Volkswagen Microbus To Return As Electric Vehicle

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Image credit: Volkswagen

Volkswagen to show production version of all-electric Microbus in March, with sales set to begin in US next year amidst soaring interest in EVs

Volkswagen is to bring back its iconic camper van – also known as the Microbus or Kombi – in an all-electric format, the company has announced.

A production version of the ID.Buzz vehicle is to be shown on 9 March, with a commercial launch planned for the United States in late 2023 or early 2024.

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess first announced the news in a Twitter message, saying “The legend returns on 03/09/22!”, with a sketch of the profile of the ID.Buzz van.

Image credit: Volkswagen
Image credit: Volkswagen

Electric van

The electric vehicle is one of “the most anticipated and most hyped” models from the Volkswagen brand since the new Beetle in the late 1990s, said Scott Keogh, head of Volkswagen’s North American operations, during a media call.

The launch comes amidst ongoing microprocessor shortages that Keogh said would continue to limit vehicle production and sales in the US through this year.

He said he believes as many as two million potential car buyers didn’t purchase a vehicle in 2021 due to lack of supply, adding to pent-up demand.

Interest in electric vehicles has soared over the past two years, led by Elon Musk’s Tesla, with electric models from Ford and others also seeing strong demand.

Volkswagen’s ID.4 electric vehicle. Image credit: Volkswagen

Long wait

Volkswagen has shown a series of prototypes for a revamped Microbus since 2001, when it showed a Microbus Concept at the Detroit Auto Show, with later models including the Budd.E and the Bulli. But until now none of those concepts have ever made it into production.

The concept that forms the basis of the current ID.Buzz was first shown in 2017, also at the Detroit Auto Show.

Volkswagen is to launch a three-row version in the US, along with a two-row version in Europe.

The company said it isn’t yet planning to manufacture the vehicle at its US plant in Chattanooga, but intends to ramp up production of its ID.4 electric SUV there this year.

Chip shortages and other constraints led electric vehicle start-up Rivian to cut production in 2021, and last month the company further delayed production of long-range vehicles until 2023.

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