Skip to Content
Smart cities

Volkswagen’s Iconic Microbus Is Back—and This Time, It’s Autonomous and Electric

August 21, 2017

The original Volkswagen microbus may have appealed to all of our inner hippies, but the green credentials of the engine that propelled it would surely now bring a tear to their eyes. Good news, then: Volkswagen has announced that it’s bringing the old vehicle back to life with electric power.

The new I.D. Buzz, as it’s called, was shown as a concept at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year but will go into production and on sale in 2022. The van has a design that’s based on the old vehicle, but that’s about where the similarities stop: the new version has four electric motors that create 369 horsepower and a 111-kilowatt/hour battery to provide a range of almost 300 miles. It can charge to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes.

As Roadshow points out, though, its most fundamental difference may be an autonomy pack that’s expected to be available on the van by 2025. The idea, at least, is that the driver will be able to hand full control to the vehicle itself, then have the front seats rotate 180 degrees to make use of the famous communal space while the vehicle is in motion. That is, of course, driverless cars the way that futurists tend to imagine them—so it will be interesting to see if Volkswagen can make it a reality in the coming years.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.