The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most iconic car designs of the past 100 years. Created by Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s for the Third Reich (as “the people’s car”), its simple but high-quality design endured for most of the 21st century—becoming a top-seller around the globe.
After a slow decline beginning in the 1970s, production shifted to Brazil and Mexico. More than 20 million VW Beetles were produced, before the final model rolled off the line in Mexico in 2003. This 1998 model available on eBay [
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Electric-/290785508582?forcev4exp=true ] was produced in Mexico, nearly two decades after the Beetle was no longer sold in the United States, according to the seller. (The New Beetle, which drew inspiration from the original, was introduced in 1997.)
This 1998 Beetle is unique in a number of ways. Because it’s been a museum piece for the past 14 years, it only has 4,000 miles on the odometer. It’s practically new. Moreover, the 1998 Beetle was converted to run purely on electricity. The homebrew conversion to EV means that its top speed is only 40 miles per hour, and its eight batteries—installed new in September 2012—grant 40 miles on a single charge.
EV conversions have fallen out of favor, now that Nissan, Ford, Tesla and others are selling electric cars across the country. Factory-built electric cars are more durable, come with full warranty packages, and offer highway-capable driving with fast acceleration. Driving range on a charge can be 80 miles or more. But none of the new EVs have the rich design heritage of this 1998 electric Beetle.
If you believe that only a backyard DIY guy would want to merge 21st century battery-powered technology into a classic 20th century design, think again. Volkswagen itself has slowly and quietly been working on electric mobility—and at the 2012 Detroit auto show, it unveiled the E-Buster concept vehicle. That’s right: VW’s own electric version of the bug.
The E-Bugster is a sleeker, more modern rendition of the Beetle—using a 115-horsepower electric motor, and a 28.3-kilowatt-hour battery pack to provide 110 or more miles of driving range. Its drivetrain is similar to VW’s electric Golf. Volkswagen has 80 e-Golfs on the road in Berlin in a pilot program. The preliminary feedback from drivers is very positive.
This is the first Li-ion conversion done in 2004 with 6500 18650 Sanyo Li-ion cells. 32kw and 220ah with a range of over 150 miles. 6kw charger using J1772. Too bad the new VW didn't look more like the 1970 classic pictured here. With over 35,000 miles as a EV still going strong. Using 2nd gear only with a AC-50 and speeds exceeding 80mph (too fast) no shifter or clutch pedal.
I'll assume the image posted by Cruisin is their EV.
If you read through this piece, it has some points that titillate that a
new VW e-bug is coming. But if you search the evdl archive, I have
posted many newswires on that topic. Perhaps too many to believe an VW
e-bug will be produced for sale anytime soon, or before the e-golf. The
newswires are sometimes used to continuously keep the public tantalized,
but only the short-memory/attention span types forget it is a repeat.
Maybe they'll be an e-VW-something N. America can drive after the
hopefully 11/2 E-piphany.
In the piece, the ebay link for the LSV VW conversion
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Electric-/290785508582?forcev4exp=true did a nice job of showing everything about the EV. Note: the last image
at the bottom (#16) that shows the twin motors. But I did not see a
reference to an EValbum.com page which is too bad. Everyone with an EV
should have one of those (their free). You can learn so much more about
an EV on their EValbum page.
Lastly, how did this following line in the piece rub you?
'EV conversions have fallen out of favor, now that Nissan, Ford, Tesla
and others are selling electric cars across the country.'
For me this is just another clueless media writer assumption. They have
no idea what they are talking about. There is a good market for
conversions, the lower price for the amount of EV you get, they are
based on a donor vehicle that is familiar to all (the EV does not look
like an egg, or a frog that had been stepped on, etc.) and their
immediate availability, being only a couple of reasons why. Obviously
that media writer has not seen all the conversion EVs on EValbum.
The picture of the 70 Green VW can be seen on U tube Electric Green VW by greenoverdrive and is owned by firstname.lastname@example.org at EBEVConversions. Here are a couple more pictures for those who have asked for them.
Concerning the interest in converting cars to EV today, DOWN over 50% and falling. This is due to the availability of some real nice production EV's that make our conversions look and run like junk. Most converters do not want to buy gas or anything for a conversion other than the stuff that will make it run as cheap as possible. Secondly, look at the used conversions available for sale. Most have lead acid and need new batteries, but the owner doesn't want to lay out the money for li-ion or anything else. As for the E-Bug, its called marketing. Lots of press releases to test the water. Because of the MPG mandate, most of the new cars will be available as a Hybrid and a EV plugin. Its mandated by the Fed's and some states to get their average MPG up to whats only achievable with electric. My opinions.
...Concerning the interest in converting cars to EV today, DOWN over 50% and falling....
Our sales of controllers are holding steady. That is to say, sales this year are approximately the same as last year. If anything is holding back growth it is the general economic conditions as well as the fairly steady price of gas. The fact that there are factory EVs available does not seem to be affecting the DIY market at all, probably because the people who convert cars to electric are at least partially, if not mainly, motivated by the challenge. Some of the reason, though, is that ALL of the production electric cars available today have less power on tap than what the mid to high end motor controllers available for the DIY market can deliver (and our 1.2MW Soliton Shiva even spanks the Rimac supercar like a red-headed stepchild).
Production EVs will only appeal to those people that want an EV but lack the skills (or, more importantly, the inclination) to convert a car on their own. As long as the OEMs don't screw things up by making crap cars I see production EVs as a good thing.
I don't disagree with what you are saying, but your figures do not correspond with others in the business. Sales of converted cars that need battery replacement are up 800% on ebay in the last 6 months. If you look at the classifieds on EV's they are stagnant. Adapters are down the toilet. Used controllers and motors selling for less than 1/2 original cost in last year.
To be a believer, test drive a Ford Focus or a RAV 4. These cars make less noise than a conversion contactor does. And has more than enough power with a single speed which everyone wants, except those that want a rice rocket.
Mark my words, I have been in this business for a long time and it is winding down like all good things, that come to a end.