The VW Beetle, or Type 1- also affectionately known as “the Bug”- has become an iconic automobile the world over for its dogged reliability and remarkable simplicity. It is of course a natural candidate for an electric vehicle conversion, which is exactly David Bernardo of Zelectric Motors finally did, announcing the second completed Zelectric bug at the end of October according to Hybrid Cars.
At a cost of about $45,000, Bernardo took a classic ‘66 VW Beetle and turned it into a Nissan LEAF-rivalling electric car. A 22 kWh lithium LiFePO4 battery pack provides real-world highway driving range of about 80 miles, and a top speed of around 80 MPH through a HPEVS AC-50 motor. While the 110 lb-ft of torque isn’t going to win many drag races, Bruce Meyers, inventor of the famed Meyers Manx Bug-based dune buggies, seemed impressed enough with the performance of this zero-emissions Beetle.
Weighing half a ton less than the Nissan LEAF but with an estimated battery life of between 12 and 15 years, the $45,000 Zelectric Bug actually seems like quite the bargain when you get right down to it. Plus the battery can be easily upgraded in the future for more range or power, the two things electric drivers often want more of.
David Bernardo loves him some Volkswagens, and his passion is helping drive this hobby forward in ways never though possible…though I would like to see him take on a project that’s a bit…sportier. How about an electric Karmann Ghia next?
Originally published on Cleantechnica.