The iconic Volkswagen Kombi is one step closer to making a comeback on Australian roads.
The modern version of the 1960s hippie mobile – officially known for the time being as the I.D. Buzz – will play a leading role in the rollout of Volkswagen’s electric vehicle range due a little over two years from now.
While the Kombi name and the production design are yet to be formally unveiled, Volkswagen Australia has all but confirmed the new Kombi is coming.
“We will be part of the first wave of international rollouts of future Volkswagen electric cars,” said Volkswagen Australia spokesman Kurt McGuiness.
When asked about the likelihood of the Kombi being part of Volkswagen’s initial electric car push he said: “I can actually say that one makes the most sense to us because you’ve got the feel-good factor of having the Kombi back (plus) the practical sense of having a commercial vehicle that will service fleet customers and big businesses, which are already crying out for these sort of cars.”
The modern Kombi is expected to get the green light for sale in Australia because Volkswagen will be able to sell what is effectively the same vehicle to two groups of buyers.
As with the original in the 1960s, the modern Kombi will appeal to families, surfers and holidaymakers while a windowless van version will appeal to fleets.
Mr McGuiness said fleet customers with government contracts are already asking about the arrival of electric vans.
“If they’ve got a government contract it helps them, it also helps them from a corporate social responsibility perspective,” he said.
“If you’ve got a business (fleet) that also has a back to base operation, it makes a lot of sense to have those cars go back and plug in overnight.”
He said the fleet business was a “big opportunity” for the success of future Kombi EV models in Australia.
Pricing for the new Kombi electric vans are yet to be announced, however they are likely to start beyond $60,000 given the cost of Volkswagen’s equivalent diesel-powered vans and the price premium electric vehicles currently attract.
Driving range of the production Kombi is also yet to be announced.However, Volkswagen claimed the I.D. Buzz Cargo concept van could travel in excess of 550km on a single charge without a full load on board.
When the I.D. Buzz Cargo was unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles motor show, Volkswagen said it has “the potential to write history as one of the most advanced light commercial vehicles”.
The modern Kombi concept car was unveiled at the 2017 Detroit motor show as the I.D. Buzz, complete with surfboards on the roof.
The production version is due to be unveiled some time in the next 12 months.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling