It looks like Volkswagen is finally be ready to introduce a modern-day version of the iconic Microbus.
Volkswagen CEO boss Herbert Diess has confirmed that a fully-electric VW Microbus is in development. The vehicle was previewed by I.D. Buzz Concept at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.
Diess provided some justification for the model during the world debut of the new VW Polo, stating:
“Emotional cars are very important for the brand. We are selling loads of Beetles still, particularly in US markets. But we will also have the Microbus that we showed, which we have recently decided we will build.”
That sentiment was echoed by VW’s design boss Oliver Stefani earlier at the at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show:
“We would like to bring this back because it fits so well to what the brand stands for: it’s emotional, it has functionality, it makes your life easier.”
Diess didn’t reveal any details about the new Microbus or when it will arrive, but the model will likely share many design cues with the I.D. Buzz Concept and have the iconic proportions of the original Microbus. The fact that it will share a platform with the rest of VW’s new electric models means it won’t arrive until sometime after 2020.
Are you old enough to remember the Microbus? Will you be happy to see it back? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Amazon Orders 100,000 Rivian Electric Delivery Vans
It’s the largest single order of electric delivery vehicles ever.
Just months after announcing its major investment in Rivian, Amazon has placed a massive order for 100,000 electric vans built by the electric car upstart.
The Michigan-based upstart is considered by industry experts to be the first true competitor to Tesla. Having operated in stealth for nearly ten years, it made a splash when it unveiled the all-electric R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck in late 2018.
The company has since received nine-figure investments from several large corporations, including $700 million from Amazon and $500 million from Ford.
Amazon senior vice president Dave Clark stated that the purchase represents the largest order of electric delivery vehicles ever, adding that we should “look out for the new vans starting in 2021.”
The retail giant didn’t reveal any technical details of the vans or how much each one will cost, but the purchase demonstrates Rivian’s capability to build a wide variety of vehicle types in large volumes.
Plymouth Voyager Returns As An Entry-Level Chrysler Pacifica
The Voyager is back, but not as a Plymouth.
The Plymouth Voyager was a popular minivan of the 90s and early 2000s. While the Plymouth brand is likely dead for good, Fiat Chrysler has dusted off the Voyager name for use on entry-level Chrysler Pacifica models.
The 2020 Chrysler Voyager replaces the Pacifica L and LX models and is intended for budget-minded families and fleet buyers who can do without the numerous tech and convenience features available, but they do come standard with seven-passenger seating, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.
You can’t get leather seats on either Voyager model, but you can add the SafetyTec Group that adds rear park assist with stop, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, the Cold Weather Group Package, Stow ‘n Place roof rack and a single overhead DVD on the Voyager LX. Chrysler’s trademark Stow ‘n’ Go second-row storage system is not part of the options list.
In addition to the Voyage L and LX models, Chrysler is also offering an LXi trim specifically for fleet buyers. As such, the Voyager LXi comes equipped with durable vinyl seats, Stow ‘n’ Go seating, roof rack, second-row sunshades and remote start.
Aside from the name change and stripped down features list, the Voyager is identical to the Pacifica. All three models are powered by a Pentastar V6 that produces 287 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque, sent to the front wheels by a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Nissan Creates Battery Powered Electric Ice Cream Van
It’s a one-off, but how long until all ice cream vans go electric?
Of the many ways companies operating in the UK celebrated the country’s Clean Air Day, Nissan chose to build a one-off all-electric ice cream van that could very well save the ice cream truck from going extinct.
“Sky to Scoop”, as the concept is called, was jointly developed by Japanese automaker and Mackie’s of Scotland, a creamery that powers its dairy farm with renewable wind and solar energy. It is based on the Nissan e-NV200 electric commercial van and uses Nissan Energy Roam — a 40kWh portable powerpack — instead of a diesel generator to keep the ice cream and beverages cold. Solar panels on the roof allows it to recharge without having to plug into the grid.
Scheduled to go on sale in 2019, the Nissan Energy Roam uses lithium-ion cells recovered from early first-generation Nissan electric vehicles. It not only provides clean power anywhere, but it also makes battery-powered vehicles even more sustainable.
“Most ice cream vans, particularly older models, have diesel engines which are kept running to operate the refrigeration equipment,” Nissan says. “These motors are criticized for producing harmful emissions, including black carbon, when left idling.”
As preposterous as it might sound, some UK towns and cities are actually considering banning ice cream vans, so Nissan’s electric ice cream truck could very well provide a solution of sorts with its low carbon footprint. What do you think?