The VW minibus is back, and it’s a lot more eco-friendly than the iconic, 1960s version. In fact, it’s going to be available for sale in North America in late 2024 as an all-electric vehicle called the ID. Buzz.
While the van life trend has dissipated over the last few years, Americans do like having plenty of room in their cars, and having it in an environmentally-friendly way is even better. The leaders of Volkswagen tend to agree. Pablo Di Si, President and CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America, says the ID. Buzz has three rows of seats and is “designed and tailor-made for the North American consumer,” Di Si said, according to CNN. This minibus is about 10 inches longer than the two-row model.
For those too young to remember, this potent pop culture symbol represented a movement of people who longed to make love, not war. It appeared on the cover of a seminal hippie-era album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.” California surfer dude Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) tumbled out of it (in a cloud of pot smoke) in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” And it was often referred to as the hippie van fueled by flower power.
But time passed, hippies got older and eventually, the microbus left the U.S. in the 1970s. It ended its global production in 2012.
“With this model, we are taking a big step towards becoming a true love brand again,” Di Si said in a press release. “The ID. Buzz and the USA – it’s a perfect match! The VW bus has a long history in the USA and enjoys real cult status. Our aim today is to further strengthen the Volkswagen brand in America.”
This version has some big differences from the original. For one thing, it’s a lot more powerful. Its electric motor can produce 282 horsepower, which is more than 10 times the horsepower of an early VW Minibus. Car buyers can also choose an all-wheel-drive version, which has a top speed of 99 miles per hour.