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Thread: Volkswagen will help turn old Beetles and microbuses electric (and a Porsche 356)

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    Registered User witchcraftz's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Vancouver, BC

    Default Volkswagen will help turn old Beetles and microbuses electric (and a Porsche 356)

    Just when you thought the Volkswagen Beetle had gone for good, it's made a comeback - and it's not like we've ever seen it before.

    Production of the original Bug came to an end in July, when the final example rolled off the Puebla factory assembly line in Mexico.

    It ended a chapter of production that began back in 1938, with a total of 21 million Beetles built throughout the car's history.

    However, it's taken Volkswagen just a month to prolong the life of its most iconic model, with the availability of a conversion kit that will transform the classic Beetle into a new-age electric car that you can charge at home. The automaker is partnering with a German firm called eClassics that will actually perform the retrofits, while VW will provide the batteries and powertrain.

    VW says it’s already working on an electric conversion solution for vintage microbuses, too. Beyond that, “an e-Porsche 356 could also be pursued in the future,” board member Thomas Schmall says. The German automaker says it’s even considering how it might use the modular MEB platform that will power many of its forthcoming electric cars in future conversions.

    Instead of mating new electric motors and batteries to the cars’ existing drivetrains, as many upstart retrofit shops do, VW is providing eClassics with a new single-speed powertrain borrowed from the automaker’s E-Up! electric city car. The battery will have a total capacity of 36.8 kWh, which VW says should be good for around 200 kilometers (124 miles) of range.

    The resulting retrofit Beetles will be able to make about 80 horsepower, and go from 0 to 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 miles per hour) in around eight seconds.

    The drivetrain, being transverse, is a bit shorter than the original transaxle/flat-four setup, so its weight is more focused over the axle line, and as such is less of an “outboard” motor, which will likely improve handling a good bit.

    Not only that, the engine package is so compact, the former engine compartment is freed up for use as a second trunk! I’m not exactly sure how you access the engine, though—it seems to take up the area of the old interior rear luggage well, so maybe via pulling down the back seat?

    VW didn’t announce pricing, availability, or mention which models its keen to retrofit, though it did show off an already-converted 1973 Super Beetle convertible, and promised more details at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

    Last edited by witchcraftz; 09-06-2019 at 11:54 AM.

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