Auto briefs: Microbus revival, solar eclipse, self-driving partnership

The revival of a popular microbus design for the 21st century, a vehicle tie-in with the recent solar eclipse, and a partnership on self-driving vehicle technology were among the items promoted by automakers recently.

  • Volkswagen has announced that it will be making its I.D. Buzz concept vehicle a reality. The automaker plans to begin producing the electric vehicle, modeled after its iconic microbus, in 2022. Volkswagen said the concept model was warmly received at auto shows in Detroit and Geneva, and that the automaker received many requests to make the vehicle widely available. The I.D. Buzz includes batteries mounted in the vehicle's floor and has an estimated range of 300 miles per charge.
  • Mitsubishi recently decided to pair the solar eclipse visible from the United States with its 2018 Eclipse Cross model. The automaker hosted live online streaming video of the celestial event from a site outside Salem, Ore., which was in the eclipse's path of totality. Mitsubishi also sponsored ABC News' coverage of the even and arranged for the compact crossover to be photographed with the solar eclipse in the background.
  • Two automakers have joined with a pair of technology companies to support the development of an autonomous driving platform. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has signed a memorandum of understanding to join an existing partnership of BMW, Intel, and Mobileye to pool their resources for the development of the self-driving technology. The partnership intends to make a scalable platform which can be adopted by automakers worldwide while allowing them to maintain their own individual identity.

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