The thing about the original VW Bus was that it was a car to enjoy with others. Family, friends, hitchhikers, strangers, vagrants, animals. It didn't really matter, but it was a car that was built around community and travel together. Along with the Beetle, the Bus gave VW its quirky, friendly reputation that still exists among many.
Of course, the Beetle didn't last forever, and neither did the Bus. The most recent van that VW sold in the US is the Routan, which was a Town & Country with a new body. Abroad, VW's vans are staid and boring, nothing about them is reminiscent of the Bus, even though VW has presented Bus concepts through the years to show that they still know what made them famous.
This is one of those concepts, but a concept that also has a chance of making it to production in the next decade.
Dubbed the I.D. Buzz, this is an electric, autonomous reincarnation of the bus that made VW into a darling of the generation that loved Pink Floyd, hallucinogens, and the environment. It's like a bionic version of the classic bus.
At least that's how it looks from the outside. It's like someone from the future described the old bus to a friendly drawing robot that had never seen the original.
This one utilizes the new MEB platform, which will underpin VW's electric offerings going forward. VW is very proud of this, saying that it will be the platform to remake the company as a leader in electric cars. In this application, it's all-wheel drive and has a total system output of 369 horsepower. That's good for a range of 270 miles in the US, a 5 second run to 60, and a limited top speed of 99 mph. VW also says that it should be able to equip it with a rear-wheel drive setup good for 268 horsepower. Of course, there'd be less range with that version.
The big deal here, of course, is the autonomous features of the bus which makes it more of a communal experience. In I.D. Pilot mode, the BUZZ retracts the steering wheel and allows the driver's seat to swivel a full 180 degrees to face the other passengers. That way the driver and passengers can all talk about how terrible driving is and how great their organic snacks (they'll be eating organic snacks, right?) are.
If we have to have autonomous cars, this seems like a great design for one. It's about a relaxed mode of travel instead of a numbers game. It doesn't need to be super quick. It just needs to be a comfortable, roomy place to spend time. That's what this is.
Will it go into production? Not like this. Not in a million years. But if VW is going to build an autonomous car, we could see it being very much like this. It's the perfect opportunity to make VW that fun, friendly company once again.
From: Road & Track
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.