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Volkswagen ID Buzz 2023: the all-electric Kombi for a new generation

John Law

The Kombi’s return has been a long time coming and the ID Buzz indicates Volkswagen could come through with the goods as soon as next year

Volkswagen has been building the anticipation of a Kombi successor for a long time – 20 years, in fact.

Starting with the iconic 2001 Microbus concept, Volkswagen has slowly evolved the concept to the point where a Kombi-inspired, zero-emissions ID Buzz may come to market as early as next year.

Is this the next generation Kombi?

Sure, Volkswagen has given us some Kombi-like vehicles in the past, including the current Transporter-based California, but none have truly captured the spirit of the air-cooled originals. 

We have few precise details of the ID Buzz, however, as the only real mention of the vehicle itself in recent months is a brief appearance at the end of the reveal video for Volkswagen’s new ID5 electric coupe crossover.

Dressed in psychedelic camouflage – which is rather fitting given the ‘hippie’ reputation of the 1950-67 original – the ID Buzz provides some hints to the form this EV Kombi successor will take. 

Cool camouflage isn’t hiding the proportions of the ID Buzz.

Klaus Zellmer, Volkswagen board member hinted that “[the ID Buzz] is something we’ll talk more about in the beginning of next year: it’s the ID Buzz, an addition to our ID family.”

ID Buzz Exterior design: a Kombi for this decade

Firstly, like the original it’s shaped like a van, and that’s a good thing. The practical shape of ID Buzz should capture the camping-friendly nature of the original Kombi, and hopefully some of its unique flavour, too.

On the return of a Kombi-like vehicle, Mr Zellmer commented “[the ID Buzz] is something that lets my heart beat much faster.”

Next to the ID5 midsize SUV, the Buzz doesn’t look huge.

While it’s hard to pin down the ID Buzz’s proportions on video, next to the ID5 midsize SUV the van doesn’t look huge. In fact, it seems to fit somewhere between the current Caddy and Transporter in size, and is much smaller than VW’s original 2001 Microbus concept

The evolution from the 2018 ID Buzz concept to (near) production model is clear – the proportions and overall design carryover almost unchanged.

However, on the latest vehicles there are details that appear near production ready, including the realistically sized alloy wheels, functional door handles and exposed sliding-door tracks. To our eyes, it appears ready to ditch its camo and hit the showrooms. 

But does it look as good as the 2001 concept?

Additionally, there are styling details to tie it into the existing ID range including unique surfacing on the front bumper, wraparound front glass and consistent use of LED lighting signatures.

Yet there are few hints of the original split-window Kombi, or its bay-window successor. The glasshouse looks more Transporter with conventional window placements, and it’s a much smoother, more aerodynamic design overall. 

We can’t help feel a tinge of sadness that the ID Buzz doesn’t quite match the gorgeous 2001 Microbus concept in its exquisite shape and detailing, but the return of the Kombi is still highly anticipated. 

ID Buzz underpinnings, power and range

Volkswagen has only teased images of ID Buzz, but it’s unlikely to be so much bigger than existing ID models that it requires a bespoke platform. That means it will probably utilise the same MEB architecture as the ID4, ID3, and forthcoming ID Life. 

Here’s the 2018 concept – you can see the clear resemblance to the new car.

Expect the ID Buzz to be able to achieve between 450-500km of range if the 77kWh battery continues as the largest available, though the van-like proportions could potentially make room for a larger battery pack. 

We don’t anticipate Volkswagen to increase outputs over the maximum 220kW/560Nm of the ID5 GTX, as a Kombi successor wouldn’t need the extra acceleration. 

The ID Buzz is anticipated to be revealed next year, with it likely to go on sale in the US and Europe in either 2023, or early 2024.

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