This rad electric cargo van won't come to the US, and that's a damn shame.
Alongside the long-awaited reveal of the electric ID Buzz passenger van, Volkswagen also released images and details of the ID Buzz Cargo, the commercial variant that's ready to haul. The Cargo version of the Buzz sadly won't come to the US, but it's sure to dominate every European city, village and racetrack paddock after going on sale later this year.
The ID Buzz Cargo was previewed by a concept car in 2018, and the production model stays very faithful in terms of design -- in fact, I actually think the production Buzz looks even better. This production version is based on the short-wheelbase Buzz; a long-wheelbase model will be revealed next year and should spawn its own Cargo variant. At 185.5 inches long the ID Buzz is identical in length to VW's Tiguan crossover that we get in the US, but the Buzz's 117.6-inch wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer and the van is nearly a foot taller in height.
18-inch steel wheels are standard, and it doesn't seem like the Cargo will be offered with the passenger Buzz's 21-inch alloys. Luckily, the Cargo will be offered in four different two-tone color schemes just like the regular Buzz, which pair Candy White paint on top with Bay Leaf Green, Energetic Orange, Lime Yellow or Starlight Blue on the bottom. The Cargo gets a top-hinged hatch for the cargo area and one sliding door on the side, with the option to get a second sliding door on the other side of the van and split barn doors for the rear.
Obviously the interior is what really matters when it comes to a van, and the ID Buzz Cargo doesn't disappoint. It has a thought-out and attractive cabin like the normal Buzz, but the Cargo's dashboard trim, door panels and air vent designs are simpler. The Cargo comes with either a three-across bench seat or two individual captain's chairs, and behind the seats is a fixed partition that's available with a window and opening to pass items through to the cargo area. VW says the cargo area is 137.7 cubic feet in size and can fit two euro pallets inside, which are almost 9 inches narrower than US pallets at 47.2 inches long and 31.5 inches wide. The floor is nice and low, the wheel wells are minimally intrusive. There are rings on the floor and bars on the sides for securing cargo, and all of the surfaces look nice and durable.
Like the regular ID Buzz, the Cargo has a 77-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a single electric motor powering the rear axle with 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. A dual-motor all-wheel-drive version will come later. Top speed is just 90 mph, but that should be more than enough. Volkswagen isn't ready to say what the range will be, but the more aerodynamic ID 4 crossover manages 268 miles on the EPA cycle. On a DC fast charger the ID Buzz Cargo can go from 5% to 80% in 30 minutes, and it will be available with bi-directional charging.
I can see the ID Buzz Cargo appealing to all sorts of people and companies. It's way cuter than a Mercedes Metris or Ford Tourneo, and the Buzz is the only cargo van in its class with an electric powertrain. Even if the range ends up being sub-200 miles the Buzz will still be ideal for most commercial use cases, and it's both a fantastic advertising canvas for businesses and a way to electrify a big chunk of the market. More than anything else though, I think the ID Buzz Cargo's perfect application is for race teams that need a support van. The original microbus was widely used by Porsche's race teams, as well as those of competing brands, and I think the ID Buzz would seem right at home in any team's paddock. Just think about how awesome it would look in a matching racing livery zipping through the pits at the Nürburgring!
The ID Buzz Cargo will go on sale in Europe alongside the short-wheelbase passenger Buzz in the second half of 2022. Blame the extremely annoying chicken tax on the Cargo not coming to the US, but the long-wheelbase ID Buzz will go on sale in America in 2024.