Five years of meticulous development have gone into the creation of the VW ID Buzz. The program for the electric Microbus and a panel van required collaboration across brands and teams so that designers and engineers could create a vehicle that will fulfil all the needs.
Hand-built prototypes have been tested all over Europe to clarify that the design and simulation data has been transferred to the real world. The ID Buzz has been assessed in extreme heat, in arid and tropical climes, in very cold temperatures, in wet and dry conditions, on snow, ice and dirt.
“The Microbus or Bulli is a vehicle that has always particularly excelled through its everyday practicality. We therefore test the ID Buzz under various conditions and weather situations. The motors, fluids, every system and operating process, the indicators and displays must all work in harmony. It is only by doing this that we can be sure that the vehicle can be driven optimally in every region of the world,” said Stefan Lutz, technical project manager for the model line at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
To give a glimpse into the regime, the vehicle was tested in the lab in a cold chamber, to check, for example, how quickly an iced-up outside mirror is cleared by its heater. To pass, the mirror, preconditioned at -20°C, must provide a clear view to the rear after just three minutes.
The all-round independent suspension of the ID Buzz and ID Buzz Cargo have been put through handling testing on snow and ice in the far north of Scandinavia. Other aspects examined during cold weather testing were the design of materials, the electric and electronic functions, the chassis setup, acceleration, braking and steering at low coefficients of friction and the thermal management of the whole vehicle.
The development story is documented in a film, which follows the crews from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Passenger Cars on their journey. The designers reveal how they managed to transfer the basic concept of the original iconic T1 Microbus into an electric bus; how the engineers were able to satisfy the safety elements, dynamics and practicality that consumers demand; and what the production and components staff had to do to ensure that the ID Buzz is able to be built alongside other so-called ‘Bulli’ models – the T6.1 and Multivan – on one line in Hanover, Germany.