Volkswagen debuts the e-Beetle classic a Frankfurt Motor Show

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Electric-converted Type 1 Beetle is near-production ready

While Volkswagen’s reborn Golf-based Beetle ended production this past July, the last example of the air-cooled classic Bug we know and love rolled off the Puebla Mexico production line back in 2003.

But, you can buy a new one… almost.

At the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen pulled the covers off the E-Beetle: featuring classic Type 1 Beetle bodywork and underpinnings borrowed from the second-generation Volkswagen e-Up!

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And the electro-restomod will soon be available to the public!

READ NEXT: VOLKSWAGEN RESTORES ORIGINAL-OWNER’S 724,205KM BEETLE

While it’s not produced by Volkswagen themselves, the manufacturer-sanctioned electric conversion will be performed by eClassics, a firm based near Stuttgart in Germany who specialises in electric powertrain conversions for various classic cars.

The e-Beetle was jointly developed with Volkswagen, who stated "a lot of expertise has been poured into producing the electrified Beetle."

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"Volkswagen Group Components has made use of the considerable experience of its specialist employees and advised eClassics during the process [of development]".

Utilising the mechanical underpinnings of the e-Up! city car, the compact electric motor and single-speed transmission are now mounted between the front wheels. The e-Beetle remains rear-wheel drive, as per its original specification, but with no engine out back sees what used to be the engine bay become a useful second storage trunk.

The plug-in charging port is hidden behind a now hinged right-hand tail light assembly.

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In the e-Beetle’s application, the electric motor yields 60kW and 210Nm. The whole car weighs 1280kg allowing a top speed of 150km/h. The electric powerplant offers 200km of range between charges, with DC fast-charging adding 149kms of range in just an hour of charging.

Most interesting however, is that the modular nature of the electric powerplant allows for a variety of applications; with board member of Volkswagen Group Components Tom Schmall stating: "we are already working together to prepare the platform for the [Kombi] Bus. And e-Porsche 356 could also be pursued in the future".

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The price of the reborn e-Beetle isn’t cheap however, with the German e-Beetle website quoting a total project cost of €99,000 including German VAT. That equates to a whopping AU$161,214 (or roughly ten ‘58-‘67 Beetles, judging off the median price from our most recent Beetle Market Review). Also, the conversion will have to be performed at eClassics in Germany.

While it may be unfeasible for any Australian buyer right now, it’s interesting to see a number of historic manufacturers aren’t turning their back on the classic models in the face of the industry’s turn towards electrification. Volkswagen is just the latest of a number of carmakers, such as Aston Martin and Jaguar, who are offering manufacture-backed EV projects.

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 Many classic owners may baulk at the idea of ditching a classic’s mechanical heart in exchange for what’s essentially an enlarged iPhone battery – but anything that keeps these old classics on road well into the future gets the thumbs up from us!

 

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