German EV Retrofitter Expands Beetle Business
German electrification specialist eClassics GmbH is partnering with a British garage to expand production of electrified Type 1 Beetles.
VW’s Components Group supplies parts for the EV, which is known as the eKafer. The conversion involves installing the drivetrain from the VW’s e-Up electric city car.
In Germany, eClassics assembles the eKafer at a factory near Stuttgart. Base priced at €99,900 ($110,600), the converted cars have range of 200 km (124 miles) and a top speed of about 93 mph.
Kensington, England-based Jack’s Garage also will build the converted EVs for eClassics. The U.K. firm says it has received interest from potential customers across Europe and the U.S. for the model, which it unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
In addition to the Beetle, eClassics and Jack’s plan to build electrified versions of other historic Volkswagen Group models, including the VW Type 2 minibus and the Beetle-derived Porsche 356.
EClassics also will sell the electrified floor pan, complete with a 35-kWh battery and 80-hp electric motor, to do-it-yourselfers for €39,900 ($44,200). A higher output variant is available for an extra €15,900 ($17,600). Other options include antilock brakes, LED headlights, touchscreen navigation, bi-directional charging capability and amenities such as leather seats and air conditioning.
Lithium-ion batteries have become the technology of choice for EVs, and falling costs and rising energy levels could keep them on top for nearly two decades.
Chrysler pioneered the modern-day minivan more than 30 years ago and has been refining and improving that type of vehicle ever since.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.