ZelectricBug Updates Classic VW Beetles For A Fossil Fuel Free World

ZelectricBug gives vintage VWs an extreme EV makeover that actually improves upon the original gasoline-engined classic. With a top speed of over 90mph, a range of 90-110 miles between charges and the promise of absolutely NO maintenance, the ZelectricBug brings out the best from this well-loved blast from the past.

Credit David Benardo, Zelectric Motors' CEO & Director of R/D, with conjuring up the ZelectricBug concept. Benardo realized that simply restoring classic Volkswagen Beetles was roughly akin to reintroducing dinosaurs to the modern world ala Jurassic Park: the Bug's traditional flat four engine simply doesn't run well on today's reformulated gasoline.

Not that the Beetle was a stunning performer even in its heyday. Benardo mused that converting old Beetles to electric power would result in a better-performing Beetle right now, not to mention way back when.

Indeed, the ZelectricBug's 80-horsepower, 110 lb-ft electric motor puts out roughly twice the power of the car's original engine. It also does so silently – the days of Beetles sounding like they had loose change rattling around in their mufflers are over!

In addition, in choosing to base their conversions on the venerable VW Beetle, ZelectricBug enjoys the advantage of the original car's famed reliability, instantly recognizable classic looks, and a huge abundance of junked Bugs along with a wealth of NOS parts and equipment.

ZelectricBug limits its EV conversions to VW Beetles from model years 1958 through 1966, considered by many to be a Goldilocks-like “just right” between basic usability and road-going comfort. LiFePO4 batteries (same as those used in the Nissan Leaf) provide a total of 22 kWh and are installed in both the luggage compartment behind the rear seats and under the front trunk in place of the gas tank.

Though the batteries and motor add about 250 pounds of weight, the ZelectricBug is still 1,000 pounds lighter than a Nissan Leaf... and unlike the Leaf, the ZelectricBug packs a spare tire. (via Green Energy Holding)