We've been spying on the Volkswagen ID Buzz for a while, but it's only now the photographers have managed to capture the all-electric van using its own body. Eschewing the Transporter skin used by the test mules, the Microbus for the EV era has been caught wearing the production bodywork, but don't get too excited just yet. In typical VW Group fashion, the prototype hides its final look underneath clever camo.
It would appear that VW is going for a Renault van look with the disguise applied onto the ID Buzz's front fascia, featuring stickers on the headlights to conceal the actual clusters. Those "fog lights" are actually fake, part of a frontal wrap covering the bumper almost in full, except for the honeycomb pattern of the lower air intake.
Gallery: Volkswagen ID Buzz prototype with production body spy photos
Most of that glossy black upper grille is likely a faux element as well seeing as how the grille is slimmed down on the ID.3, ID.4, and China's new ID.6. It will be the same story with the coupe-styled ID.5 due to be revealed later this year. That chrome bar might be masking an LED light strip to provide a visual connection between the headlights as on other ID-badged models and some of the combustion-engined cars as well.
The fully covered rear side glass suggests we are dealing with the cargo version of the ID Buzz, unless it's simply body-coloured camo to hide the interior. Look closer and you can see the shape of the actual taillights extends more than those fake stickers suggest, with the corner of the rear clusters remaining hidden under the white bulge. Side note – those stickers on the taillights give the illusion of Vauxhall Insignia rear lights.
Gallery: Volkswagen I.D. Buzz at Pebble Beach
The exterior rear pillar has some extra cladding that could mask those horizontal fins of the 2017 ID Buzz concept, while the interior rear pillar shows its exposed metal hinting the cabin is still a work-in-progress at this stage. Even with all of this makeup, it's fairly obvious the production model will be quite similar to the showcar unveiled four and a half years ago in Detroit.
VW Commercial Vehicles has announced the official premiere is scheduled to take place in 2022 when the ID Buzz will be revealed for the European market, with US to follow in 2023. While the Euro model will also be offered in a cargo configuration and in different wheelbase configurations, the North American model will come strictly as a passenger version with a longer wheelbase.
Expect single- and dual-motor setups with rear- and all-wheel drive, respectively. With the ID.4, ID.5, and ID.6 SUVs as well as the ID.X hot hatch concept, VW has demonstrated the MEB platform can deliver a punchy 300-bhp electric setup. Several battery packs should be available, including a large one seeing as how the concept had a 111-kWh pack.
Further down the line, a fully autonomous commercial version will hit the streets by the middle of the decade.