The ID. Buzz, along with the Fiat 500e, is undoubtedly one of the world's most iconic electric vehicles. In a car market where models are becoming more and more similar, the strength of this Volkswagen is its retro design.

On paper, the evocation of a car from the past could prove to be an important differentiating factor for traditional manufacturers, which are having to respond to increasingly strong and competitive Asian competition from a technological and commercial point of view.

It is therefore interesting to know how the ID. Buzz has been received by consumers and, above all, by the typical customer of a vehicle designed for travel, transport and perhaps camping, but which has to deal with all the limitations of an electric car.

We talked to Lars Krause, Member of the Board of Management for Sales and Marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

How does a special electric vehicle like the ID presents itself on the market. Buzz? What are the main communication levers beyond design?

"The market launch was, of course, very important. We started with a big campaign, the Star Wars campaign, and, on that basis, we organised presentations in all relevant markets.

I think the uniqueness of ID. Buzz is its versatility. It's a good passenger car, but also a commercial vehicle with the Cargo version. Today we have both and I think that's an important aspect, because that dual use is basically the DNA of the Camper.

It's really fun to see the different customer groups, to listen to them and understand them, and also to come up with specific campaigns and answers for each one. That makes it very interesting.

Foto - Volkswagen ID.Buzz consumi reali

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

But the Camper has historically had many other faces. What other versions are you working on?

"We have a clear goal: to create a real family. The first target was the standard-wheelbase passenger and cargo versions.

The next one is the long wheelbase, again for passenger transport. And I think it's a great option, because you go from five to six or seven seats, with 27 cm more length.

It's very interesting, because first of all it's easier to get in because of the new (bigger) sliding doors. It's really comfortable. Of course, the next target will be, and we have already announced it, the GTX version.

Would the latter be the sporty version? 

"A sporty version, yes, very sporty and also very emotional, really an emotional car. The colours and the finishes will also be very interesting. And I think we will touch the hearts of a lot of people who are more attracted to these passionate cars. Of course, we will have four-wheel drive. That will also be an important development.

La Volkswagen ID.Buzz con decoración Porsche

And for motorhome customers, will there be a California version?

"We are also working on the California version, the design of which we have already started. It is a variant that is actively requested by many enthusiasts and that is why we have started to think about it. Because if we do offer a California, it will really have to exceed the expectations of our customers".

After all, the demand for camper vans has grown a lot in the last three years. What does this market mean for you?

"The growth has been enormous. In the order of 25% during the pandemic. Because, obviously, there has been a clear trend to enjoy more private space or to use it for holidays, and that has been an important factor for our business as far as the California brand is concerned.

I think the reason we were so successful in that market was that we always believed in the dual-use concept. And that applies to both the Caddy and the Transporter-based California.

Volkswagen California Concept

You can basically use the van every day to go to work, to take your kids to kindergarten or school, and to shop, but also to go camping on weekends.

I think this is really irresistible. A lot of people like this flexibility and the possibility to do everything with the car. And that's very important, I love it too, I'm a big fan and I think it really touches the hearts of a lot of our customers, especially because you only invest once, you don't have to buy two cars, you can do everything with it. It's like a Swiss army knife: you can use it for everything.

Going back to the new Camper, what is the opinion of the customers after one year, and more importantly, who are the customers of the ID Buzz?

"We found new customers who were not interested in a combustion-engined van. Basically, we have identified a new target group and we are addressing it.

In the end I think the whole market is in transition, we should not forget that. And transition also means uncertainty.

A lot of people are thinking: "What do I do, do I go straight to electric or do I wait, what do I do to recharge, how do I recharge on the road, how do I recharge at home? So many questions. But this has always been part of our campaign to answer all these questions. 

We offer home charging possibilities with the Elli service. And also contracts with the major public charging providers. For me it is crucial to present a convincing offer, which answers all these different questions.

Volkswagen ID. Buzz Camper

Volkswagen ID.Buzz camper

What is the sales mix of the ID. Buzz? And how many Camper's do you sell compared to the combustion Transporter?

"Basically we have two mixes. The first is between cargo and people, i.e. 50-50, more or less equally, because a lot of people also use the electric cargo version to represent the company. They are very happy to have their name on the side profile and to use it for advertising. 

In terms of percentage, however, we are around 10% of the total volume. The long-term perspective is to sell at least 55% of the vehicles in all-electric version, not only the ID. Buzz, but all the 'battery' models in our range by 2030. This is our medium and long-term target: 55% and 2030. Ten per cent is our target, let's say, in the short term with the ID. Buzz.

In terms of vehicle customisation, what is your strategy, and do you have a programme to respond to special customer requests?

"For us, customised solutions are a must. We are constantly scanning the market for these solutions. For example, we have chosen the camper sector as one of the sectors we want to serve ourselves (without the help of external companies) and the main reason is that we believe we have the convincing expertise to propose these solutions. After all, the California itself is already a tailor-made camper solution.

Volkswagen ID. Buzz, en la Milano Design Week

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz at Milan Design Week 2023

On the other hand, we have been working closely for many years with various suppliers of these customised solutions, for all relevant sectors.

Let me give you an example: parcel delivery vehicles. We work closely with our partners to find really convincing solutions for this type of customer, such as the postal service in Italy or DHL in Germany, or others.

So our strategy is to do both. On the one hand, we select the areas in which we would like to invest ourselves and propose solutions made by Volkswagen and, on the other hand, we work closely with partners who specialise in certain activities, collaborating with them to offer our customers really sellable end solutions. That is the idea.

Electrification creates limitations, but also very useful functional opportunities for recreational vehicles. One example is V2L, the technology that allows the vehicle to be used as an external power source. When will we see it implemented in your models?

"We are working on such a solution for the California version of the ID. Buzz. We have already started the development process, but I think it's important to make two points.

If we introduce it, we want to make sure that customers get a solution that exceeds our customers' expectations. That is an important factor.

The second factor is that the market must be ready for an all-electric version. And we believe this will happen in the second half of the decade. From 2026 onwards. That's the timeframe we are thinking about.

In the meantime, and this is very important for me, we will launch the new California next year. It will be available as a plug-in hybrid. And we will offer our customers an electric range of more than 50 miles.

I think, from our point of view, it's the perfect solution for customers of our current models. They can drive in all-electric mode, but they can also use a combustion engine if they drive more than 249 miles (400 km). And this is something that our customers are actively demanding.

Interior de la Volkswagen Multivan T7 California Concept

How many ID. Buzz are being sold

How are sales of the ID. Buzz worldwide? The latest official figures released by the company are for the second quarter of 2023, compiled by InsideEVs US in an in-depth study.

Reading them, we see that during the first six months of 2023, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles totalled its all-time delivery record with 101,500 vehicles. Of these, 6,900 were electric, a figure in keeping with the still low market share of these cars at 6.8% of the total (in 2022 it was 0.6%). The credit in this case goes, obviously and above all, to the ID. Buzz.

Gallery: Volkswagen ID.Buzz Cargo road test