Tuesday, September 26, 2023


VW camper to return: “ID. California” officially announced

Volkswagen has surreptitiously confirmed at VW’s supervisory board meeting recently that a new camper version of their forthcoming electric bus will become a reality. Dubbed the “ID. California,” the vehicle is based on the confirmed “ID. Buzz” electric van the company has been showing off.

The camper is expected to reach the market in the second half of the decade.

Not surprisingly, Volkswagen sees the raging demand for RVs of all sorts and already does produce a camper van that follows in the footsteps of the Westfalia campers we Americans are familiar with. California is the name Volkswagen assigns to the campers presently which are offered in a few forms in many countries around the world. However, you can’t get one in the state for which they are named. 

The ID. Buzz on which the California will be based is part of Volkswagen’s all-electric future and takes the form of a van. In fact, in many parts of the world, VW still sells a lot of vans to the kind of folks you might expect would buy these vehicles: carpenters, plumbers, delivery drivers and others who use them in their daily work. 

The present California line includes the Caddy California (I am not kidding), the 6.1 California, which is what we Americans might be most familiar with, and the California XXL, which is based on a VW van similar in size to Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter. 

Electrified VW

Volkswagen, like so many other carmakers, is pushing toward a future where the majority of their passenger vehicles are powered by electricity. The company already sells the ID. 4 here in the U.S., which is an electric SUV. It has been getting high marks for the product. 

In fact, our own Mike Sokol, the RV Electricity Guy, has tested an ID. 4 as a tow vehicle with a small travel trailer behind it as part of his GoGreen RV program. 

As part of the new line of electric vehicles, Volkswagen plans to bring back the van/bus to the U.S. in the form of the ID. Buzz. 

The ID. Buzz is expected to be offered with an 82- or 111-kilowatt-hour battery and feature single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive. But the flashy concept that we’ve been shown by VW isn’t quite the same as the more utilitarian version caught brake testing in the Alps. That would likely serve the commercial customers that VW already sells vans to but isn’t as exciting as the concept we saw earlier. 

VW camper vans are hot

It’s funny, to me, having grown up in a Southern California beach town, just how popular the VW camper vans have become and how incredibly valuable they are in the used car market. These things were practically traded for a surf board and a six pack when I was in high school. They were considered almost throwaway cars. 

Now it’s not impossible to have spent in excess of $100,000 for a really good vintage Transporter, particularly the first-generation models. 

But despite the craze in the camper world, VW may not bring the ID. California to, well, California. Or any of the rest of the U.S. Volkswagen abandoned commercial vehicles here long ago. So it remains to be seen if the new ID. Buzz and its sexy ID. California variant will cross the shores. 

Class B vans are the fastest growing segment of the RV market. It’s safe to assume that a VW-branded RV would probably sell like the wildfires that, sadly, destroy parts of the state for which the VW’s campers are named. So we can only hope to see the ID. California in it’s namesake place. 


Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.


  1. VW Electric RV is as bad as Fiat 500e and it will not last in the US market more than Fiat 500e’s tenure. VW has a great opportunity to cash in on the RV craze yet it has totally missed the boat. Instead of bringing in their gasoline VW California to US, it will wait for another 3-4 years to introduce a half baked Electric Van with a range that will get you from one charging station to another. They need to realize that US is a large country and in most camping sites, you will be lucky to find a gas station in a 50 mile radius.
    Seriously, VW’s only cash cow and successful product has been the VW Vanagon (looking at their resale value and VW Eurovan MV’s), the rest of the VW line up is nothing special based on their resale value. Wake up VW Executives!!!

  2. Electric RV is the most stupid thing at this moment. Perhaps 30 years from now but anywhere I go, gas stations are at least 40 miles away, forget about Electricity.

  3. Not anything like the models that are selling outside of this country! Those are much different and loaded like a real VW Camper with just about everything that you would expect in a camper and then some.


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