Kirk Bell and John Voelcker in Volkswagen ID Buzz electric Microbus concept vehicleEnlarge Photo
The specs of the Volkswagen ID Buzz say it has a 110-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack in the floor, one 150-kilowatt motor on each axle, and a projected range of 200 to 300 miles.
Our concept car had none of that, but its spacious passenger compartment did allow the front seats to be rotated to create a "lounge" environment.
At that point, the steering wheel retracted in anticipation of future self-driving capabilities, perhaps by 2025 or so, that would allow the car to drive autonomously in some circumstances while occupants chatted. (Or, perhaps more likely, looked at mobile devices and ignored each other?)
VW said the platform could support Level 3 autonomous driving.
But hopping back into a 21-window 1964 Volkswagen Microbus at the end of our drive, our prime takeaway was that VW has the ability to create a unique electric car.
Volkswagen ID Buzz electric bus concept with 1964 VW MicrobusEnlarge Photo
Not only could it offer enormous practicality, with seats for up to eight and autonomous zero-emission driving, but it will stand out decisively from a slew of me-too electric hatchbacks and sedans.
The only question is how VW could bring it to market, oh, two or three years earlier.
Volkswagen provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-person drive report.