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This 1977 Volkswagen Beetle is in the process of being converted from
operating on gasoline to running on battery power.
The conversion parts are expected to cost about $3,000.00
Performance data to follow
Expected time frame for conversion 2 Months
Pictures, Dates, and story:
This 77' Beetle convertible came from Circleville, OH.
The beetle engine is still good, although the carburetor needs rebuilt
the fuel is old.
The engine was covered in enough oil and grease to easily catch this
little car on fire if not completely cleaned. No matter, this
engine has a one way ticket, soon to be replaced by a durable,
maintenance free electric motor.
While far from a perfect paint job, this project won't require immediate
and extensive body and paint work. This project should be able to
quickly progress into the conversion process.
The beetle is being delivered to the
"EV Garage" (Garage not shown)
Before gas tank removal
After gas tank removal.
This is to be the battery compartment.
Planned is 6 - 12 Volt Trojan 150AH Deep cycle batteries.
The IC-Engine is out
The incoming electric motor sits next to the
The new electric motor first test fit. Look at all
We'll see how it performs. The motor ratings are sketchy, but
it is said to be 30HP and 4,000-8,000RPM operating speed.
is a picture of the beetle before simulating a front battery load
adding 360 LBS the factory springs were mostly compressed.
This caused a "rethinking" of the original plans to install
most of the
batteries in the front of the VW.
is another picture of the beetle with 320 LBS in the front.
Each planned battery would weigh 82LBS
With 4 batteries in the front, the added weight would be 328 LBS.
The plans are to get the car on the road quickly and with minimal
modification. There is ample room in the front of the super beetle
layout for several batteries, but the consequences in handling, etc.
may cause a reversal in plans. It is still not known how many
will be required for acceptable range and speed. This is my
conversion, and my requirements are 55MPH or less and a range of
20 miles would be acceptable (without running the batteries down too
I plan on showing the car at the 2006 old car show and when people ask
"how far will it go" if I tell them 20 miles they would think
the car was
useless. Most people don't realize that 20 - 30 miles between
more than adequate for most of us. Using minimal batteries
down) should make the car more efficient, cheaper to build, and less
battery replacement. On the other side of the coin, if I go for
the full 8 batteries
instead of 5-7 as originally planned, I can get maximum range, acceleration,
and battery wear. The tradeoff is a heaver, more complex and more
conversion. If I go with the 96 volts, I can get a better idea of
EV range with the
motor, batteries, and aerodynamics and overall weight of the Beetle.
As a side benefit, I estimate the possibility of 80 miles max range
I'm sure several at the car show would still be less than impressed by
limitations. I guess those people would be happier to see a little
generator on board
to provide unlimited range. My driving needs do not require such
It all goes back to will it take you were you need to go, and will it be
sufficiently charged when you are ready to drive.
The Beetle went to the body shop for required rust repair on the floor
and for repairs where the convertible top attaches to the body. - Well,
It seemed obvious considering the $1,000 estimate for repairs compared
to $2,500 or so for a paint job, so it got painted. And
More! The Beetle convertible now sports a near factory color (Cool
White), New floor boards, Complete body undercoating, and reconditioned
convertible top mechanicals. This electric VW Beetle convertible is
going to be nice!
What a nice job. Well worth the money!
Now the reassembly and EV conversion begins. There is a deadline on this
project. It needs to be on the road and ready for the 2006 Old car
club show here in Lancaster, Ohio on June 3rd. Deadlines are
Also, during this time the newest project, a 1982 VW Vanagon is going to
get the EV mechanicals swapped over from the broken ElectraVan. (Too
much burning rubber for the 25 year old Subaru transmission to
take!) The Vanagon would be great as an EV. The little
ElectraVan is already missed, but it may come back in a few years with a
updated AC powered drive train with regenerative braking. That
little ElectraVan's brakes were really taxed during any and all
stops. But it did manage. It only asked the best of
defensive driving to be employed continually. I'm sure everybody
drives like that! The Vanagon is planned to get the exact
mechanicals and batteries from the ElectraVan. It will be
interesting to note the differences in performance and driving range
between the two vehicles. It will be nice having a EV van back.
This time the van is bigger, stronger, and safer. It just won't
get those special looks as the ElectraVan received. You just knew that
you were looking at something special when you saw that little van
coming up the road! What a perfect combination, Big Battery pack,
Strong electric motor, utility, and unique looks packaged in dinky,
lightweight body. It was one of the best of an era.
Page - Wiring and Building the EV Beetle