The next-generation Volkswagen Transporter will arrive in 2024 with an all-new architecture developed with Ford and offering pure-electric power for the first time.
The hugely popular van, which makes up two-thirds of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles' (VWCV) total sales, will be twinned with the Ford Transit Custom (itself the UK's best-selling vehicle) and be built at the Ford Otosan factory in Turkey.
From launch, the Transporter will again be available as a nine-seater Shuttle, two-row Kombi and cargo-carrying panel van, Autocar can confirm. A Sportline trim is also expected to be offered, although this has not yet been confirmed.
The next-gen Transporter will not, for the first time, be the basis for the new California camper. Instead, that model will be derived from the MQB-platformed Multivan MPV, as previewed by a concept in August.
VWCV boss Carsten Intra told Autocar: "A Multivan has to be much more comfortable and much more upscale [than the Transporter]. This is why we now have two line-ups. This is a really important project."
The Transporter "will be our only multi-traction vehicle", said Intra. "We cannot afford to build another platform [for the same vehicle]. It is just too expensive. This is a vehicle that, unlike the California, doesn't give you the highest margin per sale."
He added: "We have a lot of customers that need the space, and need a BEV, but others that cannot yet afford a BEV but drive in cities so want a hybrid. We can now offer that." Intra was referring to the fact that VW also offers the similarly conceived Multivan PHEV and electric ID Buzz.
The Transporter is expected to use Ford's batteries, electric motors, engines, gearboxes and chassis structures across its line-up. It is also set to offer the same array of diesel, petrol-electric and pure-electric drivetrains as its Transit relation.
Today's version which is quite blocky. AUTOCAR
The electric "E-Transporter" will no doubt match the 380km range of the Ford and be sold with the same choice of 134bhp or 215bhp rear axle-mounted motors. Although full technical specifications have yet to be revealed, Ford says the E-Transit Custom will be capable of "full towing capability", with its 430Nm of torque, and its battery can be charged at up to 125kW.
Combustion-powered Customs come in the form of a 222bhp plug-in hybrid (shared with the Ford Kuga) with an 11.8kWh battery, plus 108bhp and 148bhp 2.0-litre diesels, which are offered with a manual transmission. All-wheel drive is an option, but only with the eight-speed automatic. The VW and Ford will have near-identical dimensions and be less than 2m tall for ease of use around town. The VW is expected to ape the SWB Custom's 3m-long load bay and gross payload of 1,360kg. The EV will offer 1,100kg. Where they will differ is in their designs. Ford last year revealed its van's dramatic new look and called it "a distinctive new design benchmark in the one-tonne segment". VW has yet to disclose any information about the Transporter's design, but it will be very different from the Ford, said Intra.
"Although they are similar, we have a different car to [Ford's]. We will let you be the judge, but we think ours is better," said Intra. "It has been judged internally too, even at Ford, and everyone has judged it as better."
Inside, Intra hinted the new Transporter will take cues from the more upmarket Multivan. Pricing is expected to start above the current model's entry point. Autocar
ID BUZZZZ… SLEEPER-SPEC EV COMING
The VW ID Buzz will offer a fully electrified camping experience when it finally gets the California treatment in 2024.
E-Transit Custom will share its EV hardware with 'E-Transporter'.
The ID Buzz California will shun conventional gas-powered appliances, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Carsten Intra told Autocar. "It will not have a gas flame, or gas heating. All the functions should be done with electricity," he said, adding that it will be positioned more as a long-distance cruiser you can sleep in, rather than a dedicated camper.
That role will be filled by the upcoming Multivan California, which was previewed recently by the California Concept -- a vehicle that also offers clues to which features could be fitted to the Buzz, said Intra.
This means the Buzz California could use the same kitchen layout -- including induction hob and cool box -- as the concept and be controlled by a removable tablet device. Integrated awnings, terrace lighting and a boot-mounted shower could also make their way into the Buzz camper. Autocar
ID Buzz California will be billed as a cruiser you can sleep in.