The proliferation of EVs has hit almost every vehicle type. Cars, trucks, SUVs (well, a lot of SUVs). One glaring hole in the electric vehicle market is the van. But not for long.
The romantic notion of experiencing “van life” in the great outdoors via our Instagram feeds does create a conundrum. You want to experience the wonders of the Earth but at the same time not increase your carbon footprint. So it’s no wonder that those looking to hit the open road are on the hunt for an electric vehicle that can handle their new vagabond lifestyle.
Or maybe just drive the kids around town.
Based on Volkswagen’s
legendary microbus, the ID.Buzz hits all the nostalgia points. While many of those old buses were used to spread the message of a better world, the EV version actually does that by reducing a driver’s impact on the planet. More importantly though, the ID.Buzz is more than just an idea or concept vehicle. It’s actually on its way to the U.S.
The VW ID.Buzz concept
Currently, Volkswagen is teasing the vehicle with rainbow camo. But on March 9, 2022, the German automaker will unveil the production version of the ID.Buzz to the world. It also might get a new name.
Sadly, we will still have to wait until next year before we can get our hands on one. It will be introduced in Europe first in 2022 and then to the U.S. in 2023.
While we don’t have finalized details based on Volkswagen’s past mentions of the vehicle, we are expecting the ID.Buzz will have about 300 miles of range, an easy to arrange passenger/cargo area, and support DC fast charging.
E-Transit is being built right now and about to be shipped to customers. Unfortunately, these customers are not the ones that want to take the cargo van and turn it into a rolling apartment or transportation for you and 12 of your best friends. Instead, it’s initially heading to commercial customers. Which in its current configuration isn’t a bad thing.
The Ford E-Transit
With a starting price of approximately $45,000, the E-Transit Pro only has a range up to 126 miles. Not exactly what you need to explore the world. But for commercial customers, that’s actually more than enough for many of the vehicle’s tasks.
For the rest of us, Ford won’t comment on future products, but they did mention van life in passing a few times during a drive program of the vehicle. So don’t be surprised in a few years if an E-Transit is available with 200-250 miles of range and outfitters are lining up to fill it with beds and storage for adventure.
Chrysler Pacifica EV
The Chrysler Pacifica is one of the most family-friendly minivans on the market, and it’s already available as a plug-in hybrid. It’s also one of only two vehicles the automaker currently has in its lineup. The other is the 300 sedan.
The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica is currently available as a gas or plug-in hybrid.
However, that’s going to change over the next few years. The automaker announced that by 2028, its entire catalog of vehicles would be completely electric. It made this announcement while showing off the Airflow electric SUV concept.
While that’s great for fans of fully electric SUVs, there’s also a good chance that Chrysler will transform its best-selling product, the Pacifica minivan, into an EV. The first EVs from the brand will appear in 2025. Again it’s likely to be an electric SUV that looks like the Airflow, but it likely won’t be long after that before we get the Pacifica pure electric minivan. Hopefully in 2026.
Toyota’s Mid Box and Micro Box concepts
Back in December 2021, Toyota
announced that it would bring 30 EVs to the global market by 2030. How that number pans out for the U.S. is unknown. We do know that the bZ4X is headed here sometime in the middle of 2022. But after that, it’s anyone’s guess.
What we’re hoping for is in addition to the SUVs and the amazing Cruiser EV concept, Toyota also brings the Mid and Micro Box vans to the U.S. Not much is known about either vehicle other than they’re likely destined for commercial work initially. But if the American van market becomes large enough for Toyota to take a chance on it with either or both of these concepts, that would be great for those looking to be stylish picking up the kids or camping in the woods.
If it does happen, it’ll likely be in the latter half of the decade as Toyota figures out its EV strategy beyond showing off a lot of concepts.
No matter what happens, at least we learned that the automaker has a sense of humor. The QR code on the Mid Box links to a music video on YouTube. Which one? Hint: “Never gonna give, never gonna give…”
Mercedes eSprinter and EQV
One’s headed here. The other, well we might get lucky.
Like the Ford Transit, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is a commercial vehicle workhorse. Also like Ford, Mercedes is already building the electric version of the van. Right now it’s only being sold in Europe. But in 2023, the production of the electric Sprinter will be in three locations. One of them just happens to be in the U.S.
The van will be built in South Carolina on the automaker’s Electric Versatility Platform. It’ll be available with a choice of three battery pack sizes and like a lot of vans in this list, initially meant for commercial use. Even as ambulances. But, as with all vehicles, if the market is there, the automakers will rush to fill it.
What might happen though is that Mercedes could bring over the EQV passenger van. With a range of about 200 miles on the European WLTP standard, it might be exactly what the van-life crowd is looking for. Plus, there are already companies building out camping versions of the van in Europe. Let’s just hope it makes it over here at some point.
While the electric minivan outlook is sort of hit or miss right now, this is a gentle reminder that a few years ago, no one thought an electric pickup would be available anytime soon. Lo and behold, we have three currently being built (Hummer EV pickup, Rivian
R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning), and more are on the way.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.