Volkswagen’s electric retro van could deliver your Amazon parcels in 2022

Volkswagen channeled the vast heritage of its emblematic Bus when it showed us the vacation-friendly I.D. Buzz concept at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. The German brand later unveiled a second variant of the concept, named I.D. Cargo, that’s ready to race across a crowded city to make a last-minute delivery. In Los Angeles, the Cargo morphed into an electric race support vehicle.

The Buzz and the Cargo share a lot, starting with a front-end design that liberally borrows styling cues from the original, rear-engined Bus that became synonymous with the hippie movement during the 1960s. Designers put a modern spin on the look in the name of safety and practicality. The front end isn’t quite as flat as the original’s, and a full windshield replaces the two-piece unit. Vents chiseled into the rear roof pillars create another visual link between the I.D. Cargo and its highly collectible predecessor.

That’s where the similarities between old and new stop. While the original Bus was built on an evolution of the Beetle platform, the Cargo shares its modular MEB architecture with every upcoming electric addition to the Volkswagen family. Specifications remain tentative — the Cargo is a concept, after all — but the Wolfsburg, Germany-based firm notes the van can receive a large 111-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that theoretically provides up to 340 miles of range. To add context, the biggest pack offered on the Tesla Model X is a 100-kWh unit. Solar panels embedded into the van’s roof add up to 9.3 miles of range per day to the battery pack, giving owners an incentive to park in the sun. Don’t worry, they also power the A/C.

The pack zaps the Cargo’s rear wheels with 201 horsepower in the default configuration. Making it all-wheel drive is as simple as adding a second electric motor over the front wheels. Going electric permits a perfectly flat loading floor, which the original Bus certainly couldn’t boast about — ask anyone who has ever camped in one. Volkswagen also added a 230-volt outlet which draws electricity from the battery pack to run power tools in the remotest of locations. This feature turns the Cargo into a mobile workshop with a 1,760-pound payload.

Volkswagen replaced the instrument cluster with a 3D, augmented reality head-up display which shows the driver key information about the car and its surroundings. Everything else (including navigation directions, climate control settings, and media options) is displayed on a portable tablet. Level four autonomous driving technology lets the van drive itself in certain circumstances. When software takes over, the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard and the driver’s seat can pivot by up to 15 degrees to help the driver-turned-passenger find a comfortable position.

You’re in luck if you fell head over heels the moment you laid eyes on this retrolicious panel van. Volkswagen confirmed it will build the I.D. Buzz starting in approximately 2022 and the Cargo variant will follow shortly after. Both models will receive a new name, and we expect stylists will tone the design down a notch, but the overall look will make the transition from a show car to a production car without major changes.


Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

With a 48-inch screen, this futuristic dashboard is like nothing else

Chinese startup Byton traveled to CES 2019 to unveil a new version of its electric concept that's closer to series production. It has the largest screen ever fitted to a production vehicle.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.