Pop-up VW T7 Multivan camper might be ultimate PHEV RV & daily driver
After seeing the first Volkswagen T7 camper kit earlier this summer, we were expecting to see a few Multivan campers debut at the 2022 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon. As it turned out, however, we only saw exactly one at the entire show – but it was a particularly sleek, versatile package. The all-new T7 "Freevan" gets a fully removable kitchen and prototype pop-up roof from RV supply giant Reimo, becoming a fast-adapting multi-RV for work, play and everything in between.
Reimo is often ahead of the curve in creating exhibition vehicles that showcase its camper equipment inside the newest, trendiest vans on the market. A clear highlight of its booth this year was the snowflake-white T7 it called Freevan.
As you may recall from last year's T7 Multivan debut, the latest Volkswagen MPV is more versatile than ever, all but optimized straight out of the factory to be a highly functional modular camper MPV. It features three to five individual rear seats that readily adjust in position and remove via the rail mounts on the flat floor. Within minutes, the van transforms from a minivan for the whole family to a cargo-hungry work van. Add-ons like the multifunctional table only improve upon its upgraded versatility.
Sadly for campers, the new Multivan loses the integrated sleeper van capabilities it had in previous generations. The switch from a three-seat third-row bench to individual seats nixes the fold-down bed feature of older Multivans.
But it was only a matter of time before someone made the T7 a camper van. VW previously told us it was working on its own sleeper kit, and we knew it would have some fast competition from the many VW conversion equipment specialists out there. Czech company Visu presented the first single-bed interior conversion kit we saw, and Reimo has developed the first pop-up four-sleeper package. Its kit is so new, the pop-up roof is still just a prototype.
Reimo keeps things simple and readily removable in the Multivan cabin, sliding the two second-row seats together toward the passenger side and using the space behind the driver seat to install a light, compact kitchen. A shorter, squarer block than the average camper van kitchen, the Freevan module looks like a storage cabinet at first glance but includes a slim sink and small fridge box below its two hinged tops. Campers can use their own small portable stove and use the lid over the fridge and the folding sink lid/worktop as work space.
The small kitchen sits low enough to allow the folding bed stored in back to expand over top. This opens up a wider 210 x 137-cm (83 x 54-in) double bed than is possible in camper packages that place the bed next to a taller driver-side kitchen. The prototype electric-lift sleeper roof adds two additional berths so the Freevan can readily transport a family of four (or four buddies) to camp and sleep them all inside. There's also a removable dining table for use in the rear of the van but the lack of front swivel seats means it seats only two people comfortably – the other two will need to eat up front without a table or use an outdoor camping table.
The Freevan certainly isn't the fanciest camper van out there, but the beauty of it is that the kitchen block and bed are fully removable, so owners can quickly turn the Multivan-camper back into a van. Once they remove the camper bits, they can install extra seats for up to seven total occupants or remove the seats into cargo van configuration. The pop-up roof, of course, remains permanently installed but adds only 9 cm (3.5 in) over the original roof height to approximately 2 meters (78 in).
The T7 Multivan's available PHEV powertrain makes the Freevan's versatility even sweeter. The combination of 13-kWh lithium battery and 114-hp electric motor power the van for up to 50 km (31 miles) of pure-electric range. So those who live in the city and commute short mileage each day could enjoy a zero or near-zero emissions vehicle for everyday driving, whether using it to carry the family to and from school, work and activities, as a work vehicle or a little of both. And they don't lose the ability to take spontaneous long-distance camping trips with quick fuel stops the way they would with an all-electric camper van. After the T7 battery is depleted, the 148-hp 1.4-liter engine kicks in to allow the van to travel and gas up just like any other ICE-driven camper van.
We don't have a final Freevan price because Reimo's line-by-line price sheet had the pop-up roof price listed as unavailable due to its prototype status. However, it lists the base price of a 1.5-liter TSI 517-cm-long (204-in) Multivan with Freevan cabin conversion at €47,690. The upgrade to eHybrid PHEV powertrain costs €11,965, and basic camper options on the show Freevan, such as the lithium leisure battery and window curtains, tack on an additional €2,068 to bring that price up to €61,273.
Similar pop-up sleeper roofs that Reimo offers on older Volkswagen vans like the T6.1 and T6 price in around €5,250, so if the new roof priced similarly, the base price for the four-sleeper T7 PHEV pop-up camper would come in around €66,500, before calculating in any other vehicle options or camping accessories.
With euros and US dollars sitting evenly today, all those prices look the same with a $ in front of them.
Reimo does offer a few of its pop-up roof and interior van conversion products in the US, and while the T7 Multivan won't be coming to the States, the all-electric ID. Buzz is headed for the market in 2024. We look forward to seeing Reimo's interpretation of an ID. Buzz camper, perhaps at next year's Caravan Salon, if not sooner, and hope those products eventually make their way over the Atlantic to usher in a new era of all-American free-roaming VW (e)van life.