Volkswagen has taken out European Union trademarks on three names that could be related to the expected three primary variations of VW’s upcoming re-born electric Microbus, which is expected to be available around 2023. The trademarks are for the names Loungeback, Streamback, and ID.Life. So what might these names actually mean?
We’ve already heard that three primary versions of the ID.Buzz are planned, a European-market, six-seat passenger-hauler targeted at ride-sharing services, and a U.S.-targeted one that sounds a bit confusing based on the Automotive News Europe description:
The U.S. will get a ride-hailing variant, focused on customers traveling alone or in small groups. It will have only four seats — two facing forward and two facing toward the rear of the vehicle.
This is a little confusing—do these seats count the front two seats? Is it just forward-facing front seats and then a pair of rear-facing seats? What are they facing—a big empty volume back there? This one doesn’t make any sense. Could they perhaps mean two front seats, and then four rear seats, but with the rows of seats facing one another? That makes much more sense.
Then there’s a cargo version, targeting parcel delivery companies, like the cargo concept VW showed a few years back.
There also appears to be both short- and long-wheelbase versions of the ID.Buzz, though Americans will only get the long-wheelbase one.
As far as the name trademarks go, all have classifications that suggest use both for automobiles and related vehicles (but non-rail, in case you were wondering) as well as all this:
“Sporting articles and equipment; Gymnastic articles; Festive decorations and artificial Christmas trees; Equipment for fairs and playgrounds; Toys, games, playthings and curios; Model kits [toys]; Plush animals and other plush toy articles; Slot machines [coin-operated machines]; Vehicle models [scaled down]; Toy vehicles; Scooters [children’s vehicles]; Automobile models [scaled down]; Toy cars; Remote-controlled vehicles [toys]; Game balls; Kaleidoscopes; Board games; Playing cards; Game balls; Exercise bikes; Archery equipment; Gymnastics and gymnastics equipment; Plastic racetrack; Gloves [accessories for games]; Swimmers [fishing]; Camouflage shields [sporting articles]; Parts and accessories for all the aforesaid goods, included in this class; none of the aforesaid goods relating to electronic games or video games.”
Well, if I had to guess, I’d think Loungeback might refer to an ID.Buzz interior layout that has, maybe, a pair of rear-facing (or maybe rotating?) captains’ chairs behind the front seats, then perhaps a wraparound bench at the rear, making a sort of little lounge area. Possibly a fold-out table could be involved as well.
There’s renderings online showing a lot of ID.Buzz interior variations; this one has rotating first-row seats and folding middle and rear rows, for example:
Whatever the layout is, the “lounge” part suggests a likely general concept, at least.
Streamback is trickier. What do they mean by that? Could it possibly be a variant with an integrated screen for watching streaming media services? When it comes to possible associations with stream — small creeks, urine flow, and digital media sent in a constant flow — I think the latter is the most likely option?
The ID.Life thing I suspect might be a broader catchall marketing term used in VW’s advertising of their whole electric ID line of cars. Expect to see goofy commercials about living the ID.Life or shit like that. I don’t expect this one to be a specific vehicle, especially since it doesn’t seem to apply to the cargo variant.
So, maybe that’s what these are: configurations of the ID.Buzz, which, really, should prove to be an extremely flexible vehicle. It’s a box on wheels, after all. The MEB platform it’s built on is quite flexible as well, and VW has been exploring possibilities like single-or double-cab pickup trucks in the style of the original Type 2 trucks, which would be very exciting.
I mean, look how cool something like that would be, right?