Volkswagen ID Buzz camper to adopt California name

The Volkswagen ID California camper to be based on the ID Buzz LWB, and poised to go on sale later this decade...

Volkswagen ID California illustration

On sale 2027 (est) | Prices from £80,000 (est)

Rarely has a vehicle been misidentified as much as the Volkswagen ID Buzz. It’s a brilliant people carrier, for sure, and its styling is a guaranteed head-turner. But what it isn’t, is a camper van – yet.

That’s about to change, however, because Volkswagen is getting to grips with a holiday-friendly version of our 2023 Car of the Year, as shown in our illustration.

The Volkswagen ID California, as it is expected to be called, will go on sale “in the second half of the decade,” according to a VW insider. It will join the smaller Caddy California, mid-sized California and larger Grand California in the range – and will be VW’s sole electric campervan.

The introduction of the ID California will be later than many expected, not just because of the engineering challenges present in ensuring the vehicle stays under 3500kg ensuring it can be driven on a car licence, rather because today’s market for an electric campervan remains small.

Work is currently underway to fit out the ID California, but it’s likely it will incorporate a similar layout to the regular California, with a kitchenette, a rock and roll rear seat which will fold into a double bed, clever storage areas, and front seats which will rotate to form a living area. 

It will also feature a pop-top to allow additional headroom – and possibly provide extra sleeping accommodation. Key to this is the panoramic glass roof in long-wheelbase versions of the ID Buzz. The glass panel, which is the largest yet fitted to a Volkswagen, stretches around three-quarters of the length of the roof, making it an ideal size to maximise space in the ID California’s living accommodation.

VW ID Buzz LWB rear left driving

The ID California is expected to be based on the ID Buzz LWB, which is 250mm longer than the regular vehicle and is able to accommodate an 86kWh (total capacity) battery. In the ID Buzz LWB, this can deliver an official range of up to 291 miles, although that figure will be reduced in the ID California due to the additional weight of the camping equipment.

It will also make full use of the ID Buzz’s existing bi-directional vehicle-to-grid charging technology, which allows the vehicle to supply electricity from an additional source, as well as receive it in the usual way. That means it will be possible for the ID California to be entirely self-sufficient when camping off-grid, and will reduce reliance on electric hook-ups at campsite, or the requirement to carry a separate 12-volt leisure battery.

A key area Volkswagen’s engineers are working to overcome is weight, because the ID Buzz LWB has a maximum payload of 596kg. It’s possible, therefore, that the ID California will use the twin-motor setup of the high-performance ID Buzz GTX, which increases power from 282 to 335bhp. Whilst the GTX’s payload hasn’t yet been confirmed, it does bring increases in towing capacity from between 1000kg and 1200kg (depending on version) to a maximum of 1800kg.

There's no official word on pricing, but with a premium of around £15,000 to jump from a Volkswagen Transporter to a California, the ID California could be priced around £80,000.

Read more: Best campervans

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