Volkswagen Group has developed an electric conversion kit for the classic Beetle, a near-production version of which will be on display at next week's Frankfurt auto show.
Working with a Renningen, Germany-based company called eClassics, Volkswagen worked up its e-Kafer (German for e-Beetle) electric Beetle largely with in-house technology: the drive system, motor, and battery all come from the tiny Volkswagen e-Up, an electrified version of the Up city car.
The electric drive motor and 36.8 kWh battery pack are good for about 81 hp, an 0–80 km/h time of a bit more than eight seconds and a top speed of 150 km/h. Promised driving range is 200 km, and VW says an hour of fast charging will provide enough juice for 150 km.
VW fits the e-Up components between the car's rear seat and firewall, leaving a bit of trunk space under what used to be the engine cover. VW and eClassics came up with a slick placement for the charging port, which is hidden by a right-side taillight that flips up and out of the way.
VW says the Beetle EV conversion opens the door to other electric classics, like the Microbus (which the manufacturer says it's already working on with eClassics) and the Porsche 356. Volkswagen is apparently on track to make a production version of the Microbus-inspired ID Buzz.
According to Thomas Tetzlaff of Volkswagen Canada, VW is not making the conversion available locally to North American owners of air-cooled Beetles, largely because of its use of the Euro-only e-Up drivetrain.