Volkswagen unveils electric Kombi, the ID Buzz, set to launch in NZ in 2023

The manufacture and shipping will be carbon neutral, the company said.
The manufacture and shipping will be carbon neutral, the company said. Photo credit: Supplied / Volkswagen

Hippies and surfers rejoice - Volkswagen has unveiled an all electric version of its famous Kombi, with a 2023 release likely for Aotearoa.

The iconic van, now known as the ID Buzz, was revealed during a live stream early Thursday morning (NZ time).

The Volkswagen NZ website says the company wants Kiwis to have access to emission-free transport by 2025, which requires making electric vehicles (EVs) affordable and practical.

And that could mean a launch here before an anticipated 2024 launch in the USA.

"This pure electric all-rounder has been reimagined with inspiration from the legendary T1 Kombi, bringing a solution that will connect generations together," the NZ website says. 

"Arriving 2023."

Potential purchasers are then invited to register their interest, although the page to do so appears to be broken at the moment. The company hasn't said what the new van will cost.

The electric ID Buzz Cargo, which was also revealed, "promises to be one of the most advanced Commercial Vehicles yet", the company said, but there is no launch date for Aotearoa yet.

The ID. Buzz Cargo
Photo credit: Supplied / Volkswagen

"The ID. Buzz is a genuine icon for the electric era," Ralf Brandstätter, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen passenger car said.

"In the 1950s, [it] stood for a new feeling of automotive freedom, independence and great emotion.

"The ID. Buzz picks up on this lifestyle and transfers it into our time: emission-free, sustainable, fully networked and now ready for the next big chapter: autonomous driving."

Carsten Intra, chairman of the board of management of the Volkswagen commercial vehicles brand said both versions of the ID Buzz were "pioneering in terms of their sustainability".

"Their manufacture and shipping has a carbon-neutral footprint. We are also using recycled synthetic materials and the interior is completely free of any real leather," he said.

The ID. Buzz
Photo credit: Supplied / Volkswagen

The ID Buzz has a 77 kWh battery that provides power to the 150 kW electric motor.

According to the company, charging at a direct current (DC) rapid-charging station the battery will go from five percent to 80 percent in 30 minutes.

The new models will have Volksawagen's 'Car2X' local warning system included as standard, which spots hazards in real time.

'Front Assist' emergency braking and 'Lane Assist' functions are also standard, with new options coming like 'Memory Function', which automates parking on a previously saved route.

The company says the van has ample space for five people travelling as well as their luggage, with a foldable second row of seats if more luggage capacity is needed.

Those in Europe will be the first to drive the new ID Buzz, with pre-sales starting in May with a market launch in the Northern Hemisphere autumn.