If you’ve seen one Chevy Volt or Nissan LEAF, you’ve seen them all. But if you’re driving a perfectly restored VW Beetle with an 85 hp electric motor, you are the personification of cool. The people at Zelectric Motors in San Diego created this jewel with the help of EV West. It’s a very neat and tidy conversion that looks like it came straight from the factory.
Since the electric motor has more than twice the horsepower of the original Volkswagen engine, acceleration is brisk (by VDub standards) and the top speed is somewhat north of 90 mph. Zelectric’s David Benardo says the car has a range of between 80 and 100 miles – more in the city, less on the highway. To put that in perspective, that is equal to or greater than the rated driving range of cars like the Nissan LEAF (84 miles) and the BMW i3 (81 miles).
If you have a donor car handy, Zelectric will be happy to help you convert it to electric power. They say the typical professional conversion runs between $25,000 and $30,000. For that amount of money, you get yourself a car that doesn’t look like everybody else’s EV, and will put a grin on your face while you’re driving it. An EV that’s fun to drive? What a concept!