Automotive

Published on March 4th, 2021 | by Amirul Mukminin

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Volkswagen e-Beetle Concept Hints At Electric Future

The Beetle gets a new lease of life with electric drivetrain from the e-Up!

If you ask the average person to name some iconic cars, chances are the Volkswagen Beetle will be one among few that spring to mind. It’s not difficult to understand why a car that was known to be the brainchild of one the most evil men in history was so popular. The adorable design, the efficient engine and the fun factor all contributed to the success of the People’s Car.

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After 65 years and more than 21 million units produced, the last of the original Beetle rolled off the line in Puebla, Mexico in 2003. The New Beetle, which was introduced in 1998, failed to live up to expectations, nor did the third generation model that arrived in 2012, despite Volkswagen’s bold attempt to add a touch of masculinity to the design. Finally, in July 2019, the Beetle was gone for good and this time, there were no plans for the replacement.

However, just two months later, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group known as the Volkswagen Group Components took the cover off an electric version of an original Beetle – the e-Beetle. Described as a “holistic concept”, the car used the e-Up! as the technical basis, meaning that the important bits i.e. the electric motor, battery and one-speed gearbox were all sourced from the hatchback. The conversion was carried out by the specialist company eClassics.

On paper, the electric motor generates 82 PS, allowing the e-Beetle to reach 80 km/h from a standstill in eight seconds before maxing out at 150 km/h. Powering the electric motor is a 36.8 kWh lithium-ion battery mounted into the underbody, which gives the e-Beetle a decent operating range of 200 km. If that’s not enough, fast charging will provide an additional 150 km of range after an hour of being plugged in.

Thomas Schmall, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group Components said that the e-Beetle could pave the way for the electrification of other classic vehicles. “We are already working together to prepare the platform for the Bus. An e-Porsche 356 could also be pursued in the future.”

While we took that quote with a pinch of salt, Volkswagen seemed to have strengthened their intention to revive the iconic ‘Bug as an EV after the company was reported to have filed for a trademark of the ‘e-Beetle’ name in July 2020.

Is the idea of modernising classics such as the Beetle far fetched? Maybe, but Volkswagen already has a dedicated electric platform in its disposal, so that’s a start. Plus, combining a design loved by many with an electric drivetrain to make a mass-market EV doesn’t sound like a bad idea. After all, nostalgia sells.

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