The Volkswagen ID. Buzz isn’t coming to the United States until June this year but the German automaker already forecasts it will produce more than 40,000 examples of the electric van this year for the global markets. And even though the BEV is still a very new and relatively niche product, the aftermarket scene is slowly starting to release products designed and built specifically for the battery electric bus. ABT, the German performance tuning specialist company, now releases roof solar modules giving the ID. Buzz some extra free electric energy from the sun.
Developed by the firm’s e-Line division for electric vehicle products, the solar modules were designed for use on the long-wheelbase version of the model, which will be the one to be available in the United States starting this summer. ABT says the limited roof area and the complex shapes of the solar modules make it difficult and too cost-intensive to offer the option for the shorter versions. However, an extension through the vehicle’s side panels is already under development.
Gallery: VW ID. Buzz with ABT solar roof
But what are the gains? ABT says customers can expect up to 600 watts of peak power when all the conditions are optimal. Rough estimates show the energy generated by the roof panels should be enough for up to 1,865 miles of extra range per year without the need for a grid connection. If the planned side panel solar modules also reach production, these numbers should increase to up to 1,000 watts and more than 2,000 miles of extra range per year.
But ABT sees application for the roof panels in not just charging the vehicle's battery. If installed on an ID. Buzz camper van – and we know an ID. Buzz California is coming from the factory after 2025 – the panels could power a fridge, the interior lighting, or other onboard equipment.
If you like what you see and hear, you will have to wait until the beginning of next year if you want a solar panel upgrade for your ID. Buzz. ABT estimates it will have the modules on production in early 2024 and will work with Volkswagen to carry out the installation in factory conditions, meaning fewer logistic hurdles and lower prices. There’s no pricing information available yet, though.