Camper. Bulli. Hippie van. That Volkswagen’s second- most-recognisable vehicle, the Type 2 of 1950-1975, has been known by so many names in so many different places around the world is evidence of just how widely and well loved it was and of the many purposes that it served.
But the nickname that’s most relevant to us now is another one again: Microbus, or just Bus for short. That’s the one to which Volkswagen now refers with the rather cutesy handle of its much-anticipated, all-electric modern successor for the celebrated Type 2: the ID Buzz.
The finished version is slightly less cutesy to look at than it has been in concept form, however, or that the memory of the Type 2 might make you expect. There are reasons for that, some of which you will probably predict and others we will explain as we go. It’s still great looking, though, and really distinctive for a monocab.
Volkswagen has somehow resisted the temptation to make the van’s mandatory electronic low-speed pedestrian safety noise something akin to a low-flying bumblebee, which goes down as a missed opportunity in my book. Even so, it’s surprisingly agreeable to drive, too.
The ID Buzz concept caused what its maker calls a “sensational response” when it was first shown back in 2017, but that wasn’t the first time that we had been promised a new Type 2. There were not-dissimilar show cars in the 2010s and the Microbus concept of 2001, which caused as great a stir as any of the others. This ‘car’ has certainly been coming a while, then, but finally it’s (nearly) here.
The fourth of Volkswagen’s ID-branded electric vehicles, it will go into production in the German city of Hanover this summer and start appearing in the UK and in European markets in the autumn, before enjoying what’s expected to be a particularly warm reception in North America in 2023.