If you're looking to give that classic Beetle sitting in your garage a new lease on life, Volkswagen may just have the perfect solution.
The German automaker has just announced that they are offering a way for vintage Beetle owners to convert their classic cars to run on pure battery electric power. This would effectively turn the classic Beetle into an electric vehicle (EV). More importantly, it would allow the classic Beetle to be used in cities which will ban internal-combustion engines.
For the EV conversion, Volkswagen has partnered with German firm eClassic. Specifically, it will be eClassics who will perform the retrofit while the automaker will provide them with the batteries and powertrains needed. The retrofit is unlike those offered by other start-up companies. Rather than simply mating new motors and batteries to the Beetle's existing drivetrain, eClassics will fit a new powertrain made by Volkswagen for the electric E-Up! city car.
According to the automaker, the 36.8 kWh lithium-ion battery will have around 200 km of range. In place of the old engine is a single electric motor which produces 82 PS. Despite the power spike, the Beetle does gain weight because of the battery pack. VW claims the electric-powered Beetle will be able to go from 0 to 80 km/h in just 8 seconds and reach a top speed of 150 km/h. It's not supercar territory but, it is more than any Beetle had when it was new. You also free up some cargo space at the rear where the engine used to be.
Now, the electric conversion won't stop with just the Beetle. Volkswagen is working on a package to make an EV conversion of the classic Samba Bus. Interestingly, they even plan on developing a version for the Porsche 356. The company adds that it was looking into using MEB components in the future.
At the moment, Volkswagen and eClassics have not yet announced a price for the conversion, and when it will be available. Considering how much EV conversions usually cost, and the OEM components to be used, do expect to pay top dollar.