Electric Volkswagen Microbus concept gets right down to business


The panel of Volkswagen ID Buzz concepts based on the automaker's all-electric frame has finally reached, well, panel status.

In Hannover, Germany, Volkswagen on Thursday showed off its ID Buzz Cargo concept based on its MEB electric-car architecture.

According to VW, the panel van shows off the company's plans for all-electric light-duty commercial vehicles. The automaker says the van's batteries can carry people and cargo between 200 and 340 miles, rated on the new WLTP cycle. VW says the van can be fitted with batteries as small as 48 kwh, which can be charged up to 80 percent in 15 minutes on a 150-kw fast charger, or with batteries as large as 111 kwh, which take 30 minutes to charge up to 80 percent. The van also can charge via an inductive charger and can add up to 10 miles of range with a solar panel roof.

In addition to the solar panel roof, the cargo van concept shown at the IAA Commercial Vehicles also features Level 4 self-driving hardware, a longer body compared to the ID Buzz concept (which we've driven), no rearview mirrors, and an augmented reality app for driver information. Some of those features likely won't be included in the final van available to consumers, which could arrive as soon as 2021, according to VW.

Pie-in-the-sky concept features aside, the ID Buzz Cargo van Volkswagen detailed offers tantalizing details about production vans that may arrive within 4 years.

DON'T MISS: Report: VW may build ID Crozz and ID Buzz electric cars in America

According to VW, the ID Buzz cargo van rides atop a 129.9-inch wheelbase, at nearly 200 inches long and 77.8 inches wide. That's about an inch narrower than the VW Atlas, but nearly the same length. VW's stated range and battery size also could mean that the van will be made of ultra-lightweight materials to achieve its stated range. By comparison, the Chevrolet Bolt EV uses 60-kwh batteries to achieve a 238-mile EPA-rated range and weighs 3,580 pounds. Even by the slightly optimistic WLTP standards, the cargo van's 45-kwh battery managing around 200 miles would mean a light body and frame underneath. VW didn't say how heavy the cargo concept van is, nor what it's made of.

Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo concept

Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo concept

The ID Buzz cargo van sports three seats in the front, although it's not a throwback bench seat. The Cargo van concept uses a single driver's seat and a long bench on the passenger's side that can fit two people. The center seat can tumble down to offer a flat workspace. The driver's side doesn't offer a rear-sliding door for more flexible shelving inside the van, but the passenger's side sports a power-sliding side door.

READ NEXT: All-electric VW ID Buzz Microbus confirmed for production

VW fitted 20-inch wheels onto the cargo van concept instead of the ID Buzz's bling-tastic 22-inchers. The concept van's payload capacity is 1,760 pounds, and the front and rear axle have been pushed out compared to the ID Buzz for more interior room. VW says the cargo concept's electric motor drives the rear wheels only, although four-wheel drive would be available on the MEB platform. The electric motor in the cargo van produces 201 horsepower and is limited to a top speed of 99 mph.

The cargo van uses split rear wing doors to open from the back, with a fold-out workbench and 230-volt plug available to power tools if needed.

VW says the all-electric cargo van will complement its range of commercial vehicles that already includes the electric e-Crafter van and a new T7 Transporter van due soon.

 
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