Electric energy sparks new life into vintage Beetles

Vintage VW Beetles get new life with transplanted electric powertrains | Volkswagen Group Components photos

Volkswagen Group Components and electrification specialist eClassics are introducing a “near-production version” of an electric-powered vintage Beetle at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show, which opened Thursday and runs through September 22.

“The concept allows for the electrification of many different historic vehicles,” VW Group Components said in its announcement, which called it “a holistic concept” for the electrification of vintage VWs Beetles.

Out goes the old…
… and in goes the new

VW Group Components provides a complete and new electric drive system from the new VW e-up!1 vehicle and eClassics does the conversion.

The e-up!1 is an electric-powered microcar that seats three up front and one behind and that is designed for an urban environment.

“The electrified Beetle combines the charm of our classic car with the mobility of the future,” said Thomas Schmall, member of the board of management of VW Group Components. 

“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.

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

Electric powertrain comes from VW’s e-up!1 cars

The conversion equips the cars with a 60 kW/82 horsepower system, as well as reinforcing the chassis and upgrading the brakes. Even with the extra weight, the cars can accelerate to 50 km/h (31 mph) in less than 4 seconds and to 80 (50 mph) in just over 8, VW said. The car has a top speed of 150 km/h (93  mph) and a range of 200 km (125 miles), “a comfortable distance for a relaxing day out in an electrified classic car.”

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A fast-charging system can provide enough power for more than 150 km in about an hour, VW added.

“Based on this concept, the subsequent electrification of other historic vehicles will also be possible. 

Recharging port hidden under tail lamp

“We are already working together to prepare the platform for the Bus,” said Schmall. “An e-Porsche 356 could also be pursued in the future.” 

The vehicles are not yet available for sale and pricing is yet to be announced.

The use of the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) is also being considered. This creates additional opportunities regarding performance and range.

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Zelectric is a company that does the same kind of thing with no cutting or modification to the vehicle. This makes it possible to reinstall the original engine back into the chassis.

  2. Zelectric is a company that does the same kind of thing with no cutting or modification to the vehicle. This makes it possible to reinstall the original engine back into the chassis.

  3. My first car in college was 63 vw . Great idea. My friend had a 63 with 3000cc Berg motor. 200 hp hard to handle. But I still appreciate the 356 body . I wanted to put a 912 in the car, never had the money when I was 20.


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