After several false starts, Volkswagen finally brought the spirit of the original Bus into the 21st century when it unveiled the people- and passenger-carrying variants of the electric ID. Buzz in March 2022. Turning the ID.Buzz concept, which made its debut in January 2017, into a production model was easier said than done, and the Wolfsburg-based company released a documentary that details the process.
Posted on YouTube and embedded above, the 42-minute video takes viewers through nearly every phase of the van’s development. It starts by providing an overview of the Buzz’s vast heritage, which begins with the T1 (often called Bulli or simply Bus) released in 1949. It then gives a behind-the-scenes look at how Volkswagen built the first prototypes, the various endurance tests that the model went through, and the different design phases. Integrating autonomous technology was an important part of the development process, too: Volkswagen will start testing self-driving, ID. Buzz-based prototype shuttles powered by technology provided by Argo AI in Hamburg, Germany, in 2025.
Volkswagen’s video also looks at what’s under the Buzz’s sheet metal, and it ends with a fascinating overview of how the van is built in Hanover, Germany. Part of the decades-old factory was retooled to build the MEB-based Buzz alongside the Transporter. Robots handle much of the production process, but human input remains crucial — and, for some, working in the Volkswagen plant is a family tradition.
ID. Buzz deliveries are scheduled to start before the end of 2022 across Europe. Americans will need to be more patient: we’ll get a long-wheelbase variant that hasn’t been unveiled yet, and that should land in showrooms in 2024 as a 2025 model. However, only the passenger-carrying model has received clearance to travel to America. We won’t see the cargo-hauling van here due to the Chicken Tax. That’s also a family tradition: the 25% tariff levied on imported trucks since 1964 kept commercial variants of many older Bus models at bay as well.