Putting a load of batteries and powerful motors in a classic Volkswagen Beetle for the purposes of drag racing is actually more common than you might think. There are lots of them out there already with varying performance levels, one, two or more motors and remarkable quarter-mile performance, but none could match this new Beetle EV drag build.
It has four high performance permanent magnet Axial flux AC three-phase motors each with a continuous power output of 416 kW (565 horsepower), so over 2,000 continuous, constant horsepower all together. They can be pushed to deliver a combined peak of around 4,780 kW (6,500 horsepower), making this 2013 VW Beetle that once had a TDI diesel under its hood obscenely quick.
For power storage, this monster Volkswagen relies on a custom-built 22 kWh battery pack built by Current Racing, it has a maximum voltage of 800 volts and it can charge at up to 20 kW via the CHAdeMO charger they installed in the front of the vehicle. The vehicle runs a total of four inverters, which are needed not only to convert the DC power coming from the battery into the AC power that is needed to run the motors, but they also basically control the rotation speed inside the motors.
And when you have this much power, you need to be able to very accurately vary power and keep everything under control. They expect this to be a 7-second quarter-mile vehicle, so they are leaving nothing to chance, especially since the guys behind the build created this new electric Beetle after their old one (based on a classic Beetle) crashed doing over 140 mph (235 km/h) at the very end of a run on the drag strip.
They haven’t really tested this new one at full speed, but you can see it run in the video posted courtesy of The Late Brake Show. Host Jonny Smith talks to the guys who built the vehicle who run him through all of the extensive modifications they made and they explain how everything works.