it's almost vantime —

A bigger battery and three rows of seats for US-market VW ID Buzz

Everyone's favorite EV minivan goes on sale in North America in 2024.

A blue VW ID Buzz and an orange VW T2 with some wildflowers in the foreground
Enlarge / The Buzz is an electric interpretation of the classic T2 from 1950.

Good news, everyone—it's almost Volkswagen ID Buzz time. The electric minivan loved even by people who hate cars went into production in Europe last year, but only the short-wheelbase, five-seat version. Ars spent some time driving one in Denmark, where we discovered it to be quite charming but needed a few tweaks for its voyage to America. Today, VW has finally unveiled the ID Buzz that will go on sale here next year. The wheelbase is longer, and there's that important third row of seats. But it also has a bigger battery and a bit more power than the Euro-spec Buzz.

The Buzz's layout remains unchanged. There's a battery pack between the axles, but those axles are about 10 inches farther apart, and the pack now has a gross capacity of 91 kWh, an increase of 8 kWh compared to the two-row Buzz.

You don't have to get your Buzz in two-tone paint, but it helps.
Enlarge / You don't have to get your Buzz in two-tone paint, but it helps.

The Buzz can be specified either with a single-motor, rear-wheel drive powertrain or with a dual-motor, all-wheel drive setup. There's a new, larger rear motor than the unit we've seen in other VW BEVs that use the same modular platform (called MEB). It's still a permanent magnet synchronous motor, but it generates 282 hp (210 kW) and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm). The total power output for the AWD Buzz is 330 hp (246 kW).

That should make for a zippier Buzz than the one we tested last summer, even accounting for the added mass. Indeed, it has a slightly higher top speed now—99 mph (159 km/h) as opposed to 90 mph (145 km/h). You won't want to spend much time going that fast unless you like charging, but VW hasn't yet told us the estimated range of this variant, nor how long it takes to charge. We do know that it has a drag coefficient of 0.29.

Is the ID Buzz the first electric minivan?
Enlarge / Is the ID Buzz the first electric minivan?

In most regards, the three-row Buzz is much like the two-row. The dash still features a wood look, plus plenty of storage pockets and USB-C charging ports, and the commanding view out the front ought to be unchanged. Step in through the side doors and things are a bit different, however, as there are now two rows of seats back there. They're not removable, but the seats slide fore and aft and fold flat to create a level cargo area.

One big criticism I had with the two-door Buzz was the lack of any ventilation in the rear, a problem exacerbated by the fact that its windows were fixed. Well, someone was listening because flicking through the photos that VW sent over shows there are now vents and climate controls embedded in the roof lining. And there are sliding windows in the doors now, too.

The infotainment system is new, too—despite looking a lot like the one I've played with, VW says it's the same upgraded system that's going in the ID.7 sedan, which also goes on sale here in 2024.

The most important unanswered question we have is: "How much will the ID Buzz cost?" But car makers tend not to give out that kind of information until a few weeks before they put a model on sale, so for now, we wait.

Channel Ars Technica