Volkswagen has previewed its next-generation camper van with plug-in hybrid power.

    The next Volkswagen California has been revealed in concept form at the Caravan Salon trade fair in Düsseldorf.

    Volkswagen reports the California concept is a near-production vehicle and brings improvements in efficiency and versatility over preceding models.

    The next California is based on the long-wheelbase T7 Multivan, which rides on Volkswagen’s MQB platform.

    This new platform allows the California concept to debut with a plug-in hybrid powertrain which is a first for the model.

    In the Multivan, the PHEV drivetrain pairs a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and a 13kWh lithium-ion battery.

    The system produces a total of 160kW of power, sent to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

    Volkswagen hasn’t released range figures for the California. However, the T7 Multivan has a claimed 50km of electric range based on the WLTP cycle.

    The company has confirmed the new California will be available with “all drive systems of the Multivan”.

    The other headline change for the California concept is a reworked interior, affording extra versatility.

    For the first time on a California model, there are now sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle. This allows for extra flexibility in loading and unloading the van, especially as the seats are removable.

    Dual sliding doors are also a key enabler of Volkswagen’s “three-zone [living] concept”.

    In zone one, the primary sliding door found on the right-hand side of the vehicle is sheltered by an overhead awning. This promotes easy access to the outdoors and rear of the van “enhancing the feeling of life in the great outdoors”.

    Zone two encapsulates the interior of the van, which has updated seating arrangements. The front seats are height adjustable and can swivel 180 degrees.

    This is complemented by new individual rear seats which are “lightweight, removable and very comfortable”. The newfound flexibility of the removable seats allows the rear of the van to be configured for passenger seating, carrying larger items such as bikes, or turned into a “flat chill-out area”.

    Zone three incorporates a kitchen that has been moved rearward and is now more accessible through new sliding doors. The kitchen boasts a 230V induction cooktop, integrated gas cooker, sink and fridge.

    In addition to zone living, the California concept also features a pop-up roof and a tablet-style control unit. The tablet boasts smartphone connectivity and can be used to control various living and entertainment features.

    At present, Volkswagen hasn’t confirmed whether the California will be offered in right-hand drive and if it will make it to Aussie shores.

    The T7 Multivan it’s based on is set to arrive here late in 2024.

    James Gelding
    James Gelding is a Contributor at CarExpert.
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