volkswagen I.D. BUZZ concept self driving electric campervan at NAIAS 2017: the new era of electric mobility begins at the north american international auto show (NAIAS, 8 to 22 january) in detroit, where volkswagen is presenting its new model of the I.D. family — a multifunctional vehicle combining nostalgic design cues with innovative technology. the concept vehicle forges links between the legendary origins of the wolfsburg brand and its electrifying future. like the I.D. self driving concept car, this is also based on a modular electric drive kit (MEB).
all images © volkswagen / visualizations by tiago aiello
since the presentation of the I.D. at the paris international motor show in september 2016, the initials have stood for a new generation of fully connected, all electric vehicles from volkswagen. the I.D. also stands for clarity in design language, pure form, honest character, authentic emotionality — plus an interior architecture with quality details typical of the german-automaker.
the concept vehicle will be able to drive autonomously in future
volkswagen claims that the I.D. concept vehicle will be able to drive fully autonomously in future. a light press on the volkswagen logo, and the electrically retractable steering wheel disappears into the cockpit. while the driver relaxes, laser scanners, ultrasonic and radar sensors and cameras monitor other road users and the surroundings. the overall concept combines ample space for travel with a long electric driving range.
the design combines nostalgic design cues with innovative technology
‘the volkswagen brand’s big electric offensive begins in the year 2020 with a completely new vehicle architecture,’ says dr. herbert diess, chairman of the board of management for the volkswagen brand. ‘that is when we will be launching an entirely new generation of fully connected, all-electric vehicles to the market. by 2025 we want to be selling one million of these vehicles annually. we are making electric mobility the new trademark of volkswagen.’
the car features two electric motors and all-wheel drive
‘the I.D. BUZZ is a next-generation vehicle based on the new modular electric drive kit (MEB), offering comfort and plenty of space,’ adds dr. frank welsch, volkswagen member of the board of management responsible for development. ‘the overall concept of the I.D. BUZZ points the way to the future. this concept vehicle is the world’s first electric multi-purpose vehicle to be equipped with a fully autonomous driving mode. it carries the feeling of freedom of the microbus over to a completely new era of mobility.’
the icon features multi-functional, flexible interior architecture
four fields of innovation form the basis of the concept: smart sustainability, VW’s increased development of high-volume electric car models; automated driving, safer and more comfortable autonomous cars; intuitive usability, cars that are intuitive to operate and feature new display and control concepts; and connected community, whereby volkswagen will interconnect humans, cars, and the environment with a user identity.
passengers can turn to face one another
thanks to the volkswagen user-ID, I.D. knows who is at the wheel. profiles store personal seat and air conditioning settings, favorite radio stations and songs, sound system settings, exterior sound, configuration of the navigation system, type of ambient lighting, and contact information for the driver’s friends and business associates. it is intended that this profile can be retrieved securely via the cloud.
a central surface forms the centerpiece of the interior
via the authorized user’s smartphone, the I.D. BUZZ is also able to recognize who is entering the car or wants to take the steering wheel at any given time. as soon as the individual approaches the car, the sensor surfaces for opening the door light up. if the person’s hand is close to the surface, that individual door is opened. passengers in the vehicle can also control infotainment functions and input intermediate destinations using the volkswagen user-ID and a smartphone app.
potential interior configurations
although designed for a new era, the concept vehicle has been designed to fit in with its predecessors — including the original 1950 microbus. ‘the I.D. BUZZ is not a retro design on 22-inch wheels; rather, we have taken the logical next step forward in development using what is in all likelihood the most successful design of its kind in the world,’ says klaus bischoff, volkswagen head of design. ‘the entire design is extremely clean with its homogeneous surfaces and monolithic silhouette. the future and origins of volkswagen design DNA combine here to create a new icon.’
fully autonomous mode is deactivated by touching the steering wheel
‘instead of the round headlights used in the original model, in designing the I.D. BUZZ we opted for slender LED systems, which not only turn night into day, but also interactively communicate with other road users and pedestrians,’ explains oliver stefani, head of volkswagen exterior design. similar to the compact I.D., the bumpers also integrate a matte aluminum honeycomb design, with illuminated outer sections.
thanks to the volkswagen user-ID, the car knows who is at the wheel
‘the design of the concept places people as the focus; it should appeal to them and invite them to come in,’ continues bischoff. ‘from now on, we will be networking the vehicle much more intensively to make it more interactive,’ adds tomasz bachorski, head of interior design of the volkswagen brand. ‘the interior will become a sort of family room, a mobile place where you feel at home.’ consequently, the classic interior has been replaced with an intuitively operated cockpit that comprises: a touch-sensitive steering wheel (multifunction steering wheel with capacitive surfaces), an augmented reality head-up display, and an ‘I.D. box’ center console (including a tablet usable outside the vehicle).
an all-electric driving range has up to 270 miles, comparable to gasoline engined cars
the electric drive system allows seating for up to eight and two luggage compartments
the I.D. BUZZ is able to detect other road users with its laser sensors
the original volkswagen bus (left) was launched in 1950