Karabag Looking to Convert 20,000 Iconic VW Beetles to Electric in 2014

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 8

Converted Karabag Beetle

Converted Karabag Beetle

A German firm by the name of Karabag hopes to bring new life to some 20,000 iconic Volkswagen Beetles by electrifying them for the modern day.

Electric Bits Fit Nicely

Electric Bits Fit Nicely

The classic VW Beetle survived in its mostly original form until 2003 when production ended in Mexico.

Now, Karabag wants to take those late production Beetles and convert them over by removing the air-cooled four-cylinder engine and putting in its place a 23 kW electric motor that churns out 109 pound-feet of torque.

Range is claimed to be approximately 74 miles and top speed is listed at 71 mph.

While we’re certainly in favor of more electric vehicles on the road, this Karabag conversion doesn’t seem like something we’d buy.

First, its power output is too low to be at all zippy.

Second, even the late model Beetles from the 2000s lack most of the amenities of modern autos.

Third, it’s way too expensive.  The conversion alone costs $15,000 and Karabag charges $133 per month to rent the battery pack.  None of those charges include the cost of the donor vehicle.

Regardless of all this, Karabag hopes to convert some 20,000 Beetles over to electric in 2014.  That figure is way too optimistic, especially since this Karabag conversion won’t be available in the US.

Tags: , , , , ,

8 responses to "Karabag Looking to Convert 20,000 Iconic VW Beetles to Electric in 2014"

  1. Spec says:

    I’ll take a convertible one please.

    1. Spec says:

      $15,000 plus $133 per month? No thanks. I’ll cancel my order.

  2. Warren says:

    There are several reputable conversion shops, here in the US, that will convert your Bug to an AC50 with CALB cells for $15K.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Hi Warren

      Please give us details. I would love to buy a vw bug conversion. 31 hp (such as mentioned here) is adequate, since years ago I believe the original imported to the states had 25 horsepower. And there were huge numbers of 36 and 40 hp models sold. So in any other car it may be considered underpowered, but bug owners would say, ‘so what?’.

      I would want a decently sized battey for a decent amount of range, J1772 charger for compatibilty, but its the converter people’s choice as to whether they want to go with the pre-1967 6 volt accessories or the more modern 12 volt. If they are doing superbeetles, than of course it would be 12 volt by default. If the SB has room for even a bigger battery, then of course I’m all for it.

      1. Warren says:

        I should clarify. That is $15K for the parts. They will of course charge for their labor and expertise.

        Bill, you are on here all the time. Surely you have searched out all the conversion shops by now.

  3. Surya says:

    I like the idea, but more power, range and affordability are essential. There’s no way they’ll hit their target. Not even close.

  4. Dan Frederiksen says:

    I’m not sure the price is too unrealistic for nostalgic enthusiasts but if they don’t provide brand new donors themselves and you have to find a beetle and bring it to them then yes that number of cars in one year seems bizarrely unrealistic. I’d say 100 sales in a year is pushing optimism and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s less than 10.

  5. Roger says:

    You can buy a AC-45 and Curtis controller from cruising@live.com for $2500 plus the cost of batteries that provides 75hp and 130lbs torque which is a whole lot better than anything available especially the AC-50 which is a slug.