Go Green: 1974 VW Beetle EV Conversion – Sold!
We’re firm believers in the notion of converting air-cooled Volkswagen Beetles to electric power makes sense for several reasons. With both the price of stock examples on the rise combined with the conversion cost estimated to be $15K, the already completed and debugged 1974 example listed in March 2020 on Craigslist in Wall Township, New Jersey for $9,950 seems like a bargain. Checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has their unique Beetle priced $1,300 above the current #3 “Good” estimate of $8,600 for a stock gas-powered version, so you’re essentially getting the EV conversion for free.
We believe doing electric conversions on Type I air-cooled beetles makes sense for several reasons. First, while prices are on the rise, there are still plenty of them around and even when rust repair is needed, parts to do the work are also readily available. Second, the sheer lack of power combined with drum brakes make stock examples downright scary to drive in modern traffic. Third, the inefficient heater and defroster system makes Beetles an even more uncomfortable experience when the temperatures drop below 40. Consequently, it’s highly unlikely the lack of heating system will have you driving this conversion cold weather anyway as the range will likely drop below 50 miles with the current battery pack.
While the Beetle featured here uses a custom system, the video below from the established EV West converter shows what you can expect in performance from an EV-powered Beetle:
Not only is the EV conversion on this Beetle completed and debugged, but the basis of the project was also a rust-free New Mexico car. We love the brakes and suspension have been upgraded to handle the newfound electric power. The only we would consider changing is the bland paint job as this conversion deserves something better to attract the attention it deserves. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“For sale is my amazing 1974 VW Beetle.
I bought this from New Mexico. It has a no expense spared Electric conversion done to it. It was a showcase vehicle for a solar company. This isn’t a hack job home mechanic conversion. This was a professional conversion.
The heart of the car is the engine and batteries. The batteries came out of a late model chevy volt. This was an upgrade over the batteries that were installed when originally converted. Top speed observed is 70 MPH – I never felt the need to push it faster as it uses more electricity to do so. I’ve gone up to 50 miles on a charge. With the chevy volt battery it should do 80 miles.
It has a very expensive top of the line motor and controller. It is a 300 kilowatt 342 max volts 1000 amps controller and motor. The chevy volt battery is putting out 194+ volts so it is operating at half of it’s limits.
Look at all the wiring, it’s clean. Look at the engine bay, it’s clean and tidy. Look under the hood, all organized.
All of the gauges, lights, and switches work. Everything is run off of a 7″ touchscreen monitor. It includes CD, bluetooth, and battery and motor gauges.
The car retains the original 4 speed manual transmission and clutch. It drives like a normal car. Except there is no noise, no oil leaks, no exhaust smell, no maintenance, and best of all you can charge it from a standard outlet at your home or office.
All four corners of the chassis are upgraded. New shocks, and disc brake conversion all around.
The vehicle is from New Mexico – there is absolutely no rust. Look at the pictures of the body and underside. There isn’t any rust bubbles in the usual areas.
There isn’t a cleaner VW Beetle, or a cleaner conversion. I’ve driven this car daily. It is reliable and an absolute joy to drive. It gets more attention than anything else that I’ve driven.
I have paperwork and receipts for everything that was installed. This includes the wiring diagrams and installation instructions. Every receipt, even the home depot or lower runs for small parts are included. All of the users manuals are included. This is a no maintenance vehicle, but if anything ever needed to be worked on, all of the paperwork is there.
This car is quick, quicker than a stock VW gas beetle. It has no shortage of power.
Insurance is less than $150 a year –
Please feel free to ask questions and I’ll be happy to answer them.
How do you feel about converting classic cars to electric power? Comment below and let us know!