Volkswagen is working to rebrand itself as an electric eco-friendly carmaker. “We are making electric mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen,” the German automaker said in a recent statement, prudently distancing itself from the diesel car business where it has scandalous history of cheating emissions tests.
On Sunday, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the world’s second largest carmaker unveiled its electric iteration of the classic VW bus (affectionately known as the hippie-mobile). The modern refresh of the iconic microbus has been dubbed the I.D. Buzz. Buzz is a play on the word ‘bus’ whereas I.D. stands for anything from ‘Idea’ to ‘Intelligent Design’.
The electric microbus comes with a 369-horsepower, all-wheel drive system and 270 miles of range coming from two electric motors that can take the bus from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds.
The I.D. Buzz comes with I.D. Pilot autonomous driving capabilities. When autonomous driving is engaged, the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard and the front seats can rotate 180 degrees to face backwards, allowing the driver to participate in backseat revelry.
“The overall concept of the I.D. BUZZ points the way to the future,” VW board member Frank Welsch said. “This concept vehicle is the world’s first electric multi-purpose vehicle to be equipped with a fully autonomous driving mode. It carries the feeling of freedom of the Microbus over to a completely new era of mobility.”
Volkswagen has plans to start producing the cars around 2020.