Autonomous driving, an integrated workstation, and zero emissions. The perfect work vehicle?

You all remember the Volkswagen Kombi, right? A vehicle synonymous with the hip and adventurous lifestyle, and rolling home and road trip bus to surfers and bands around the world? We did a piece on Volkswagen giving the green light for production of the I.D. Buzz, the electric version of the said famous microbus last year, and Volkswagen has released yet another variant off of the same platform.

To be revealed at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover from September 20-27 is the commercial vehicle variant called the I.D. Buzz Cargo. It’s electric, it’s versatile, and it looks similar to the I.D Buzz. Built as a supplementary model to the Volkswagen Transporter T6, the I.D. Buzz Cargo is looking at a 2021 release, and is being touted as the most innovative zero-emission transporter of our time. 

Volkswagen’s I.D. family is a set of new generation fully connected electric vehicles that can deliver the driving range of current gasoline engines, but offer progressive design and space. The batteries of these vehicles are also very scalable, adapting to size and budget. The I.D. Buzz Cargo is based on the modular electric drive kit (MEB), and is possible, depending on battery size, to achieve ranges of 330 to over 500 kilometers. The vehicle is driven by a 150 kW electric motor with an option for all-wheel drive, has a top speed of 160 km/h, and can fast charge to 80% via a 150 kW DC outlet in 15 minutes. There’s also an additional solar roof for up to an additional 15 kilometers of range, and an no-board 11 kW charger for overnight charging.

Able to carry a payload of 800 kilograms, the I.D. Buzz Cargo is 5,048mm long, 1,976mm wide, and 1,963mm tall, with a wheelbase of 3,300mm. What differentiates the cargo version from the passenger variant is a new solar roof, wide-opening rear wing doors, and a new rear bumper. The front doors and sliding door open electrically and unlocking the vehicle from the outside is activated via a sensor solution. The I.D. Buzz Cargo recognizes authorized persons via a digital key which is sent to the van from a smartphone. Instead of two single seats, the concept vehicle is equipped with the driver’s seat and a double bench-seat – a typical commercial vehicle solution.

The I.D. Buzz Cargo also features level 4 autonomous driving, giving the driver a chance to work on an integrated workstation on the dashboard. An augmented reality display projects driving information, doing away with traditional gauges. Driving controls are located on a steering wheel that has an inner touchpad to control a variety of functions. Mirrors are also replaced by a digital feed that is streamed onto monitors in the cabin. The entire cargo space is a connected area, and can link up devices and utilize internet and LAN connections to sync up to a job management system on the go, creating an efficient and mobile workstation.

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