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  • I.D. BUZZ CARGO has the potential to write history as one of the most advanced light commercial vehicles
  • Spacious electric transporter concept vehicle is based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB)
  • With the biggest available battery, the MEB has a range of more than 340 miles on the WLTP cycle
  • Digital cargo system connects cockpit and cargo space and brings superfast “Internet of things” on board
  • In “I.D. Pilot” mode the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept vehicle drives at Level 4 full autonomy to its next destination
  • 230V socket provides power for workers’ tools for hours with no additional generator
  • A large solar roof extends the daily range of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO by up to 9.3 miles

Hannover (September 20, 2018) – The original Volkswagen Transporter is the most recognizable light commercial vehicle of all time. With the world premiere of the new I.D. BUZZ CARGO, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is showing how an electrically powered and completely redeveloped Transporter might change the world of LCVs. This innovative zero-emissions panel van could be launched as early as 2021. Meanwhile, the concept vehicle offers a glimpse into the middle of the next decade with its alternative, fully-automated “I.D. Pilot” driving mode (Level 4).

The transporter concept being presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover is a sibling of the I.D. BUZZ. That concept, which was presented in 2017 in Detroit, delighted people around the globe and will go into production starting in 2022. The new I.D. BUZZ CARGO was designed to be just as close to production level. The I.D. BUZZ was developed jointly by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Passenger Cars. Volkswagen Passenger Cars focused on the people carrier and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles on the cargo version. Both models are members of the I.D. Family – a new generation of fully connected electric vehicles delivering long ranges, a futuristic design-DNA and impressive space. Another key unique selling point of the I.D. Family is the scalability of its batteries. The models can be delivered with different battery sizes according to the vehicle’s purpose and budget. This also applies also to the future I.D. BUZZ CARGO, which like all models in the I.D. Family is based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). With the MEB it is possible—dependent on battery size and the model concerned—to achieve ranges between about 200 and 340 miles, as defined by the WLTP cycle.

This concept vehicle shows how Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is launching into the new era of electric mobility. Back in August, the company already presented the brand’s first all-electric van with the world premiere of the new e-Crafter. While the e-Crafter launched as a panel van with an overall length of 235.7 inches and a maximum payload of 1.75 tons, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept is positioned a size below the Crafter. The payload (maximum load) of the concept vehicle is 1,760 pounds. The I.D. BUZZ CARGO is 198.7 in long, 77.8 in wide and 77.3 in tall, with a wheelbase of 129.9 inches. Since the rear overhang was extended by about 4 inches, the cargo version of the I.D. BUZZ is significantly longer than the vehicle shown in Detroit.

Outside, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept is differentiated from the I.D. BUZZ by a new solar roof, wide-opening rear wing doors and a new rear bumper. With a view towards optimizing cargo space via a shelving system, there is no sliding door on the driver’s side, typical of LCVs. The front doors and sliding door open electrically. Unlocking the vehicle from the outside is activated via a sensor. The I.D. BUZZ CARGO recognizes authorized persons via a digital key which is sent to the van from a smartphone. Instead of the 22-inch wheels of the Detroit concept vehicle, new 20-inch wheels are used with 235/55 tires.

The solar module on the roof fits into this picture. The photovoltaic system generates so much energy that it is able to extend the range of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO by up to 9.3 miles a day. So the longer the concept vehicle stands in the sun, the further it can drive later.

The interior has also been tailored for commercial use, down to the smallest detail. From the driver’s cab to the rear, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is a unique concept. Instead of two single seats, the concept vehicle is equipped with the driver’s seat and a double bench-seat on the front passenger side. The middle seat can be folded down. This opens up a workplace, at which the driver can take care of organizational matters via an integrated laptop. In the automated “I.D. Pilot” mode this can even be done on the move. The driver activates the Level 4 autonomous mode by simply pushing on the steering wheel for a few seconds. It then retracts into the redesigned instrument panel. Thereafter the driver’s seat can be turned 15 degrees to the right in order to enable the on-board computer to be operated from the ideal ergonomic position.

Key information is projected onto the road in 3D via its Augmented Reality (AR) head-up display. This positions the information precisely in the driver’s line-of-sight, allowing the driver to concentrate fully on road traffic. Other information is displayed on a tablet, which also controls features such as infotainment and climate control functions. The main controls for driving, meanwhile, are located on the steering wheel. Rear view mirrors are also a thing of the past in the I.D. BUZZ CARGO, with cameras projecting images onto small screens in the cab.

