Volkswagen’s new I.D. Buzz concept is a self-driving, battery-powered minivan with a style that reminds me of the Type 2 “Microbus” of the 1950s and 1960s. The very green machine can go 270 miles on a full charge and also sprint to 60-mph in just 5 seconds, thanks to the combined 369-horsepower of its front and rear electric motors.
When its autonomous I.D. Pilot mode is engaged, a rectangular, spoke-less steering wheel tucks away into the dashboard as small disc-shaped laser scanners rise up from the four corners of the roof. This LIDAR system works along with cameras, ultrasonic sensors and cloud-connected navigation to take full control of the vehicle.
The three-row interior allows for both front captain’s chairs to be turned toward the rear of the vehicle when it’s doing the driving to create a lounge space, complete with a center table. The seating can also be turned into a variety of footrests and beds, as desired.
A VW executive at the show says they are definitely going to build this concept, but did not commit to a specific timeframe.