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The Volkswagen microbus of the “Make Love, Not War” era is one of the most iconic vehicles ever made, and the German automaker has reimagined the hippy van as a futuristic EV.
The Volkswagen ID Buzz Concept, an interesting name considering the old microbus’ connection to cannabis culture, made its global debut at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Showcasing the automaker’s new focus on alternative powertrains that are not diesel, the ID Buzz Concept is fully electric and has a claimed driving range of 270 miles.
Of course, the zero-emissions, all-wheel-drive ID Buzz concept is capable of fully autonomous driving, so the driver’s seat can be turned to face the rear passengers and the steering wheel can retract into the dashboard. Volkswagen says the autonomous driving system used in this concept could see real roads by 2025.
ALSO SEE: Full 2017 Detroit Auto Show Coverage
Thanks to a floor-mounted 111 kWh battery, the energy storage system doesn’t take up any passenger or cargo room while also keeping the vehicle’s center of gravity low for better driving dynamics. The battery can be charged to 80 percent in half an hour using a 150 kW outlet. Total system output for the ID Buzz is rated at 369 horsepower and each axle has an electric motor, which means the van is AWD. VW says the ID Buzz can hit 60 mph in about five seconds and it has a limited top speed of 99 mph.
Inside, the ID Buzz has an augmented reality head-up display, touch-capacitive surfaces, flexible seating, a wood floor, an integrated and removable tablet, a panoramic roof, and more. The third row can be turned into a bed and the second row can be reconfigured as tables.
With a cargo capacity of between 23.3 to 162.5 cubic feet inside and a 6.1 cu-ft front trunk, the ID Buzz also “offers an extraordinarily spacious interior.” The car also recognizes individual drivers using their smartphone signature and can remember their unique settings and preferences. All the doors are power-operated and can be opened via sensors.
The ID Buzz is built on VW’s Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), which will be used to underpin its future electric cars. And true to retro form, the ID Buzz has a charming look and two-tone paint job. This isn’t the first modern microbus concept Volkswagen has released, but they never cease to delight the hippies at heart.