The VW ID. Buzz might just be another vehicle in Volkswagen’s colossal electric plan but to keen historians, the Buzz shares a lot of similarities with an electric car from half a century ago.
The VW T2 Bulli was a prototype designed by Adolf Kalberlah, Head of the Future Research Department at VW in 1970. Two years later, the T2 Bulli prototype was born.
The initial design for the T2 Bulli was a 2 ton flatbed truck with an open loading area. It came equipped with a battery weighing in at an astonishing 880kg and had a capacity of 21.6kWh – that’s about the same as a Renault Zoe. In comparison to its older counterpart, the ID. Buzz comes with a battery that weighs around 500kg and has a capacity of 77kWh, more than three times the capacity of the T2 Bulli prototype.
The 1972 electric T2’s battery was mounted in quite an interesting way. It utilised the platform of a regular T2 where it was mounted on the loading floor and could be removed if needed. This laid the foundations for the ID. Buzz as it features a ‘sandwich floor,’ which means the battery will be installed in the floor to allow for a low centre of gravity and more room for passengers.
Battery range was also something VW have been focusing on for half a century now. The T2 Bulli had a range of around 85 miles and there was absolutely no time for recharging as this took several hours. Instead, VW found that it was easier to replace the dead battery with a fully charged one in just a fraction of the time. Fast forward five decades and the ID. Buzz, thanks to rapid charging stations, can get from 5% charge to 80% in around thirty minutes.
Energy recovery systems are something you only might associate with modern EVs and racing cars, but the basic ideas of an energy recovery system were present in the 1970s. The electric T2 could add to its range by collecting energy dissipated from braking. The ID. Buzz on the other hand can add 20-30% extra range thanks to its energy recovery system.
Despite the vast technological advances in the last five decades, the innovative features of the T2 Bulli are still present in Volkswagen’s latest offering of EVs.