As electric vehicles evolve, there will be a need for them to adapt to all the shapes and sizes of vehicles we have today. No type of vehicle may be more ready for an all-electric future than delivery vans – and Volkswagen has an idea to deliver that future to your neighborhood in the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept.
While it’s based on the I.D. BUZZ concept, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO has several major updates throughout to transform it into an all-electric workhorse with autonomous driving capability. Longer than the I.D. BUZZ, the new features on the CARGO run from a solar-panel roof and cockpit workspace to high-voltage power outlets for tools. And as it’s based on Volkswagen’s easily adaptable MEB electric vehicle platform, the CARGO could launch in Europe as early as 2022.
The original Transporter was a common sight in its era in the United States, and while Volkswagen does not sell commercial vehicles in the United States, thousands of businesses around the world rely on the modern Transporter light commercial vehicle. Thanks to the still-growing world of e-commerce, demand for those types of trucks continues to rise; between 2005 and 2015, the global number of parcels delivered grew by 128 percent. In the United States last year, your local shippers dropped 11.7 billion boxes on doorsteps – or 37 for every man, woman and child, an 8 percent increase year over year.
All those parcels mean more delivery trucks in crowded urban areas running the types of stop-and-go routes that are often the least fuel efficient. An electric vehicle based on a cost-efficient electric vehicle platform like the MEB could offer cost-effective, zero tailpipe-emission solutions that help make the whole process of getting your new mattress more seamless.
Worldwide, the Volkswagen Group plans to build 50 electric models across all of its brands by 2025, built at a network of 16 plants globally, with the first U.S. long-range electric SUV scheduled to arrive in 2020. The BUZZ CARGO demonstrates how the technologies behind this revolution can easily adapt to the business of hauling packages instead of people.
“We see the business case for electric delivery vehicles in this market growing stronger by the day, especially as battery costs decline,” says Scott Keogh, CEO and President of Volkswagen Group of America.
Dressed up as a support vehicle for the I.D. R Pikes Peak race car, the CARGO concept has several exterior differences from the BUZZ concept – starting with a four-inch longer body for more interior volume. Designed with a single 201-hp motor driving the rear wheels, the CARGO concept could have an estimated range of up to 340 miles on the WLTP cycle, depending on the size of the lithium-ion battery pack, up to 111 kWh for long-range travel.
Unlike the BUZZ concept, the CARGO concept does away with a driver-side sliding door to maximize interior space, and adds two new wide-opening clamshell doors in the rear. The roof design features a solar panel that’s large enough to add an estimated 9.3 miles a day to the CARGO range via sunlight; it’s also designed to allow for 150-volt DC fast-charging for quick recharging of the battery pack, or inductive charging that requires no plugging in.
Inside, the CARGO puts work first. On the road, the driver can rely on a heads-up display and rear-view cameras, with a fold-down workspace and integrated laptop in place of the passenger seat. When drivers want to let the CARGO’s I.D. PILOT autonomous driving system take over, they can swivel their seat 15 degrees to the right, to use the laptop.
The MEB’s location of the battery pack in the floor of the CARGO and rear-axle-mounted motor offers several benefits in space efficiency. There’s up to 7 cubic feet in the CARGO nose compartment, and the rear has been outfitted by German equipment specialist Sortimo with a data-connected shelving system. With 240-volt outlets for power tools and a fold-out workbench, the CARGO can serve as a mobile workshop; with an estimated maximum cargo capacity of 1,760 lbs, it is designed to haul the kind of loads delivery workers need to handle every day.
“Imagine how an electric delivery van built for autonomous driving could change our cities,” says Keogh. “Zero tailpipe emissions and lower operating costs for the businesses using them and thus reduced delivery costs to consumer.”
When asked whether a vehicle like the CARGO could ever come to the United States, Keogh says “Let’s just say we’re looking at it.” Even if it remains a concept only, the CARGO shows what’s coming to your doorstep next.
Note: Concept vehicle shown throughout. Not available for sale. Specifications may change.