The teaser train is officially over. Debuting at the 2023 Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf is the latest California camper van from Volkswagen. Though technically a concept, VW isn't shy about showcasing some significant changes versus the current model. And while some details aren't fully explained, this is largely the next-gen California camper you'll see in the European market for 2024.
The big news is the addition of a second sliding door on the left side of the van. Previous versions featured a kitchen along the fixed side, and you'll still find it there in the T7 California Concept. However, Volkswagen engineers pushed it rearward just enough to create a walkway behind the front seats. As a neat side-effect, the induction stove, sink, refrigerator, and drawers are now accessible both outside and in. A gas cooker is also included, and a 230-volt plug is available outside.
With the addition of the second sliding door, VW bills the new California as a three-zone concept vehicle. Zone one exists on the right side, where passengers can enter and exit for daily duties throughout the week as you do with a van. On the weekends, this zone becomes an open-sided tent with a single-post awning extending outward to shade the doorway. Zone three is the other side of the van, now accessible through the new sliding door and shaded with a two-post awning for cooking and dining.
In between in Zone two, where you'll find the kitchen tucked between front seats that rotate 180 degrees, and the rear bench that converts to a bed. The seats are also easily removable for extra space, and of course there's the aluminum pop-top roof. It features LED lights and USB sockets for power, and it's controlled by a multifunction tablet at the back of the van. It's the source for all the van's functions and infotainment duties, mounted on a swivel arm so it can be seen from multiple angles for work or play. Or, you can forego all of that and control everything through a smartphone app.
Gallery: Volkswagen Multivan T7 California Concept
The other big-ticket item is the California Concept's plug-in hybrid powertrain. This is a first in the California family, though VW doesn't offer specific details pertaining to the camper. The standard Multivan T7 eHybrid fuses a 1.4-liter engine with a single electric motor to generate a combined 215 horsepower, and it can cover 30 miles with a full charge in the battery. Such on-board juice is certainly useful in a camper, but it's unknown at this time if VW will make any changes to the system for the production California.
However, VW does state that "all drive systems of the Multivan" will be available when the California enters production in 2024. Presumably, that means buyers can opt for pure gasoline or diesel engines in addition to the eHybrid. As for exactly when it will enter production or how much it will cost, expect that information to come at a later date.