Volkswagen Stops ID. Buzz Production Over Battery Issues

volkswagen stops id buzz production over battery issues

Volkswagen has suspended production of the all-electric ID. Buzz model in Hanover, Germany, with local media citing problems with the battery system.

Since Buzz production commenced earlier this month, VW Commercial Vehicles has manufactured about 500 examples. However, it has not yet delivered any to customers, making the situation vaguely similar to the Japanese recall affecting the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra. Though the sibling EVs from Asia were afflicted by faulty wheel hubs, Volkswagen’s van is reported to be cursed with problem battery cells. Considering the issues the company has had with battery suppliers in the past, one would think that VW would be well-positioned to deal with this problem. Unfortunately, the automaker has confirmed that these are new cells from a different supplier that is currently used exclusively on the ID. Buzz.

Early reporting on the issue was conducted by Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, before being picked up by Electrive for the English-speaking world. The good news is that there don’t appear to be any fire risks or defects so serious that the vehicles have been rendered undrivable. Instead, reports have suggested that the 82 kWh battery (77 kWh usable capacity) is underperforming – noting voltage drops that might affect range and acceleration.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the unit was eventually supposed to be slotted into other MEB-based products that have already suffered production delays. This presumably includes the ID.4 ( which suffered software gremlins and a limited battery recall) and the ID.5 (which couldn’t get enough wiring harnesses in from Ukrainian suppliers).

From Electrive:

A spokesperson for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles confirmed to electrive.net that only the ID. Buzz is affected – although other MEB models in the ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5 series with a battery with 77 kWh of usable energy content are also on offer. “It is a new battery cell from a different supplier that is currently only used in the ID.Buzz,” the spokesperson said. “Therefore, only the production in Hanover is affected, but not other locations.” However, he said, the new cell will later be used in other MEB models. The spokesman would not disclose which manufacturer was involved when asked.

This year, [Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles] targets producing up to 15,000 units of the ID.Buzz Pro and ID.Buzz Cargo EVs. After the ramp-up, up to 130,000 vehicles per year can be produced in Hanover in the future. Sales of both models reportedly began on 20 May. The passenger car variant ID.Buzz Pro starts at a gross list price of €64,581. The ID.Buzz Cargo is available for a net list price of €45,740 and €54,430 (gross).

It may be pure coincidence that currently, yet another battery problem with an MEB model became known – it is an isolated case. Norwegian eMobility Youtuber Björn Nyland recently had to abort a range test in a VW ID.5 GTX because the battery could only retrieve around 65 kWh of energy content. Usually, 77 kWh is the usable net energy content; gross, 82 kWh are installed in the vehicles. In the case of Nyland, VW Norway justified the measurements with a defective battery module.

For a company that seems to have bet everything on electrification, Volkswagen seems to be having a lot of trouble with its battery packs. But it would be unfair to say it was the only company facing headwinds. General Motors, Hyundai Motor Group, Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, and Volkswagen have all issued battery-related recalls since February of 2020. In some cases, those recalls involved the manufacturer recommending against parking the vehicle in garages to minimize any additional risks posed by a potential fire hazard. LG Energy Solution has frequently been a supplier of note in these events. But we’ve seen other battery purveyors being similarly being blamed for what are becoming uncomfortably familiar issues.

The silver lining for VW is that the MEB platform makes it relatively easy to swap units. That should make the issue relatively easy to deal with, assuming the supplier is the one to blame. But things will be a little tougher if these problems come down to lapses in Volkswagen’s own quality assurance.

[Images: Volkswagen]

Comments
Join the conversation
5 of 27 comments
  • SnarkIsMyDefault SnarkIsMyDefault on Jun 29, 2022

    So will this battery issue affect Ducati E-bikes? (to raise the important question)

  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Jun 29, 2022

    Possibly the most over-hyped new car intro ever, it's been threatened as an actual product for 10 + years. Supra and Bronco pale in comparison. And every update seems to contain a thread of pending disappointment for the ID.Buzz. And with VAG group's customary quality and electrical concerns, I'll pass, despite how appealing the package is.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?
Next