Volkswagen has released a new, 42-minute documentary on its official YouTube channel chronicling five years of development that went into the brand’s all-electric ID. Buzz.
The ID. Buzz, a contemporary reimagining of VW’s vaunted T1 microbus, was finally unveiled in its final production form, to great aplomb, last month, five years after its conceptual debut at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show. The “new face” of Volkswagen’s all-electric ‘ID’ family was launched in both passenger-focused ‘Buzz’ and as a ‘Buzz Cargo’ panel van, and alongside visual nods to its heritage – including the enlarged VW emblem on the nose and the two-tone paint – also showcased the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) architecture that will underpin VW’s EV range moving forward.
Kicking things off with the vehicle’s 73-year heritage, ‘Ready! ID. Buzz behind the scenes’ then turns to the challenges faced during the design: not only would this have to entice existing fans of the T1 as well as aspiring VW customers, the design also had to meet standards for safety, ride comfort and practicality laid down by its engineers, plus, as an EV, be more aerodynamic that its more boxy antecedent. In the end, VW’s designers got the drag co-efficient down to 0.285cd, lower than any other VW commercial vehicle.
On top of this, the production ID. Buzz, in either passenger or cargo form, and as a joint-venture with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, would need to slip seamlessly into the Hanover production line alongside the more utilitarian T6.1 and Multivan ‘Bullis’.
Extreme weather testing is a significant chapter, and details the pre-production model’s time in both Scandinavia and across Europe – most of which was done off-road to punish the multi-link rear suspension – to challenge the electric componentry, the chassis set-up, the drivetrain, the braking and the steering in extreme cold (the mercury on average dipped to -20C) and arid extreme heat.
“The Microbus or Bulli is a vehicle that has always particularly excelled through its everyday practicality”, technical project manager Stefan Lutz explains. “We therefore test the ID. Buzz under all conditions and weather situations. The motors, fluids, every system and operating process, the indicators and displays must all work perfectly. It is only by doing this that we can be sure that the vehicle can be driven problem-free in every region of the world.”
‘Ready!’ also takes a look towards the future of VW’s autonomous driving technology. Tests on self-driving ID. Buzz-based prototypes are set to begin in Hamburg in 2025.
While deliveries in Europe are scheduled to begin towards the end of the year, the first examples of the ID. Buzz will only arrive in North America, as a yet-to-be revealed Extended Wheelbase model in 2024.
This is also not the first documentary to have been released on a company’s brand-new EV figurehead. Last month, General Motors’ released ‘Revolution,’ a behind the scenes look at the development of the new all-electric GMC Hummer.