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VW Teases Retro ID.Buzz Electric Van

Volkswagen teased its upcoming, Microbus-inspired ID.Buzz electric van in a recent video that the automaker produced to preview the European-market ID.5 crossover. (Volkswagen)

Concept vehicles have traditionally been safe spaces for automakers to explore unusual and potentially wild designs that question what a vehicle should look like or could be. When Volkswagen first showed off the concept for the retro-Microbus-inspired ID.Buzz all-electric van in 2017, it already drew evenly from the past and the future.

As the real thing gets closer, VW is slowly revealing more details about this upcoming electric vehicle, with the latest glimpse coming during the video premiere of the ID.5 crossover, a new VW electric SUV model that will not be available in the United States. According to Car and Driver, the ID.Buzz should go on sale in the U.S. in 2023 as a long-wheelbase passenger van, likely with both 200-horsepower rear-wheel-drive and 300-hp all-wheel-drive options. While we know the ID.Buzz will use Volkswagen's modular MEB electric platform, those power estimates are just educated guesses at this point.

Given the long lead time before we see the real thing, it won't be surprising if the production ID.Buzz looks different from the earlier concept or this new version. Still, the rainbow camouflage seen in this latest glimpse intentionally doesn't hide much. The van is keeping its sunshine-ready bus shape, updated from the 1960s to today with an angled nose, tall sides, and plenty of glass all around.

Compared to the original concept, the latest production version preview includes real-world details like door handles and side mirrors, as well as what looks like a working lower front fascia, perhaps to let in cool air or hide sensors or both. The headlights and taillights have also been changed, including how the rear lights now connect to a VW logo in the middle of the back. All of these updates, taken together, give us a better idea of what the ID.Buzz will look like when it's available to purchase.

Prototypes of the ID.Buzz have also been seen wearing various autonomous-driving technology devices. Earlier this year, VW said it would use the ID.Buzz as part of a fleet of autonomous shuttle vehicles starting in 2025, perhaps as a ride-hailing or carpooling van.

Volkswagen said it would reveal more information about the ID.Buzz in early 2022.