The day is fast approaching. After spending decades trying to find a suitable replacement for its iconic Microbus, Volkswagen is finally ready to pull the wraps off the new ID.Buzz during an event in Huntington Beach, California on June 2, a day the automaker has conveniently dubbed “International Volkswagen Bus Day.”
Now, fans might stop here and remind us that the VW ID.Buzz is already on sale in Europe — and has been since last year. True, but what we’ll be getting in the States is a more appropriate three-row version of the electric Microbus with other tweaks aimed squarely at U.S. motorists. The German automaker finally seems to be learning that most Americans aren’t interested in products focused on the European market.
In a release e-mailed to TheDetroitBureau.com Friday morning VW issued a teaser image that it said “share(s) a glimpse” of the bright front lighting of the 2025 ID.Buzz. That includes not only the headlights, but a cross-grille lightbar framing a backlit version of the latest VW logo.
An extra 10 inches and another row of seats
In reality, most of us have already gotten a good look at the Buzz in its overseas form, meaning the two-row model. That edition has a length of about 185.5 inches, or just a couple inches shorter than the Tesla Model Y. The U.S. model is expected to add about 10 inches to the wheelbase to make room for the third row. The wheelbase will come in at just over 128 inches, with a height of 76 inches and a width of 78 inches.
Adding those extra seats could give the ID.Buzz some added appeal as there’s little in the way of three-row SUVs for American buyers to choose from — just the optional, 7-seat version of the Tesla Model X, with Kia set to launch its own EV9 model later this year.
Don’t be surprised to see a stretched version of the VW ID.Buzz show up at the June 2 reveal. A stripped down commercial version is apparently in the works, along with a “California” package for camper conversions.
Other than growing longer, the long-wheelbase version of the Volkswagen ID.Buzz is expected to feature only modest exterior revisions, and most of those will be due to regulatory requirements that are different from Europe.
But there should still be a number of updates, beyond the addition of a third row.
Like the standard-length model, the LWB Buzz is based on the MEB platform shared by an assortment of Volkswagen EVs, starting with the ID.4 that recently went into production at the automaker’s Tennessee assembly plant.
Bigger battery, more power may be in the offing
Currently, the layout used in the European van limits the size of its battery pack to a maximum 82 kilowatt-hours — of which 77 kWh are actually usable. That provides a maximum 263 miles per charge based on the global WLTP test standards. But the stricter testing used to determine EPA range would almost certainly drop to somewhere just above 200 miles. That would likely limit the buzz for Buzz.
VW has been dropping hints it may offer a long-range battery option. With the extra room the LWB platform permits, that could jump as high as 111 kWh, enough to approach 300 miles per charge.
Equally uncertain: what powertrain options will be available. The European edition basically shares the ID.4’s driveline, starting with a single-motor package making 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. In Europe, that gets the van up to 100 kmh, or 62 mph, in a sluggish 10.2 seconds.
Like the American ID.4, an all-wheel-drive version appears to be in the works. The electric SUV package jumps to 295 hp and 339 lb-ft. If those numbers carry over, that should deliver a much more acceptable launch number.
Availability and pricing
The van’s cabin is expected to largely maintain the layout of the European ID.Buzz, with a few more USB ports likely added for rear passengers.
As for when we’ll finally be able to finally buy the new Volkswagen ID.Buzz, you’ll be in for a bit of a wait after next week’s unveiling. Though there’d been widespread expectation sales would begin late this year, that’s apparently been moved back to spring 2024, likely June. And the van will be marketed as a 2025 model-year.
There’s been speculation that the U.S. version of the 2025 Volkswagen ID.Buzz will start around $40,000. That remains a possibility but automotive pricing has been under intense, inflationary pressure over the last two years. That’s especially true in the EV segment as key raw ingredients, such as lithium and cobalt, have seen price spikes of as much as 700%. Costs are settling down a bit lately, so a basic version still might launch in the low $40s. But expect to see more well-equipped models push into the $50,000 range and above, observers are cautioning.