Volkswagen's Mini Bus Is Coming Back And It's All Electric

Volkswagen has announced the reboot of its iconic minibus, and this time it's electric. 


Nov. 19 2020, Updated 9:41 p.m. ET

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Source: Volkswagen

Good news for all you nostalgia buffs: The iconic VW minibus is back, and this time it's going to be devoid of the noxious fumes that come with the originals. That's right – the new minibus is going electric

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Called the I.D. BUZZ, the new VW will be an eco-friendly four-door van with a range of 270 miles, 369 horsepower from an all-electric drivetrain, and a 111 kWh battery pack can reach 80 percent charge in 30 minutes. The only downside is you'll have to wait a bit: the BUZZ won't hit showrooms until 2022.

Volkswagon announced their new project at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey, California last week, a decision the company made as a nod to the role California played in creating the culture that made the minibus an icon.

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"This vehicle unites past and future, as well as Pebble Beach and Silicon Valley," Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess said in a statement. "The Microbus has long been part of the California lifestyle. Now we're bringing it back by reinventing it as an electric vehicle."

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The new electric bus is part of Volkswagen's grander goal of introducing 30 electric or hybrid models by 2025 and sell two to three million of them a year, a response to last year's Volkswagen emissions scandal.

The original minibus hit the market in 1950 and quickly became a symbol of America's counterculture movement. Hippies traveled across the country in the buses, following the Grateful around, posting up at rallies or living an off-the-grid lifestyle in the converted campers. It was such a symbol of the movement that when Grateful Dead guitarist and cultural icon Jerry Garcia died, Volkswagen ran an ad of the bus with a single teardrop as an homage. 

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After many iterations and a long history, the bus was discontinued in 2013 due to its lack of modern safety requirements, including airbags and anti-lock brakes. Then in 2016, VW unveiled a new version called the BUDD-E, a high-tech electric concept able to get up to 373 miles on a single charge. And now it has introduced the I.D. BUZZ, a concept more closely harkens back to the original minibus.

VW is not alone in its quest to crack the case of the eco-friendly long-range recreational vehicle. The announcement of the I.D. Buzz comes in close succession to the announcement of a solar-powered electric motorhome by another German company, Dethleffs. And both companies join the rush of unconventional vehicles taking advantage of rechargeable technologies: There are electric semi-trucks, solar-powered tiny homes, and an influx of renewables-powered everyday vehicles. Still, nothing quite beats the sentimental dream of a cross country roadtrip in VW bus. And now you can match that dream to your eco-friendly, guilt-free lifestyle. 

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