The Bug is back, this time with a planet-friendly plug-in powertrain. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Bug is back, this time with a planet-friendly plug-in powertrain. Picture: SUPPLIED

Volkswagen has developed an electric drive conversion kit that morphs a classic petrol-powered Beetle into an electric car.

The German carmaker has teamed up with specialist German company eClassics to create a battery-powered version of the classic Beetle and unveiled it at this week’s Frankfurt motor show.

“The electrified Beetle combines the charm of our classic car with the mobility of the future,” Thomas Schmall, a member of Volkswagen’s board of management, said.

“Innovative e-components from Volkswagen Group Components are under the bonnet. We work with them to electrify historically important vehicles, in what is an emotional process.

THE E-BEETLE CAN BE CHARGED FOR AN ADDITIONAL 150KM OF RANGE IN JUST AN HOUR

“We are also providing Beetle owners with a professional conversion solution, using production parts of the highest quality.”

The Beetle conversion kit uses technology from the company’s electric e-Up hatchback. Out comes the petrol engine and in its place is a 61kW electric motor fed by up to 14 lithium-ion battery modules, giving the car a useful top speed of 150km/h and a commuting range of 200km.

The e-Beetle can be charged for an additional 150km of range in just an hour, and the chassis and brakes are upgraded to lug the added weight of the electric drivetrain.

VW doesn’t plan to end its electric refitting of classic cars there, and it’s also looking at electric conversion kits for icons such as the original VW Bus and the Porsche 356.