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Is this the courier van of the future?

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Friday, 30 November 2018 GMT

Author: Staveley Head

With the government’s plug-in grant, exemption from vehicle tax and the cheap refuel costs, it seems like all roads lead to electric. And with all these discounts, it’d be rude not to consider trading in your old banger for one. Well if the ‘buzz’ of electric has made you want to “rock down to electric avenue” to deliver your next parcel, you’re in luck. As courier insurance experts, we want to give you the low down on the latest courier vehicle by Volkswagen and get that Eddy Grant classic stuck in your head…you can thank us later!



When is the release date for the ID Buzz Cargo?

Volkswagen has revealed that you could get an ID Buzz Cargo as early as 2022.

In the summer we shed light on the ground-breaking Volkswagen ID Buzz, that’s set to revolutionise campervans of the future. But now, just over a year later Volkswagen has ditched the flower power and revealed their latest addition to the green fuelled family, the ID Buzz’s younger, hardworking sibling; the ID Buzz Cargo. Just recently, the vehicle was showcased in Los Angeles, but in September the IAA Commercial Vehicles Exhibition showcased a range of vehicles, and it was Volkswagen who stole the show as they revealed their innovative commercial adaptation of the classic Transporter. Volkswagen also revealed that the Buzz cargo could be released as early as 2022. Although this is a concept vehicle, so the road-worthy model could be slightly less extravagant.


What features does the ID Buzz Cargo have?

An integrated laptop, solar roof, and automation are just some of the new features it has.

The futuristic design looks like something from The Jetsons, and the features it has aren’t far from it either. The vehicle can be unlocked from the outside using sensors and it recognises authorised people via a digital key on your smartphone (so no need to worry if you’ve lost your keys). It’s fully electric, but to make it even more green, Volkswagen has developed a solar roof that is able to generate enough energy to extend the range of the ID Buzz Cargo by up to 9 miles. It’s also able to power the air conditioning giving you another reason (other than showing off your brand-new van) to park in the sun. To provide the dash with a minimalist look, all of the driving controls have been placed on the new oblong-shaped steering wheel that contains a touchpad for all of the functions instead of traditional buttons. The instrument cluster is also replaced by a 3D visual on the windscreen utilising augmented reality. With this, you can see everything from your speed to how much battery power you have left. Rear view mirrors are also a thing of the past, with the use of cameras instead to give it an even more futuristic vibe.



What makes the ID Buzz good for couriers?

Intelligent cargo shelving systems as well as the ability to process/schedule orders while driving is what will make the I.D. Buzz Cargo perfect for couriers.

Volkswagen stated that “such a vehicle has the potential to revolutionize parcel delivery” and it’s clear to see that the interior has focused on couriers and commercial drivers. Instead of two seats in the front, Volkswagen has made a driver’s seat and a bench seat for two alongside it, with the middle seat folding down into a workstation with an integrated laptop. The autonomous driving or “I.D. Pilot” is of level four standard, which means you are able to do as you please in metropolitan areas, while the I.D. Buzz Cargo does the leg work. This can be activated by simply pushing the steering wheel for a few seconds, and then as if by magic, the steering wheel will retract itself into the dash. Once the autonomous driving is in full flow, the driver is able to process, schedule and accept orders from the cockpit, shedding a huge amount of time off your day.



The I.D. Buzz Cargo has a 3,300 mm wheelbase and is 5,048 mm long, 1,976 mm wide and 1,963 mm tall, with Volkswagen stating it can take a maximum load of 800kg. The amount of space in the vehicle is second to none, and this is enhanced by the skateboard like architecture that’s shared with much of Volkswagens ID range.  The battery is placed underneath the flooring, providing an extra compartment under the bonnet and enhancing the space available.  Volkswagen has also further utilised the space with the use of a hi-tech shelving system in the back. The shelving unit is connected to the vehicle and all data is transferred wirelessly into the tablet in the cockpit. It even has the ability to communicate with a company’s order management system which would allow customers to track items on the shelves. With everything available to view in the tablet, could this spell the end for the hand-held terminal? We’re sure a lot of couriers won’t miss that dreaded loading symbol!



What range has the I.D. Buzz Cargo got?

According to Volkswagen, the I.D. Buzz has a range of up to 341 miles.

Range-anxiety is a common theme for those new to electric, and you can understand that this would be heightened for couriers. The good news is that the I.D. Buzz has a range of up to 341 miles with up to 9 miles extra generated from the solar roof with the larger battery pack. Volkswagen has said that the range can be decreased or increased as they will offer different battery packs for different requirements.  Of course, charging is also going to be another thing that is worried about especially since recent research found that the UK would need a six-fold increase in electric vehicle charging points by 2020. Volkswagen state that the larger battery pack can reach an 80% charge within 30 minutes with the use of fast charging capabilities.



What other concepts have Volkswagen released for couriers?

Volkswagen also released the concept Cargo e-bike.

If the I.D. Buzz Cargo wasn’t green enough for you, then get on your bike! Or maybe the Cargo e-bike.  Volkswagen also released the concept e-bike as a solution for sustainable courier services in urban areas for what they call the “last mile deliverer”. With the driver, the bike can carry a load of up to 210 KG and volumes of half a cubic metre. The cargo e-bike is a pedelec bike, which means that it adds assistance to the riders pedalling. To do this it is attached with a 250-watt mid-motor that can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. Volkswagen has also introduced innovative tilt-leveling technology which prevents the load from tilting when turning a corner. Perhaps we’ll see Uber Eats cyclists without the infamous backpacks in the future.

What the rise in electric courier vehicles means for the environment

Innovation in electric courier vans could help reduce the huge 28% of UK greenhouse gases that come from transport.

The future looks to be bright for electric vehicles and with an 11% sales rise in the UK across all-electric vehicles as well as the government aiming for all vehicles to be emission-free by 2050.  As many a van owner will tell you, there is little choice for electric vans. And so, with Volkswagen leading the way for electric vans, Couriers also look set to benefit from more options being made available by competing manufacturers.  And since the government has estimated that 28% of greenhouse gases are from Transport, it seems to strengthen the case for more innovation in electric courier vans. At the moment it looks like Volkswagen is leading the way with the recent e-Crafter and the imminent I.D. Buzz Cargo, and with all these electric vehicles set for release, maybe they should change their name to VOLTswagen.

Do you think that the I.D. Buzz concept is suitable for the courier industry? Let us know your thoughts on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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