The cargo compartment begins behind the first seat row and a bulkhead. Like the rest of the vehicle, it was “re-thought.” Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is bringing the “Internet of Things” on board in this van. In cooperation with the German equipment specialist Sortimo, a new shelving system has been developed for the cargo area and fitted with sensors and a lighting system. This shelving system is connected to the intelligent I.D. BUZZ CARGO via a customer-specific function control unit and a CAN interface. The data is transferred by WLAN to tablets in the cargo space and cockpit. By means of a mobile radio network, the functional control unit might communicate with a company’s job or order-management system, theoretically making it possible to track all articles on the shelves. This enables precise online management of the type and quantity of freight and equipment in this futuristic Transporter. Further data is provided by the already available ConnectedVan fleet management system.

During autonomous driving it is possible to accept, schedule and process orders from the driver’s workplace. Thanks to the connected shelving system’s data it is also possible to perform order-related stock checks while on the move. It is also possible to perform optimum, flexible route planning taking customer appointments into account. Thanks to the Safety Check function, any unsecured tools or missing parts are indicated before the start of the journey. Last, but not least, any components taken out get automatically registered, working times recorded and invoices issued. A large light (0.8 m2) integrated in the roof makes access to the items even easier and quicker

The new shelving concept has been thought through in minute detail and yet is surprisingly simple in its construction: the entire system can be adapted individually to the cargo compartment of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO, enabling optimal space utilization. This is why the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept has “only” one sliding door on the passenger side; the space on the opposite wall of the load compartment is needed as a storage area and for shelving systems like the Sortimo.

Like all members of the I.D. Family, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is characterized by an exceptionally large interior, thanks to the packaging advantages brought by the MEB architecture. The battery is integrated into the vehicle floor, lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity and significantly improving handling. The transporter’s axles have been shifted outwards, because no space is required for a combustion engine at the front, and the compact electric motor with its gearbox is mounted on the rear axle. This creates additional space (up to 0.2 m3) in the front of the concept vehicle. The electric motor drives the multilink rear axle. As an alternative, an electric all-wheel-drive version with improved traction and performance can be implemented—as in the I.D. BUZZ. Rear to reduce the turning radius, which is perfect for maneuvering in tight city spaces.

Driving up to loading ramps is made easier by the wide-opening, symmetrical rear wing doors. When the wing doors are opened, a workbench can be folded out. Even high-performance work tools can be supplied with power there from 230V electrical sockets (16A) via the battery. This has been implemented to ensure that the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is not just a means of transportation, but also a standalone mobile workshop.

The electric drive system of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO consists mainly of the electric motor with power electronics and single-speed transmission integrated into the driven rear axle.  The flow of high-voltage energy between the motor and the battery is controlled by the power electronics. Here, the direct current (DC) stored in the battery is converted into alternating current (AC). A DC/DC converter supplies the on-board electronics with 12 volts. As noted, it is possible to equip the I.D. BUZZ CARGO with different size batteries according to the vehicle’s use profile. If the transporter covers fairly normal distances in the city on a daily and weekly basis, a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 48 kWh is recommended. If greater range is needed, the energy capacity can be increased up to 111 kWh.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has combined the battery in the I.D. BUZZ CARGO with a 201-horsepower (150 kW) electric motor. The vehicle’s top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph. An all-wheel drive system like the one implemented in its sibling is just as conceivable.

The high-voltage 48 kWh battery in the I.D. BUZZ CARGO can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 15 minutes with a fast charging system operating at 150 kW direct current; the 111 kWh unit takes 30 minutes. As an alternative, the high-voltage battery can be charged from any conventional household socket, charging stations with a wide variety of power outputs or wallboxes. Although the vehicle can be charged at 2.3 kW via a normal 230V European main supply, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles offers wallboxes that operate at much higher power levels up to 11 kW. They are especially advisable for charging batteries to 100 percent at a company’s vehicle depot overnight (when electricity prices are often lower).

The battery system of the future production version has also been prepared for inductive charging, likewise with 11 kW of charging power. The concept vehicle has this technology already. In this case, the van is positioned—via electronic control—over a “charging plate” while parking. As soon as the control unit of the charging plate in the pavement has set up a communications channel with the vehicle, contactless energy can be transferred through an electromagnetic field generated between two coils (one in the floor of the parking space and one in the vehicle).

With the debuts of the I.D. BUZZ and I.D. BUZZ CARGO, the upcoming decade will see the advent of a new series of all-round vehicles to supplement the “T6″—the Transporter, Caravelle, Multivan and California. This series will project the design of the original Transporter into the future.

What defines the design of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is the interplay of familiar and new elements of the original Transporter’s DNA. The front end, in particular, with a characteristic “V” and a typically friendly “face” clearly reflects the old car, yet is a completely new interpretation. Instead of the round headlights of the original model, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO has interactive LED systems, which not only illuminate the road, but also communicate interactively with pedestrians. Another defining feature of the design is the short front overhang.