The German brand’s reputation has been most heavily damaged in the USA, where the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal started in September 2015. And the crisis continues – a VW executive was arrested in Florida this week on his return from holiday.
The Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ is the third of the brand’s MEB electric concepts, following the BUDD-E and I.D. hatch both revealed in 2016. All are elements in Volkswagen’s bold plan to produce one million electric vehicles by 2025.
The latest concept reinvents the brand’s iconic Camper van that rose to fame in the ‘hippy era’ of the 1960s. However alongside its retro styling the car is a people carrier with seating for up to eight – Volkswagen believes it could appeal to ride-sharing companies such as Uber.
Range of the I.D.BUZZ is up to 373 miles on one charge under EU testing standards. More strict US standards quote a range of 270 miles. The energy comes from a 111kW battery pack that can be charged to 80 per cent in under 30 minutes.
First self-driving Volkswagen
Volkswagen describes the I.D.BUZZ as the brand’s first concept that can be driven fully automatically and the world’s first fully-autonomous MPV. The concept includes the fully automated ‘I.D. Pilot’ mode, expected to go into production in 2025.
Under I.D.Pilot a gentle push on the steering wheel moves it back into the cockpit panel, switching the car into the fully automated mode. The driver can then turn their seat to face the passengers in the back and enjoy a conversation or hold a meeting.
Meanwhile the car continues its journey using laser scanners, ultrasound sensors, radar sensors, area-view cameras and a front cameras to scan the surrounding area, with other traffic data being received via the Cloud.
Reaction of Detroit showgoers to the Volkswagen I.D.BUZZ could decide its future – if the signs are positive, a self-driving production MPV could launch within five years.