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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.

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