Volkswagen ID. Buzz gains solar roof panels for camping and added range from ABT

Volkswagen’s electric version of its iconic microbus, the VW ID. Buzz has just gotten even more adventure-friendly. Custom German auto tuner ABT revealed today it has developed solar modules to fit on the roof of the ID. Buzz to add roughly 1,800 miles (3,000 km) per year to the vehicle’s battery or for off-grid power.

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz was officially unveiled last March after the German automaker teased the electric version of its famed minivan for several months. Volkswagen’s electric van (the first European version) is powered by an 82 kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor with 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque, allowing up to 258 miles of driving range.

The electric van has already “ignited a buzz” in Europe (see our review and test drive) after nearly selling out last summer and VW Commercial delivering 6,000 ID. Buzz models in 2022. Volkswagen did say the ID. Buzz would come to the US in 2024 but hasn’t announced the specs yet. More information is expected later this year.

Before it arrives in the States, the electric microvan is already gaining enthusiasm from the aftermarket.

German auto tuner ABT announced in a press release on Thursday that its ABT E-Line has developed solar panels to fit on the top of the roof of the VW ID. Buzz.

The solar panels, mounted on the vehicle’s roof, can send up to 600 watts to the electric vans battery pack while driving or parked, with plans to expand output to over 1,000 W. Power from the solar roof panels can deliver an extra roughly 1,864 miles (3,000 km) range each year or deliver off-grid energy.

As ABT explains, the limited roof area of previous models and the complex shape of the solar modules made it too costly to install, but the new ID. Buzz, especially the long wheelbase version, makes the perfect fit.

The ID. Buzz can charge autonomously off-grid, as Eric Plekkepoel, CEO of ABT e-Line GmbH, explains:

BEV and PHEV vehicles, with their traction storage units, are the perfect platform for using solar energy for propulsion.

In addition to charging the vehicle’s battery, energy from the solar panels can be used to power other electronics like a refrigerator or interior lightning. ABT says it will begin series production of the new ID. Buzz solar roof at the beginning of 2024 with Volkswagen Group Service carrying out the conversion close to the factory.

Electrek’s Take

The ID. Buzz cannot arrive in the US soon enough. The electric microbus alone is a fun, functional vehicle that makes the perfect road tripper for adventures.

With added solar on the roof, the ID. Buzz becomes even more of a practical solution for adventure seekers and travel enthusiasts. I can’t wait to see what the ID. Buzz will look like in the US. Check back for more details, as they expected later this year.