The van of tomorrow, really

Volkswagen is reviving the Type 2 Transporter Delivery Van of the ’60s with its new I.D. Cargo Buzz Concept which was presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover, Germany. As a sibling to the I.D. Buzz it uses the same MEB platform and will come as early as 2021 with a variety of battery options to suit anyone and everyone’s needs.

Update 11/27/2018: The Volkswagen I.D. Cargo Buzz Concept is making it’s auto show debut here in Los Angeles, so we’ve finally got a real good look at it. Check out our review below to see all the new pictures.

What makes the 2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Special?

2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Exterior
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Electrification is a hot topic in the automotive industry right now, but nowhere more so than at Volkswagen. The Germans show they are committed to an all-electric future by preparing a whole line of electric cars using their first purpose-built platform known as MEB, which stands for ”Modularer Elektrobaukasten” or Modular Electric Drive Kit.

The I.D. Buzz Cargo, which is the utilitarian brother of the I.D. Buzz unveiled at last year’s Detroit Auto Show, is a project that was mainly handled by Volkswagen’s Commercial Vehicles division with help from the Passenger Cars division which took care of the I.D. Buzz people carrier. The two share the same design language that looks back at the original Transporter while also looking futuristic. The original round dual headlights are replaced by clever LEDs that also interact with the passersby although the oversized Volkswagen badge in the middle of the nose is kept.

Another key design element that stood the test of time is the two-tone exterior with a thick demarcation line that runs across the bodywork.

The lower part of the front bumper is also featuring a number of LEDs which give the car a happy alure.

2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Drivetrain
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While the front overhang is short as a follow-up of the original design which came that way because the engine was placed in the back – which is also where the electric engine and incorporated single-speed gearbox are placed on the new concept – the rear overhang is 4 inches longer than on the I.D. Buzz for greater cargo space. With that being said, the I.D. Buzz Cargo is conceived as a compact van to sit under the Crafter in Volkswagen’s lineup, with a total payload of 1,760 pounds.

The I.D. Buzz Cargo’s major selling point is its ability to house battery packs of varying capacities depending on the needs of the customer.

This is a feature not limited to the Buzz Cargo but one that is to be found on the whole I.D. family. As such, range can be extended to as much as 340 miles on one charge while a roof-mounted solar panel system can increase range by over 9 miles.

Inside, the I.D. Cargo Buzz has a double bench-seat on the passenger’s side with the one in the middle transitioning easily to a folded position from which an in-car computer can be accessed by the driver. The driver’s seat rotates to the right in such a way to improve ergonomics while using the computer. You’ll even be able to work on the computer as the car drives along, Volkswagen employing the ”I.D. Pilot” system to have the Cargo Buzz manage itself at Level 4 autonomy.

2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Interior
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In the cargo area, there is an intelligent shelving system which improves access while also staying in touch via the internet with the stock department in the warehouse as well as incoming orders. This means that you’ll be able to stay on top of your business even while you’re on the move.

The I.D. Buzz Cargo is a sign of things to come as far as Utility EVs go.

It has a modular platform that can adopt multiple battery packages, futuristic design with a retro infusion and a ton of useful innovations aboard for the small (or big) business of tomorrow. Even the mundane rearview mirrors are no more, being replaced by cameras that project whatever’s behind you on little screens inside.

Remember how we all marveled at the heads-up display of the Chevrolet Corvette C5 back when it was new? Well, the I.D. Buzz Cargo has a much-improved iteration of that. In essence, it comes with a 3D augmented reality display which shows you key information straight ahead so that you can keep your eyes on the road and incoming traffic. The infotainment unit is controllable via a tablet positioned on the center console. A steering wheel still exists, albeit minimalistic, but it retracts when you engage the autonomous driving system.

2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Interior
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As mentioned, Volkswagen has worked with the rear cargo area. The Germans enlisted the help of Sortimo to create an integrated, internet-connected, customer-specific shelving system that is controlled from up front. Volkswagen claims that ”By means of a mobile radio network, the functional control unit might communicate with a company’s job or order-management system, theoretically making it possible to track all articles on the shelves. This enables precise online management of the type and quantity of freight and equipment.” The I.D. Buzz Cargo will also benefit from the use of the ConnectedVan system which makes you the mastermind of your fleet of vehicles with just a few clicks.

On top of what already may seem like a sci-fi conundrum of sorts to old school fleet owners and truck drivers, Volkswagen also boasts with the ability to ”accept, [during autonomous driving], schedule, and process orders from the driver’s workplace. Thanks to the connected shelving system’s data it is also possible to perform order-related stock checks while on the move.”

All this means that you’ll more easily manage your orders, deliver them quickly without any item lost or misplaced and keep track easier of your stock and the operation as a whole.

The shelving system will also ”remember” when you’ve unloaded some of the items from its cargo and can issue invoices and record working times.

There are also 230V sockets inside to power your tools from the battery charge.

2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Exterior
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The Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo is equipped with an electric motor capable of delivering 201 horsepower and an electronically-limited top speed of 99 mph via its single-speed automatic transmission. The option of AWD is not out of the question for the production model. The manufacturer has also stated that the lower capacity battery which is able to hold 48kWh can be charged up to 80% in just 15 minutes using a fast charging 150 kWh DC system. The longer range (111 kWh) battery system will take 30 minutes to fast charge up to 80%.

Charging the van via inductive panels on the ground is also an option. Volkswagen says that the car’s coil will create an electromagnetic field with the coil in the ground which will, in turn, charge the car up with 11kw of charging power. We can finally, frantically say that the future is now! Or, well, in just three-years time.

2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Exterior
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Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Exterior Dimensions

Length 198.7 in
Width 77.8 in
Height 77.3 in
Wheelbase 129.9 in

Further Reading

2018 Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion Concept.

2017 Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz.

Volkswagen Tries to Impress with the CROZZ II – Because One Ugly SUV Wasn't Enough High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen I.D. Crozz II

2017 Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen I.D. Crozz

2016 Volkswagen I.D. Concept High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Read our full review on the 2016 Volkswagen ID Concept.

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