Electric Conversion: 1974 Volkswagen Beetle
The Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle had a remarkable production run from 1938 through 2003 with over 21 million examples built, but they never built a factory electric version. If the Beetle had survived with its rear-engine configuration through to today, it certainly would have had an electric version and today’s example is probably close to what it would have been. Find this 1974 Volkswagen Beetle offered for $6,800 in Wilmington, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
From the seller:
1974 VW BEETLE
odometer rolled over
paint color: white
title status: clean
One of a kind Electric 1974 VW Beetle. Lithium Iron batteries with battery management system. There are a total of 10, 100AH premier lithium batteries from Lithium Battery Power.
Each battery sells for $1,299.00, so a total of $12,990.00 just for the batteries. Batteries were purchased December 2018 and installed January 2019. Batteries have been well maintained since install. Elcon 1500W HF/PFC Charger, one of the best Lithium chargers installed. The cost was $799.00; (https://www.elconchargers.com/catalog/item/7344653/7638003.htm). The electric motor is NetGain Motor (Warp 9) with provides plenty of torque and top speed ($3,500). A new transmission was installed that was beefed up internally to handle the additional power. New. shocks were added for the extra weight and to handle better. Mechanically everything even a little loose was replaced during the build. Brakes were also upgraded to rotor and caliper in the front. New wheels and tires were installed in 2019. This is obviously a project car but it is pretty easy to use, simply plug into a heavy duty extension cord to the wall and the vehicle and the vehicle will charge. A charge gauge is installed to monitor remaining battery life, volts and amps. It’s hard to say what the range is, I’ve never pushed it to its limit and it would depend on the speed of driving. I have driven 50 miles with no problem. It can handle highway speeds of 70 plus but its not recommended for long.
It’s really fun to drive. Note – this is a manual steering, manual brake – no AC or permanent HEAT as currently set up. The wing windows, sunroof – and vents work remarkedly well for staying cool as long as your moving.
Unfortunately there is some rust spots starting to develop which I tried my best to show in the pictures. Feel free to ask questions.
I know what I have into this car, and what the EV parts alone are worth – so not much room on the price. Has gotten nothing but smiles and thumbs ups from Downtown to the Beach.
See a better way to drive a Beetle that doesn’t make a horrible noise? email@example.com
13k for batteries is why after briefly looking at an EV swap for my Miata it got filed in the round bucket quickly.
Yes, it is VERY expensive to do and even more expensive to do right.
Yeah, I was looking at $20k+ to do it right and not burn my house down with substandard junk. I figured $5-7k I currently have in a turbo setup is a better value and who’s to say in 15-20 years there aren’t better priced parts/kits for that conversion.
He’s asking $6800 for a finished, driving classic EV Beetle – and each of its ten batteries cost $1100. It’s got a hardened transmission and new suspension. The motor and controller alone is worth $4000 …
If I didn’t already have a ’49 Beetle headed my way I’d leap on this – and I can’t stand the shape of Super Beetles.
Buy it for conversion parts and sell the shell.
13k for Lifepo4 batteries will now get you 100kw of battery now instead of 12kw. Weight would be about 1500lbs though. Figure how much weight you can tolerate for how much range you want- say 50 kw for 750lbs of battery to go 200 miles. You could easily sell these batteries for more than the cost of the new cells. You might have to leave behind a couple of your larger frat buddies though.
I haven’t driven a Bug since the 1970s but even thinking about it brings memories of the drumming from the wind on freeways with windows down so more than 200 miles is not a priority.