The decision in favor of an electric “Bulli” has been made – 2022 will see the introduction of the I.D. BUZZ
The I.D. BUZZ goes into production.
Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, announced at Pebble Beach, California. Diess said: “History and future, Pebble Beach and Silicon Valley – all of these aspects are combined in this automobile.” The Concours d’Elegance event at Pebble Beach featured extraordinary historical cars as well as new concept vehicles. “This is the perfect place for the I.D. BUZZ,” explained Diess. “It represents an important pillar for Volkswagen’s electric strategy and transports the Bulli driving experience into the future.”
A time plan
Marking the start of the development for the production model, there is also already a time plan: The I.D. BUZZ will be on the road by 2022. The compact I.D. featuring four doors will be introduced prior to that. Both fully electric models belonging to the I.D. family are aimed primarily at the markets in North America, Europe and China.
Volkswagen is currently continuing to develop the I.D. BUZZ for series production. Diess explained the decision to go into production: “Ever since our appearance at the international trade fairs in Detroit and Geneva, we have received a lot of letters from customers asking us to: ‘Please build this car!’” Furthermore, it is no coincidence that Pebble Beach was selected as the place for making the announcement: “The Microbus, which is how the Bulli is referred to in America, has always been a symbol of the Californian lifestyle,” said Diess. “Now we are bringing it back, by developing the next e-generation of Volkswagen and redefining the Bulli as an electric vehicle in the process.”
“Show Car of the Year”
The I.D. BUZZ was honored as “Show Car of the Year” at the Detroit Motor Show at the beginning of the year. The batteries will be situated on the vehicle floor when it goes into production. The concept vehicle will be nearly five meters long, 1.97 meters wide and 1.96 meters high. Due to the fact that the electric drive requires very little space, the front and rear axle are far apart, thus allowing for a large wheelbase. “That’s why the car can be short like a compact van, but is able to offer as much room as a transporter inside,” said Diess. This is a superior package which offers both the driver and passengers plenty of room to travel comfortably.
Plus space for cargo: “In addition to the bus version, there will also be an I.D. BUZZ CARGO, which will symbolize emission-free deliveries and as a level-3 vehicle, will be capable of highly automated driving. An ideal electric transporter concept, especially for city centers,” explains Eckhard Scholz, Chairman of the Board of Management for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The I.D. BUZZ – the fans' heartthrob
What a great entrance at Pebble Beach! The I.D.BUZZ steals the show from the exclusive models presented by other marques at the event.
And avid Volkswagen fans like David Bernardo give the newcomer a rapturous reception. For the American, the fact that the I.D. BUZZ will be going into series production "is a tremendous opportunity for Volkswagen".
Monterey, the golfers' paradise in California, is a special place. Once a year, automotive enthusiasts from all over the world gather there to admire prized collector cars, several of which are worth many millions of dollars. This year, though, the show's crowd-puller is a car of the future rather than a classic model. Volkswagen is presenting the new I.D. BUZZ. And people are electrified.
Volkswagen is presenting the new I.D. BUZZ. And people are electrified.
First, the e-van glides silently onto the stage. Then Herbert Diess, the Volkswagen brand CEO, and Eckhard Scholz, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, break the news that the I.D. BUZZ will be going into production – and talk of a mini-sensation spreads like wildfire. Standing in the crowd, David Bernardo agrees. His eyes shine.
A dream come true
The former art director from Silicon Valley can hardly believe it. For 15 years now, he's been hoping to hear those words, and at last it is really going to happen: the "Microbus", as the Bulli is called in the U.S., is getting a successor. "It's a dream come true, I so wanted Volkswagen to build the Buzz. And that's exactly what they're going to do!" The 52-year-old's face lights up as the cameras flash.
