Volkswagen electrifies the iconic Bug
To demonstrate the versatility of its new electric battery platform, Volkswagen will unveil a retro, all-electric e-Beetle concept this week.
The vehicle will be shown for the first time starting Thursday at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. While VW provided the necessary components, the assembly was handled by eClassics, a German electric vehicle conversion company. It appears it used an early 1970s Super Beetle as the foundation.
Underneath, the classic convertible is equipped with the gearbox and battery system used for VW's e-up! subcompact, which is already in production. The lithium-ion battery pack was built into the droptop's underbody, adding to its chunky profile.
To handle the extra weight, and the higher performance this revamped Bug is capable of, the chassis was reinforced. For extra stopping power, the brakes were upgraded, too. The e-Beetle accelerates from zero to 50 miles per hour in just over eight seconds.
This e-Beetle has a top speed of 93 miles per hour and a total range of 124 miles.
It also features fast charging. Using it, if the battery is fully depleted, it can be recharged back to 93 miles of range in around an hour. There's no word on total time needed for a complete recharge.
An extra cute touch is the placement of the charging port. It's hidden under the passenger side rear taillight, which flips up to reveal the access.
Something else unusual is the rear trunk -- in that there is one. The addition of the battery pack and motor included freeing up space where the normal combustion engine was placed at the rear of the gasoline Beetle. With it gone, cargo space can be had in both the front and rear.
Other subtle and modern improvements include the addition of LED headlights and upgraded gauges.
Perhaps the most electrifying news is that based on the possible success of this conversion, Volkswagen and eClassics plan to give other older VW models similar conversions. The team is already working on a platform for the brand's iconic Bus and possibly something for the Porsche 356 (a model built all through the 1950s and into the early '60s). Volkswagen is also looking into ways to increase performance and add additional miles of range.
Pricing hasn't been announced for an e-Beetle conversion or whether a Beetle EV can be shipped to our shores. Either way, it's a very cool sign of classic, but very high-tech, things to come.
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