Volkswagen Cars Prove Popular for Electric Conversion

23 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Volkswagen Cars Prove Popular for Electric Conversion отключены
Volkswagen e-Golf Electric Cars

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Volkswagen Cars Prove Popular for Electric Conversion

By all accounts, Volkswagen is late to the hybrid and electric car party. The company released its first full-production gas-electric car, the 45-mpg Jetta Hybrid, in late 2012—about a dozen years after the first hybrids hit U.S. streets. The VW e-Golf, which will provide about 95 miles of range on a single charge, will go on sale in the United States in 2014. But fans of VW’s classic iconic design are not sitting idly by, waiting for the German automaker to go electric: they are taking matters into their own hands by converting Volkswagen models into EVs.

In fact, there’s a slick 1971 VW Type 3 Squareback electric conversion currently listed on eBay.

Volkswagen e-Golf Electric Cars

In its original form, the compact Volkswagen Type 3, introduced at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show, brought diversity to VW’s lineup at the time. When the first units went into production in early 1962, Volkswagen introduced a wagon variant, known as the “Squareback” in the United States. The VW Type 3 used the company’s dominant rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.

But all that greasy combustion stuff has now been yanked out of the model available on eBay—and replaced with electric car parts, what the seller lists as: an Advanced FB1-4001 motor; 12 lead-acid batteries; a Curtis controller; a Kingpan charger; and an adapter place for the VW manual transmission.

The back seat was removed to make space for the batteries, but otherwise, the car’s interior is intact. The wagon body—also known as an “estate” vehicle design—makes for a good loaner for an electric conversion. As we wrote about last month, one of the cardinal rules of EV conversions is: “ More room equals more batteries—and more batteries means longer driving range.” Even as is, with new lead-acid batteries in this car, it provides only about 26 miles on single charge, according to the seller.

In the past few months, we’ve written about the gorgeous red 1971 soft-top Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. converted to EV by automotive journalists David Herron. That car using lithium ion batteries offers closer to 50 miles of range. And there was the knock-out 1998 Beetle EV conversion that had been a museum piece for nearly 15 years.

That Beetle, like the other EV conversions, reveal there’s an appetite for VW styling on the outside—with an electric motor and batteries on the inside.

Maybe these vehicles will encourage Volkswagen to advance the design concept of its e-Bugster, unveiled at the 2012 Detroit auto show—and move it into production. In the meantime, we suspect that more classic VWs from yesteryear will be transformed for the electric car age by enterprising EV homebrew enthusiasts.

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