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The electric version of Volkswagen’s classic bus is getting closer to American showrooms.

Dan Carney

June 2, 2023

10 Slides

Volkswagen’s long-awaited revival of the classic VW hippie bus took another step toward 2024 U.S. sales with the debut of the U.S.-specification version of the electric ID.Buzz that is already on sale in Europe.

American drivers get a version that is longer and more powerful than the Euro-spec van that Design News tested in November. This long-wheelbase version is ten inches longer, with a like amount of extra distance between its axles.

That leaves space for a bigger 91-kilowatt-hour battery pack in place of the 263-mile 82-kWh pack in the Euro version of the van. To help move the added mass of the longer vehicle and bigger battery, VW has upgraded the rear-mounted APP550 electric motor from 201 horsepower to 282 hp, with 406 lb.-ft. of torque. An available front motor provides optional all-wheel drive and a combined 330 hp.

The upgraded motor boosts the ID.Buzz’s top speed from an electronically limited 90 mph for the Euro version to 99 mph for the U.S. van. Which is approximately twice the speed capability of an original VW bus when it was loaded with Deadheads en route to the next show.

Unlike those smoky old buses, the ID.Buzz produces no local emissions, and as the U.S. electric grid increasingly weans off of fossil fuels, much reduced total pollution. “The zero-direct emission ID. Buzz is the spiritual reincarnation of the Microbus, reimagined for our electric future,” said Pablo Di Si, President, and CEO of Volkswagen of America, Inc. “It is practical, sustainable, and packaged in an unmistakably fun way that is classic Volkswagen. With its launch, the Bus will once again become our brand hero in America.”

The power bump for the U.S. van comes through stronger permanent magnets in the rotor that provide a higher thermal load capacity, along with a newly developed stator that has a larger effective number of wiring turns and a larger maximum wire cross-section. On top of this is a water-cooling jacket for the outside of the stator to shed heat, and a combined oil and water-cooling system for still higher thermal stability. 

Check out additional details on the revived VW bus in the photo gallery.

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