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Volkswagen offers old Beetles new life as electric cars

Volkswagen Group Components to supply electric components from VW’s e-up!

Published: September 5, 2019, 10:30 PM
Updated: September 11, 2019, 3:23 AM

Volkswagen e-Beetle by eClassics

The Volkswagen Beetle has gone out of production, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. With Volkswagen’s blessing, and a few components, historic Beetles may be brought back to life as electric cars, as illustrated by Volkswagen partner eClassics.

Volkswagen e-Beetle by eClassics

The company is getting set to debut an electric concept of the classic convertible at the upcoming IAA in Frankfurt, with Volkswagen Group Components supplying the electric parts from VW’s new electric e-up! subcompact.

“The electrified Beetle combines the charm of our classic car with the mobility of the future,” says Thomas Schmall, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group Components. “Innovative e- components from Volkswagen Group Components are under the bonnet – we work with them to electrify historically important vehicles, in what is an emotional process. We are also providing Beetle owners with a professional conversion solution, using production parts of the highest quality.”

Volkswagen e-Beetle by eClassics

That also means the roomy Volkswagen Beetle trunk up front and the engine compartment in the rear have swapped spots, creating a front-drive electric vehicle on a raised platform to provide space for the battery.

eClassics is handling the conversion, with components supplied from Volkswagen facilities — the motor and 1-speed gearbox produced in Kassel, and the battery components in Braunschweig.

Volkswagen e-Beetle by eClassics

“We are proud that we and Volkswagen Group Components could get the show on the road with this project,” say Managing Directors of eClassics GmbH & Co KG, Dennis Murschel and Martin Acevedo. “We are also looking forward to seeing many e-Beetles on the street soon.”

Like the e-up!, the electric Beetle uses a 60-kW electric motor (82 hp), which allows the 1,280-kg car to get up to city speeds in about four seconds and highway speeds in upwards of 10 seconds (top speed is reportedly 150 km/h. The added components meant raising the floor of the car, and the added weight also requires reinforcing chassis and brakes.

Volkswagen e-Beetle by eClassics

The under-floor battery is made up of 2.63-kWh modules that can be strung together to a maximum of 14 (for a total of 36.8 kWh), theoretically allowing owners to pick and choose how much range they need to fit their daily use and their budget. Maximum range is 200 km, and the lithium-ion batteries can be fast-charged to 75% in about an hour.

The project also paves the way for electrification of other historic icons, and the use of the MEB platform would improve performance and range.

Volkswagen e-Beetle by eClassics

“We are already working together to prepare the platform for the Bus,” says Schmall. “An e-Porsche 356 could also be pursued in the future.”