Ask Nathan: MORE Volkswagen ID Buzz Pickup News, Family Friendly EV Choices, and Jeep 4xe Need Bigger Batteries?

Volkswagen Group Design boss Klaus Zyciora posted this rendering of an ID. Buzz pickup

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • There’s a bunch of Volkswagen ID Buzz pickup photos on the net!
  • Are there any family friendly electric vehicle choices out there?
  • Jeep 4xe’s need bigger batteries?

The first question comes from a FCA/Stellantis fan who heard a rumor about the 2023 Dodge Hornet PHEV.

Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Nate! There’s images of a production Volkswagen ID Buzz pickup truck on the net!

I just saw this image and I want to know it it’s coming to the U.S.A.


A: This is NOT a “production” Volkswagen ID Buzz pickup; it’s a rendering of a possible production idea.

Volkswagen Group Design boss Klaus Zyciora posted this unseen rendering on Instagram to tempt fans, and evaluate their reactions. He described it as “an unseen variation of the ID. Buzz.

Here’s what he said on Instagram:

“Design Day 🤩✏️ with a picture of an unseen variation of the ID.BUZZ. Shall we bring it to the next level?”

If you recall, I mentioned something along these lines regarding a variation of the Volkswagen ID Buzz pickup truck. You can read about it (here).

I have a theory: the battery electric MEB platform that the new Volkswagen ID Buzz is currently built on can support over 1,400 lbs of payload. That’s already competitive some with mid and full-size pickups. Why not use this platform and build a simple pickup? Perhaps something akin to the Honda Ridgeline in size?

Image: MotorTrend

There are a lot of other renderings out there, including this sweet (above) one from MotorTrend:

You want am ID Buzz pickup? Me too.

Building something that’s this utilitarian, and (hopefully) affordable would be epic. Sure, it’s not what most would think of when they envision “pickup truck,” but it will appeal to many. I’m guesstimating that the bed is about the same length as the Hyundai Santa Cruz’s, which is (at it longest) 48-inches. The bed looks a lot wider though, perhaps it’s 48-inches as well?

Also, imagine if the rear seats folded and the rear bulkhead folded. You know, like a Subaru Baja, Chevrolet Avalanche, or the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV? The possibilities of a van converted to hold cargo is staggering.

The idea isn’t exactly new for Volkswagen…

Volkswagen T2 Double Cab Pickup images
Image: Volkswagen

klauszycioraDesigners do have the ability to create new product visions, today we celebrate World Design Day 🤩✏️ with a picture of an unseen variation of the ID.BUZZ.
Shall we bring it to the next level?

A big shoutout to the design community of the world 🌍

#design #worlddesignday

(Photo: Volkswagen)
[Design Sketch]Edited · 1w

christophereyesDo it, please!1 likeReply

zephyr59810Very cool ❤️🔥Repl

jes.b.hansen.7Omg… YES PLEASE👏Reply



harrystorchWoW 🔥 … built this amazing pickup 🛻Reply

rodrigueshugo4Yes please!Reply

l0rdvadrUmmm. These need to be produced yesterday. Good luck trying to build them fast enough. 🙌🙌. Build it.1 likeReply

marcusn.76Just Do It!Reply

Look guys, Volkswagen Group Design boss Klaus Zyciora literally challenged you to respond to his idea. He wants the higher ups at Volkswagen to green-light the ID Buzz Pickup. If enough of you speak up, if you make some noise – maybe they will build the ultimate hippy pickup.

Honestly, I think Americans would dig it!

  • N

The next question comes from a fan who is looking for a family friendly EV.

Q: (:Twitter@NathanAdlen) My wife decided she wants an electric car.

What is the best family EV? There don’t seem to be many large options.

  • Me?

A: Howdy!

If you need to buy right now, there is only one game in town. The Tesla Model X is the only (somewhat) large SUV with a three-row option that’s all-electric. Tesla used to sell a three-row version of the Model S, but that option was discontinued.

If your wife can hold on, there are a slew of three-row all-electric SUV/crossovers that are coming soon.

Hyundai/Kia, General Motors, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and (possibly) Rivan, Fisker along with VinFast are expected to debut a three-row EV sometime in 2022. There are others, but a majority of upcoming EVs will have seating for five. Some, like the VW ID Buzz are not what I would call “SUVs,” but that might be a good thing. By 2033, it’s expected that nearly every automaker will offer an all-electric vehicle with three rows.

