At the LA Auto Show, Volkswagen is giving us a glimpse of the future.
Unfortunately, the future isn’t now, but the 2022 Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ CARGO van should go into production within the next four years. So what is the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept all about? Apart from capitalizing the name, Volkswagen based this all-electric commercial vehicle on the MEB platform which will underpin the rest of the I.D. family. That includes the upcoming I.D. BUZZ passenger van and the I.D. CROZZ electric crossover.
Using the newly adopted WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure), the 2022 Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ CARGO manages between 200 and 340 miles of range. On the shorter end, customers can spec a 48 kWh lithium-ion battery pack for city-based tasks like parcel delivery. If you do need more range, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO will also offer a 111 kWh battery option.
On the performance front, Volkswagen plans to fit a single 201 horsepower electric motor to the rear, mated to a single-speed transmission. The modular setup of this platform makes all-wheel drive a relatively straightforward option in the future by adding an electric motor in the front, should commercial customers demand it. The van’s top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph.
There’s always one question that pops up every time we discuss an electric vehicle. “What about charging?” According to Volkswagen, the larger battery pack can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes on a 150 kW DC fast-charger. Those sort of chargers aren’t widespread yet, but firms like Electrify America are adding them nationwide by next year. By the time the I.D. BUZZ CARGO hits dealer lots, there should be a robust infrastructure for supporting that sort of quick charging.
Volkswagen also plans to prepare the I.D. BUZZ CARGO for inductive charging. Just like your phone, you can park the van on a charging plate, then it will charge the van through an electromagnetic field between a coil in the floor and another in the vehicle.
The 2022 Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ CARGO wouldn’t be much of a commercial vehicle if it couldn’t haul anything. Overall, Volkswagen harks back to the old, flat-nosed Transporter in the new van’s design. It’s 198.7 inches long, 77.8 inches wide and 77.3 inches tall, with a 129.9 inch wheelbase. In fact, the latest concept is four inches longer than an earlier one shown in Detroit.
Maximum payload capacity for the 2022 Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ CARGO is limited to 1,760 pounds. That is higher than some current VW commercial vans (unavailable in the U.S.), but it is lower than similarly-sized, gasoline-powered commercial vans like the Mercedes-Benz Metris.
Cargo shelves inside the van actually have sensors installed – a feature developed in cooperation with German equipment specialist Sortimo. That, in theory, lets users track items on the shelves through a company’s order management system and Volkswagen’s ConnectedVan fleet app.
Where the 2022 Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ CARGO handily beats its gas-powered ancestors is in technology. It still does have a steering wheel, meaning you can drive the van yourself. What’s more, the Augmented Reality heads-up display and cameras in lieu of rear view mirrors add a futuristic touch. Not to mention the “Play” and “Pause” icons etched into the pedals.
Should you want the van to take over the driving, customers can engage the automated “I.D. Pilot” mode. By pushing a button on the steering wheel for a few seconds, the wheel then retracts into the instrument panel. From there, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is totally autonomous. The driver can then swivel the seat up to 15 degrees to the right to use the van’s on-board laptop.
Once the van pulls up to a job site, its driver can use an integrated workbench that can be folded out from the back. The van also has 230-volt, 16-amp electrical sockets so you can use power tools from the van itself.
At this point, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is still a concept, so pricing and exact release date are out of the question at this point. Hopefully we should know more closer to Volkswagen’s planned 2022 production run. Stay tuned!