Love of Volkswagen
Bernardo is the quintessential Volkswagen fan. His passion began when he saw a Beetle parked in his neighbor's driveway. "That was back sometime in the 70s. American roads were mainly full of big, heavy limousines. But I immediately fell in love with that small, rounded silhouette, and then there was the distinctive sound of a Beetle engine – I was captivated …", David recalls. He bought his first Beetle as soon as he was old enough to drive. It was followed by a Karmann Ghia and even a 1965 Samba Bus. Somewhere along the line Bernardo's love of Volkswagen went so far that he quit his lucrative job in Silicon Valley and moved with his wife Bonnie to San Diego, 400 miles away, to set up his company called Zelectric.
"I immediately fell in love with that small, rounded silhouette, and then there was the distinctive sound of a Beetle engine – I was captivated."
"Zelectric came into being because I got really fed up thinking about whether there would be enough oil and gas. I asked myself: why not put an electric drive in a Beetle? And anyway, I was tired of the Silicon Valley hustle and wanted to do my own thing …" Not long after that, Bernardo combined work with pleasure and registered Zelectric Motors as a company in the U.S. Bernardo has been outfitting air-cooled Volkswagen like the Beetle, the Bulli, and sometimes even the Karmann Ghia and Things, with electric powertrains since 2006. Bernardo – the forerunner of Volkswagen's electric offensive in America.
"I want to change as little as possible on every Volkswagen I convert. The electric motor adapts to the aesthetics of each car. With its orange cables it's almost a work of art in its own right."
Visitors to pebble beach like making personal statements of all kinds. The highly-polished bodywork of the oldtimers reflects cigar-smoking gentlemen and the whacky hats of their female companions, each one vying to be the pinnacle of millinery fashion. Once a year, for several days in late summer, Monterey is all about "seeing and being seen". Automotive enthusiasts from all over the world come together in this beautiful spot in California on the U.S. West Coast to admire collector cars whose value has soared to astronomic heights. The Concours d'Elegance, the event's grand finale, testifies to the owners' pride in their wonderful automobiles.
Freedom on wheels
California is a particularly historic place for the Volkswagen Bulli, too. Initially designed as a "workhorse" for Germany, only a few years later and over ten thousand kilometers further west it became the symbol of a generation that stood for "freedom on wheels". The Woodstock flower children and the West Coast surfers lost their hearts to the Bulli – a love affair that continues to the present day. The Bulli was and is Californian cult. From professional surfers to eternal travelers: they all say no other mobile solution can compare with the Bulli. Its friendly face adorns T-shirts and accessories in almost every surfer shop. From Santa Cruz to San Diego.
Vibrant Volkswagen tradition
Now, this movement has the chance to live on. In a different way, quieter, more progressive. An armada of T1 is lined up on the Pebble Beach lawn. Complete with fans. They represent the vibrant Volkswagen tradition. And they all want to welcome the successor. The I.D. BUZZ is a hit, the spectators are – quite literally – buzzing.
"Have you seen the Buzz?"
No, this isn't about a 1963 Rolls-Royce, and it's not about the gentleman wearing the red socks, either. "Have you seen the Buzz?" is the question people are asking. "An e-Bulli". In the World Wide Web, the shares and likes are soaring. There are posts on the I.D. BUZZ, the scoop in the automobile universe, in blogs and on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The white-and-yellow silhouette adorns almost every network, often closely followed by a string of exclamation marks and heart emojis. It's really coming! At last! Love!!! The mood infects a group of surfers passing through, too. They take a seat and decide on the spot: Yep, their fleet needs the I.D.BUZZ.
David Bernardo wholeheartedly echoes that sentiment: "You can add me to the waiting list right now!" he calls to the Volkswagen CEO, who smiles back. "This is a tremendous opportunity for Volkswagen, I'm so excited!" He wants to be one of the first to drive the I.D. BUZZ once it goes on sale in 2022.
The power of a unique tradition – the I.D. BUZZ concept vehicle meets the first generation of the VW bus (T1)
I.D. BUZZ – the vehicle has not yet gone on sale and therefore Directive 1999/94 EC does not apply.