What about a plug-in hybrid vehicle?

Why not check out PHEVs? There are already a few choices out there, including the excellent Volvo XC90 Recharge. Once again, the pickings are a bit slim today, but there will be a ton of PHEV three-row vehicles coming in the very near future.

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The last batch of questions and comments revolve around Jeep’s 4xe battery size and capability. Most of these comments were based on just one video, but we’ve seen these statements many times before.

Q: (Via: YouTube) Here’s a cross-section of comments –

  • Why bother with paying for just 20 miles of range?
  • The off-road range of the 4xe is terrible!
  • It’s not worth the extra price for slightly better gas mileage.
  • You can easily double the size of the battery and get double the range!
  • I’m not a fan of the gloves guy – Steevie Reed
  • Just get the diesel and you’ll have more range.
  • These Jeeps are getting way too complicated.
Images: TFLcar
  • The weight penalty will kill its off road ability
  • How are you going to power up when you’re hundreds of miles away from an outlet?
  • If I can’t power my house like I can with a hybrid F-150, it’s useless.
  • What’s the point of having both gas and electric?

– there are others, but you get the idea.

A: There’s a lot of whitespace between the facts and fiction regarding the current batch of Jeep 4xe vehicles.

I’m not here to defend the brand. In some cases, especially regarding excessive weight and price – I fully agree. Hell, a loaded Jeep Wrangler 4xe can easily exceed 5,200-lbs. That’s no-bueno for off-roading. The lighter the better folks.

Also, I totally agree that Jeep needs to provide a system similar to Ford’s 9.6- or 7.2-kW output (240-volt AC outlet) available in the Hybrid F-150. Imagine: using your Jeep as a proper off-grid power station. That would be epic.

With that being said, there’s a lot of BS we can cut through right now.

Range: I guess if you think about 22-miles of electric range, some of you think that it’s useless – WRONG. What if you commute to work, and the total round trip is less than 20-miles? Sound implausible? About 75-percent of the people I know outside of work commute well under 20-miles daily.

She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed (my spouse) usually drives under 25 miles a day average, and her job requires a lot of commuting time. On top of that, I know a ton of people (including myself) who have employers who have chargers at work. In many cases, folks could do a full commute using nothing but electricity. Nowadays, it should be counted as a bonus.

Jeep® Wrangler 4xe powertrain components. Highlighted components are unique to the Wrangler 4xe.

Bigger Battery:

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe and the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe have a 17.3 kWh battery – which is big. For example, my Nissan Leaf, which is ALL-ELECTRIC has a 30 kWh battery. The Jeep battery is stored under the seats, and (in all honesty) they’re hard pressed to find additional space.

I mean, I guess you could ditch the external spare tire on the Wrangler 4xe and add a massive, round battery.


As I said before, weight is the enemy off-road. On top of that, you will kill your efficiency with more weight. Batteries are heavy, so the gains probably won’t offset the expense.

Image: Jeep

Is the diesel better?

The data on the Jeep Wrangler is pretty conclusive. Comparing the Wrangler (I have no data on a modern Grand Cherokee diesel as it doesn’t currently exist) 4xe to the diesel is eye opening. The diesel outperforms the overall combined mpg of the 4xe with 25 mpg. Also it appears to have a better range of up to 530 miles. Testing at TFL Studios, we’ve seen nearly 30 mpg performance on the highway, but that was under perfect conditions. Also, the diesel is quite a bit lighter than the 4xe, which is saying something.

On the other hand, the Wrangler 4xe could, in theory, commute on mostly electrical power. As I stated earlier, it is something to keep in mind, and the driving performance of the 4xe is superior to the diesel.

Charging up at a trail: I guess you missed the announcement that Jeep is installing Level 2 charging stations at trailheads across the U.S. These 4xes can charge their own batteries, and they run fine even if they use most of their charge. On top of that, heading off-road using all electricity is kind of fun. It’s not a great idea to simply rely on the electric motor, otherwise your range will deplete quickly. Still, it can be used if you’re creeping around wildlife – and stuff like that. The sensation is kind of cool, and the torque is undeniable.

  • N

Speaking of the 4xe…