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Volkswagen confirms ID. California electric campervan

  • First factory-built electric campervan announced
  • Set to become fourth VW California model
  • Expect plenty of power and a big battery

Written by CJ Hubbard Published: 9 December 2021 Updated: 9 December 2021

Volkswagen has confirmed that it will build an all-electric campervan. The new model is being referred to as the ID. California, and will be based on the production version of the ID. Buzz – VW’s first 100% bespoke electric van.

The VW ID. California will join the range alongside the existing Volkswagen California, Grand California and Caddy California – expanding the firm’s camper line-up to four.

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When did Volkswagen announce the ID. California?

We’ve long speculated that an electric campervan was on the horizon from VW, and the ID. Buzz – which will use the company’s bespoke electric vehicle platform, known as MEB – was the obvious starting point.

However, the official confirmation only came in December 2021 as part of a press release about the future of manufacturing at the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ factory and facilities in Hannover.

Is there any further information at this stage?

Since we still haven’t seen the production version of the ID. Buzz – which will be sold as a Cargo van model and a passenger MPV, and is shown in concept form at the top of this page – details of the camper variant are unsurprisingly hazy at this stage.

However, we do know that the ID. Buzz is a similar – if slightly smaller – size to today’s Volkswagen Transporter van, so you can expect the ID. California to have a similar range of facilities to the traditional California model based on that. For instance, we’d expect a pop-up roof, an onboard kitchen and sleeping space for four people. But no built-in bathroom.

What’s the driving range likely to be?

A key issue with any electric vehicle – and perhaps even more so for an electric camper, where buyers may want to feel as free from constraints as possible – is the driving range.

The latest intel we have on the ID. Buzz is that it will be powered by a 204hp electric motor and offered with a battery pack up 111kW in capacity, a combination that could be good for as much as 345 miles per charge.

Should that turn out to be true, you’re still going to want to reduce your expectations of the ID. California a little, as the extra weight of all the fixtures and fittings inside will surely have an impact on its efficiency.

On that basis, we’d predict 250-mile plus, rather than over 300. Usefully more than any current electric campervan conversion can offer, with the added reassurance of a factory-built design.

Is this a good idea?

Volkswagen certainly seems to think so. It’s seen a huge rise in interest in its California models since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it says there is also an increasing number of campervan enthusiasts looking for more environmentally friendly solutions.

All-electric power certainly suits that ambition. And if VW has any sense, it will also make it possible for the drive batteries to power everything inside the van while you’re camping as well, reducing reliance on camping facilities that have an electrical hook-up (though this could of course be useful for making sure the ID. California is fully charged for when you want to leave in the morning).

When does the electric Volkswagen California go on sale?

No exact date has been given yet, but the official statement includes this information: ‘VWCV will now be starting the development of a further California family member for the second half of this decade’.

We’ll bring you more information – including the first official images – as soon as possible.

Also read:

>> The Parkers guide to factory-supported campervans

>> The best electric vans you can buy now

>> The best medium vans in the UK

>> Electric vans coming soon