VW + EV = ID BUZZ

This year, Volkswagen is bringing back the bus — souped up, tricked out, and no longer bouncy — as the ID. Buzz. “ID.” stands for “intelligent design,” and “Buzz” means that it’s electric. It might be the most anticipated vehicle in automotive history. Volkswagen has been teasing a return of the classic, iconic, drive-it-to-the-Grateful-Dead bus for more than two decades. (I’m one of the people who’ve been counting the days.) The company keeps announcing that it’s coming, and then it never comes. Finally, it really is coming, and not only is it electric but it can also be a little bit psychedelic, two-toned, in the colors of a box of Popsicles: tangerine, lime, grape, lemon. It’s on sale in Europe this fall and will be available in the United States in 2024. (One reason for the wait is that Volkswagen is making a bigger one for the U.S. market, with three rows of seats instead of two.) Volkswagen expects the Buzz, which has a range of something like two hundred and sixty miles, to be the flagship of a fast-growing electric fleet. The C.E.O. of Volkswagen of America said that the demand for the Buzz in the U.S. is unlike anything he’s seen before. “The Buzz has the ability to rewrite the rules,” Top Gear reported in April, naming it Electric Car of the Year…

The future of the automobile is, undeniably, swoosh and buzz and smart — smart this, smart that. But is it appealing? VW’s pitch for the Buzz marries nostalgia with moral seriousness about climate change, a seriousness that, for VW, is a particular necessity. Volkswagen dominated the diesel-vehicle industry with its “clean diesel” cars and trucks until, in 2015, it admitted to tampering with the software on more than ten million vehicles in order to cheat on emissions tests. The scandal shattered the company and led to the resignation of Martin Winterkorn, then the VW Group’s C.E.O…Just this May, Volkswagen agreed to pay nearly two hundred and fifty million dollars to settle claims filed in England and Wales…

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz, then, isn’t just any electric car. It’s a bid for Volkswagen’s redemption. Is it also the car that can usher in an E.V. revolution, a true turn of the wheel in the long history of the automobile?

Car geeks who’ve driven prototypes, pre-production versions, say the answer to all those questions is a solid “YES”. We’ll get to see as the Euro version rolls out, this autumn. The longer wheelbase North American version is rumored for 2024 and – I’ll bet – it may be built in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

NBCUniversal to Invest $500 Million in a Production Studio in Albuquerque

NBCUniversal is setting up shop in New Mexico, announcing plans on Friday to build a new TV and film studio in Albuquerque and pledging to spend $500 million in production over the next 10 years.

NBCU is entering into a 10-year venture with Garcia Realty and Development to redevelop an empty free-span warehouse in the New Mexico area into a state-of-the-art studio with two sound stages, offices and a mill. Over the next 10 years, NBCUniversal will produce television and film projects at the Albuquerque facility, with the aim of reaching $500 million in direct production spending…

The deal comes just months after Gov. Grisham signed into law one of the most aggressive incentive packages for the film and television production industry in the United States, which doubled the annual payout for productions that come to New Mexico. This also comes as other states like Georgia and Louisiana are coming under fire for new abortion laws that have led to calls for Hollywood studios to boycott those states.

Lots of solid movie production talent with decades of experience here in New Mexico. Sounds like a win all the way round.