BY: JESSICA BEUKER
It’s undeniable that the Volkswagen Microbus has become an iconic staple of both past and present culture. The microbus, more commonly referred to as the classic hippie van, rose to popularity in the 1960s as a symbol of the counterculture movement. It was beloved by hippies everywhere, and had it still been in production today, we would definitely see more of them on the road – favoured by modern day hippies, vagabonds and travellers alike.
The trouble with the original make is that it was impractical – clunky, loud and not built for long highway drives – and it was most definitely not a friend to the environment. Sure, it might look cool, but today’s consumers are much more concerned with practicality and sustainability. Which is why VW’s latest vehicle might just have you lining up to get your hands on one.
The I.D. Buzz concept microbus was recently unveiled at the 2017 North American Auto Show in Detroit. As of now it’s just a concept, but if it goes beyond that it could be a huge contender in the clean transport sector, according to Treehugger. The concept claims to be “the world’s first electric multi-purpose vehicle to be equipped with a fully autonomous driving mode.”
So what does this all mean?
Well for starters a slight push on the bus’s steering wheel will make it retract and merge into an instrument panel, switching the vehicle from manual control to fully autonomous I.D. pilot mode (this feature will hopefully be in production by 2025). As this happens the ambient lighting will switch from white light to warm mood lighting, which extends to the rear seating area.
The bus also has a 270-mile driving range per charge. It comes equipped with a 111-KW/H battery pack, front and rear electric motors (which produce 369 horsepower), all-wheel drive, a super spacious interior and a plethora of other ‘smart’ features.
Because it is a concept vehicle there are a lot of details that aren’t set in stone yet. VW’s Chairman of the Board, Dr. Herbert Diess, said that the company expects to be selling a million of its electric vehicles per year, thanks to its goal of “making electric mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen.”
While most automakers seem to be heading in the same direction, it’s more crucial than ever for VW, which is still desperately trying to clean its image after its dirty diesel emissions scandal. The new concept vehicle is not only a promise of a greener and more innovative future, but also a nostalgic look back to the past – where a single bus became the symbol of an entire generation.