Volkswagen Australia has managed to wrangle an ID.Buzz people-mover and ID.Buzz cargo van to evaluate their suitability for the Australian market.
Following the ID.Buzz’s global unveiling in March 2022, the two vehicles were on featured at VW Australia’s end-of-year event where Wheels was given a chance to walk around, touch, poke, feel and ask plenty of questions about the Kombi’s rebirth in an electric era.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has been keen to secure these vehicles for some time, initially hatching a plan to buy a pair from the United Kingdom before being offered these evaluation vehicles by head office in Hanover.
Executives told Wheels that, while there’s nothing right now prohibiting VW from releasing the ID.Buzz range locally in early 2024, final approval has yet to be handed down from head office.
However, it’s expected that the pair will follow the ID.4 and ID.5 medium SUVs to market, and likely come after the local launch of the facelifted ID.3 electric small car.
ID.Buzz will hit Oz in loaded trims
The two vehicles on show included a Pro grade people-mover, and ID.Buzz Cargo Commerco Pro. Both are effectively top-spec models, reflecting Australia’s penchant for high-end trims.
“The vehicles on show are really specced up so that we can look at every single offering in this particular car and make an informed decision moving forward, rather than bringing a low spec car and saying: ‘I wonder what this did?’”, said head of marketing and product, Volkswagen Commercial vehicles, Nathan Johnson.
Inside the bayleaf green two-tone ID.buzz Pro is colour-matched cloth upholstery with white leather accents, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay, an ID digital driving display and matrix LED headlights.
Further clever features inside include the ‘Buzz Box’, a removable centre console with pull-out drawers, bottle-opener and ice scraper.
Final specification for Australia will be locked in closer to its expected launch in 2024, but expect our cars to be have a similarly high level of equipment.
As for the Cargo, it gets more practical black cloth upholstery with a black steering wheel, but the same infotainment system and digital cockpit. The Buzz Cargo has a 650kg payload, with space in the back for a pair of euro palettes.
Volkswagen ID.Buzz power and driving range
The ID.Buzz range is underpinned by Volkswagen’s dedicated MED electric platform, differing from the converted LDV eT60s and Mercedes-Benz EQV electric vans currently on-sale in Australia.
That means a 77kWh battery pack with driving ranges of 423 kilometres (WLTP) for the people-mover, and 425km (WLTP) for the cargo. Driving range with a full payload is likely to be shorter for ID.Buzz Cargo owners, but Volkswagen said it’s happy with what’s been achieved.
“The average person who’s going to be buying the ID.Buzz is going to be travelling 20-30kms a day. And potentially charging at home. The more commercial purpose cars it's not common that people are doing over 300-400 a day. So we see that as plenty”, said VW Commercial Vehicles' director, Ryan Davies.
Fast-charging is capped at 170kW (DC) for a 5-80 per cent rejuice time of around 30 minutes. AC home-charging, meanwhile, maxes out at 11kW.
Outputs are reasonable, and the same as a Volkswagen ID.4, with 150kW of power and 310Nm of torque via a single rear motor.
VW Australia noted that Australian demand for an AWD model is likely to be strong, and there are more ID.Buzz variants in development with potential for larger batteries, a longer wheelbase and more power – including GTX variants.
The ID.Buzz’s vehicle-to-load capacity is currently capped at a 300W three-pin socket, however Nathan Johnson said demand for greater on-board outputs is under evaluation for the Australian market.
ID.Buzz Pricing and availability
As an Australian release is yet to be confirmed, and likely more than 12 months away, VW was reluctant to discuss price, but the ID.Buzz isn’t likely to be cheap.
Looking at UK pricing, an equivalent Pro people-mover would cost around AU$115,000 at a direct conversion rate. Not absurd next to an LDV Mifa 9, but certainly steeper than a Kia Carnival.
Final pricing could potentially be lower than $100K, given that the UK typically pays more for vehicles, but don’t expect a cheap-as-chips van.
Release timing will be confirmed in the future, but 2024 has been cited as a ballpark estimate for Australia.