In an industry first, Volkswagen will convert your original Beetle to an electric drivetrain. It is partnering with eClassics in Germany to turn your car into an electric Volkswagen Beetle. eClassics’ first conversion is shown here, a 1973 Super Beetle ‘vert, and we have to say, it looks good.
All VW-Made Components
The cool part is that the conversion uses actual VW-produced components from the e-Up! The e-Up’s transverse drivetrain is adapted to the Beetle replacing the original ICE transaxle/engine unit. All of the VW ICE-to-EV aftermarket conversions adapt the original torsion-tube suspension to an electric motor and drive assembly.
The EV setup places the weight directly over the rear centerline as opposed to hanging it behind the centerline adding more mass. Doing this keeps handling neutral, as opposed to extreme understeer until there’s extreme oversteer in an instant with the original setup.
In all, there are 14 lithium-ion batteries as part of the conversion. Each battery makes 2.6 kWh for a total of 36.4 kWh. VW says the range is 125 miles. The rocker extension appears to be hiding those batteries. It ties in nicely with the overall design of the Beetle, but we’d opt for not bothering with it unless the visible batteries make the car look like a baby with its diapers full.
The electric motor is a lot faster and has a higher top speed than the original opposed-cylinder engine. VW claims a top speed of 93 mph, which is 30 mph over the stock VW. At 80 hp, that’s light years ahead of the original’s 25 hp stomach pump.
The images also show that with as compact as the EV setup is there is room in the trunk or the engine compartment depending on how you look at it.
Works For Busses, Ghias, 356 Porsches
Around back the air vents normally found in the lid, and the lower panel relief for either one or two exhaust pipes have all been eliminated. If you come up from behind that’s the first clue this isn’t a normal air-cooled Beetle ‘vert.
Let’s be honest, VW made tons of Beetles and Busses. Converting some for practical and everyday use as opposed to languishing in someone’s garage because they’re “collectible” is a great idea. You’re saving the planet more than by buying a new eUp! for instance because the original labor and components spent in manufacturing the car are not being scrapped but instead reused.
It’s Officially Happening
Converting VWs into electric EVs is a thing. If you can’t wait or are looking to do a swap yourself, there are plenty of aftermarket companies that have what you’ll need, or that can do it for you. Companies like Zelectric in San Diego, California; EV West in San Marcos, California; EVolks in Lehi, Utah, and EV4U in Anderson, California. There are a bunch more that can hook you up.