Drivetrain conversion turns the classic Beetle into an EV
Classic Volkswagens, like the Beetle and the Bus, are now iconic pieces of driving history throughout the world. Volkswagen wants to take that love a step further by adding an electrification option for restorers looking to bring new spark to their classic Beetle cars.
The e-Beetle, as it’s been dubbed, debuts as Volkswagen’s collaboration with eClassics. Using components from the new VW e-up electric car, the e-Beetle has a modular powertrain that can be used in most classic Volkswagens, and offers a factory-vetted, new-component option for the change.
Using the e-up’s powertrain, the e-Beetle sports 2.5-kWh lithium-ion battery modules that can deliver up to 36.8 kWh in a bundle of 14. That’s an estimated range of about 200 km (124 miles) per charge. Recharge time for 150 km (93 miles) of that can be available within an hour, depending on charging station speed.
Performance is far better than the world-changing, air-cooled, low-output engines of the Beetle when first introduced, bringing 60 kW (82 PS) of output at immediate throttle press and a 0-50 km/h (31 mph) sprint of about four seconds. Top speed is 150 km/h (93 mph).
Volkswagen says that it is working with eClassics to create conversion options for other historic VW Group vehicles such as the Porsche 356 and the VW Bus. For conversions of the e-Beetle, Volkswagen Group supplies production parts from the e-up to eClassics, which undertakes the conversion process on behalf of the vehicle’s owner.
Because components are modular, they can be tailored to specific needs, giving flexibility with other conversion options. The e-Beetle weighs in at 1,280 kg (2,822 lb), but larger vehicles could possibly accommodate more battery weight for better range.