VW ID Buzz electric van debut in March

This week, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess set a date for the launch of what might be the most eagerly anticipated of VW’s new battery electric vehicles. The retro-styled ID Buzz concept car blew so many socks off when we first saw it in 2017, and we’ll get our first proper look at the production version on March 9, according to Diess’ Twitter feed.

Intentionally or not, Volkswagen’s ID Buzz concept might be the most successful aspect of the company’s post-Dieselgate charm offensive. VW has had to pivot hard into electrification, applying its proven strategy of building many different styles of vehicles from the same family of parts and designs.

…The ID Buzz is definitely destined for production this year at VW’s commercial vehicle factory in Hannover, Germany. And if you venture to Munich or Hamburg, you may see autonomous Buzzes roaming the streets, gathering test data for Argo AI and Moia ahead of a commercial launch in the latter city in 2025.

US models will arrive in 2023. Since range is considered king in our market, we’re just getting the longer-wheelbase passenger version. European Buzz enthusiasts will have more variety, including a short-wheelbase (and therefore smaller battery capacity) version, as well as a commercial Buzz with panels instead of windows down the sides.

I wish I could justify an EV van like this for the two of us and Sheila the dog. We all fit in her current Fiesta and will do…when her hybrid Maverick arrives. We really need just the one vehicle. But…the ID4 Buzz is attractive and functional…and bigger.

So, Texans are scared of birds

A Walmart in Texas that was overrun by thousands of birds has been hailed as a sign of “death,” “disaster” and the “apocalypse.”

Shoppers were seemingly trapped in their cars—and presumably the store—when the flock descended onto the supermarket’s parking lot, off highway 80 in Mesquite…

Houston Audubon, a non-profit focusing on “protecting the natural environment for birds and people,” explained these sights are not uncommon.

While the birds in the clips were unconfirmed, the site said: “Great-tailed Grackles are a permanent sight in Houston and can be found in any area inhabited by humans that has some trees.

“They tend to congregate in large flocks and prefer shopping centers and fast-food store parking lots where there’s trash for food and trees or light posts for perching…In the evening, raucous flocks pack neighborhood trees creating noisy roosting aggregations.”

I think these folks spend too much time watching horror movies. This is common behavior, especially near sunset this time of year, looking for a place to roost…though feeding time is OK for sighting what is termed a “murmuration” of blackbirds. Some parts of Texas are uptight about grackles, the largest black birds this side of their cousin crows. Flocks often include starlings [not related] or red-wing blackbirds [more crow relatives].

In our neck of the prairie, someone outdoors spots a murmuration coming, they holler to folks indoors to come out and watch. They’re beautiful.