The Verge Explores The Art Of Converting Old Volkswagens To Electric (w/video)
Zelectric Motors specializes in converting vintage Volkswagen from the 50s and 60s into fully-electric vehicles. CEO, David Benardo explains:
“I wanted a VW that was quick, fun, and wouldn’t leave you stranded on the side of the road. An electric powertrain proved to be the best solution. It works magically well with a 50-year-old design. The sweet spot is between ‘58 and ’66.”
The company has tapped into a very specialized and successful market. Benardo says they can convert approximately 10 cars per year. The Beetle Sedan costs $68,000, the convertible $88,000, and the micro bus $130,000. Included in the prices is the original car, as well as full restoration. Many additional options are offered as well.
Zelectric is located near San Diego in Oceanside, California. All the conversion work is done in a small garage at an industrial park. Matt Hauber, long-time EV enthusiast, is the main engineer doing most of the labor. From start to finish, each car takes 4 to 6 months.
The Beetle is said to have a range of 80 to 100 miles and can reach 100 miles per hour. Benardo says the electric motor, “puts out the equivalent of 85 horsepower and 120 pound-feet of torque, a sizable upgrade on the original.” The car keeps its original manual transmission.
The Microbus has less range and speed, but still is much more responsive and powerful than in its original form. Front windows can be pushed open and the canvas top can be rolled up, opening the whole top of the bus. There are two bench seats in back, with the middle one serving as the battery compartment. The bus has plenty of room.
Zelectric is bringing together vintage and future, and helping the environment at the same time! These retro conversions are truly remarkable, though perhaps a bit too pricey for most of us.
Source: The Verge