Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will build an autonomous version of the ID. Buzz that will do duty as a robotaxi and delivery vehicle. The division will launch the model as soon as 2025.
"We are still in the concept phase, it's not ready yet. We're going to need a big jump and not just bring the ID Buzz forward," said Carsten Intra, leader of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, according to Automotive News Europe.
Intra says the company doesn't yet have a decision about whether the autonomous ID. Buzz would have a steering wheel. The van's interior would have a modified seating arrangement to create more space for passengers and their luggage.
The first use of the autonomous ID. Buzz would be as a robotaxi operating in Hamburg, Germany, starting in 2025. The company wants to expand the program to 50 cities in Europe and North America by 2030. VW might partner with Uber and Lyft to run these vehicles in the US, but the automaker wants to create its own company to manage them in Europe, according to Automotive News Europe.
VW Commercial Vehicles presented a concept for the autonomous ID. Buzz in 2021. The division developed the model with Argo AI to fit a bevy of sensors and cameras to let the van drive itself. The equipment includes a prominent lidar array on the roof, six smaller lidar units, and 11 radar penels. The tech let the prototype detect objects that were more than 400 meters (1,300 feet) ahead.
The regular version of the ID. Buzz will arrive in Europe later in 2022. It will launch with a single electric motor making 201 horsepower (154 kilowatts) and 229 pound-feet (310 Newton-meters). The battery capacity will be 82.0 kilowatt-hours gross (77.0 kWh net). A range estimate isn't yet available.
Several more variants are on the way. There will be the entry-level Pure grade with 62 kWh gross (58 kWh) and five seats. At the other end of the spectrum, a dual-motor version will provide all-wheel drive and possibly around 300 hp (224 kW).
The United States has to wait until 2024 to get the ID. Buzz. It will be the long-wheelbase version with three rows of seating. The extra length between the axles will allow for a larger battery pack that will allegedly have a 111-kWh capacity.