has decent sun visors (unlike the New Beetle), and has a price point that isn’t unreachable (a big ask, I know), it can’t fail.


#9

Never happen. Will never pass a safety test. I drive a '78 Type II pickup. It is dangerous, and VW will not risk more law suits. Jim.