Production and deployment of the VW ID. Buzz gets underway
12 June 2022
Volkswagen (VW) has launched production of the ID. Buzz at its commercial-vehicle plant in Hannover, Germany. The site already manufacturers the commercial version of the battery-electric vehicle (BEV), known as the ID. Buzz Cargo.
Alongside the Golf and the Beetle, the Transporter, also known as the Bulli, is one of VW’s most renowned models. With the carmaker going electric, some of its most iconic models are charging back onto the road. Powered by the Modular Electric Platform (MEB), the Transporter will live on as the ID. Buzz, extending the model’s 60-year legacy.
The German carmaker has wasted no time finding both practical and marketing settings for the BEV. Operating within a ridesharing service on the Greek island of Astypalea, the ID. Buzz will demonstrate the capacity of larger all-electric vehicles as part of the ‘Smart and Sustainable Island’ project.
Elsewhere, in a galaxy far, far away, the BEV was showcased as part of this year’s Star Wars celebrations. Inspired by the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series, a unique pair of ID. Buzz models pledged their allegiances to the light, and dark side.
Alongside Zwickau and Emden, Hannover is VW’s third electric-vehicle site in Germany where members of the ID. family are now being made, namely the ID. Buzz. The site has undergone continual conversions for the new passenger version of the BEV. This includes a new body shop and sections for electric parts on the assembly line.
Josef Baumert, member of the VW Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) brand management board for production and logistics, outlined progress at the plant. At present the carmaker is constructing three Bulli production lines with a trio of different drive-system concepts. This means increased manufacturing complexity, which is why VW has trained some 4,000 employees on the new model and processes.
VWCV plans to build up to 15,000 ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo vehicles this year. Once production is up to full speed, as many as 130,000 units per year can be expected to roll out of Hannover. Additionally, both versions of the Bulli BEV support the carmakers’ sustainable sensibilities. Carbon emissions from their manufacturing and shipping are offset, with recycled synthetic materials employed inside.
‘The start of serial production of the all-electric ID. Buzz is an important milestone in the electrification of our fleet and for the manufacturing operation at the Hannover site,’ said Carsten Intra, chairman of the brand management board of VWCV. ‘The vehicle is a key pillar in the full utilisation of our factory and is thus safeguarding the future of the site.’
Supporting mobility services
As VW’s ‘Smart and Sustainable Island’, Astypalea is at the forefront of electromobility. The project looks at how entire mobility and energy systems can be transformed. Within five years, the island will host only electric vehicles, smart-mobility services and a green hybrid-energy system.
Astybus, a new ridesharing service will replace the limited traditional bus line, offering more connections across the island. Currently driven by the ID.4, the service will be powered by a fleet of five ID. Buzz models following the BEV’s launch later this year.
Elsewhere, the vehicle-sharing service astyGo will allow customers to rent electric vehicles from VW, as well as e-scooters from SEAT and e-bikes from Ducati. All of this can be done via smartphone and the astyMove app.
‘The discussion about the shift from fossil fuels to renewables has gained new momentum in Europe. Volkswagen is a driver of change, leading the transformation to e-mobility in Europe,’ said Herbert Diess, VW Group CEO. ‘Here on Astypalea, we are introducing new mobility services as the next step towards the future of transportation.’
A place among the stars
Some 11,000km away, two Obi-Wan Kenobi inspired ID. Buzz models were put on display in California as part of this year’s Star Wars celebrations. Adhesive films were used on both models, with the passenger version of the ID. Buzz supporting the light side and the ID. Buzz Cargo going over to the dark side.
The light side sported beige on the lower section, taking inspiration from the hue of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s tunic. The chrome on the upper section referenced droids and spaceships. Blue lights, lines and windows took the place of a lightsabre and Jedi logos could be found on the side windows and rims. Meanwhile, the commercial version of the ID. Buzz used red and black wrapping. Sidelines, headlights, light strips, and window surfaces came in a red hue, inspired by Darth Vader’s lightsabre.
‘The opportunity to explore how ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ and the Volkswagen brand could come together on a vehicle was pure fun. The themes of good and evil, light and dark are not necessarily concepts we apply to cars. The ID. Buzz collaboration offered a unique opportunity to have the cars become graphic reflections of two iconic characters,’ said Doug Chaing, Lucasfilm VP and executive creative director.
While literally wrapping these two models in film could simply be seen as an enjoyable reference to popular culture, it also points to a shrewd PR strategy. The new Obi-Wan Kenobi series continues to receive much fanfare, and the event will have been seen by a sizeable audience. With the help of brand ambassador and star of the show, Ewan McGregor, the ID. Buzz will have seen a successful launch.
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