Electric VW Bug conversion generally means converting a gasoline driven Beetle into a pure electric vehicle (EV). Reasons for the conversion could be many.
Some convert their traditional VW Bug into electric car to save on fuel, others do it to save the environment. Yet others do it simply out of passion or they are not satisfied with factory made electric cars.
People who wish to convert their old Beetle get a lot of encouragement and help from Battery Vehicle Society (BVS) and DIY Electric Car Forums. Battery Vehicle Society, an organization which advocates green cars, publishes a newsletter which contains all the latest developments in the car conversion field. It also conducts training camps and meeting for the benefit of its members who are keen on converting their cars into electric cars.
A large number of old VW Beetles have already been converted into electric cars by its members and it is worth noting here that the first legally approved solar electric car was brought on to the road by some members of this organization.
A factory made electric car doesn’t suit the needs of the people and that is the main reason why people convert their old conventional Bug into electric cars. A converted VW Beetle is in no way inferior to a gasoline or a factory made electric car.
The basic components for an electric car conversion are a lead acid battery, a DC motor and a motor controller. If everything goes well, the converted Beetle will give satisfactory performance and good range.
Minor modifications to suit the needs of an electric car are done to the original gearbox of the donor car. Most converted cars will have a single gear and so there isn’t the need for clutch and gear lever.
Since the car conversion process has been subjected to different tests and error possibilities are totally eliminated, a converted Beetle is as dependable as a factory made electric car. One problem with converting heavy and large sized vehicles is that it will cost you a lot of money to convert and the converted vehicle may not perform as people expect.
So the ideal donor car for a conversion will be a small, aerodynamic and lightweight car, thus the Beetle is ideal.
If the car is small sized, it will need a smaller motor and a smaller battery to power it. Using an old Volkswagen Beetle for EV conversion is common in America as it is generally lighter than a other gas driven automobile.
Another advantage of a Bug is that it has plenty of space to accommodate the battery and the electric motor. An important point that you have to keep in mind while converting a car into an electric car is that it is going to cost you a bit of money.
Some websites might advertise that the conversion is very cheap. It is a scam and don’t believe them. The following figures will help you to understand the truth. A normal homemade electric Bug conversion where the car is expected to attain a speed of 35 – 40 mph and a range of 20 miles will cost somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000.
If you aim at higher speed and better range, the conversion cost can be 4 to 5 times more. Electric VW Bug conversion kits are a preferred choice since they have all the necessary components available for you.
If you have the basic mechanical skills and know something about electrics, especially automobile electrics, you can try converting your Beetle into an electric car yourself. If you are not confident, it will be better to employ a professional to do it for you.
If you are going to do the conversion work yourself, fabrication of car parts might be a problem for you. Better get the fabrication done by somebody else. As for the battery, use only lead acid battery; lithium-ion batteries are very risky and they are not used traditionally.
VW Beetle Electric Car Conversion Book
If you are looking for a good Do It Yourself (DIY) VW Beetle electric car conversion book, check out Gavin Shoebridge’s Electric Conversion Made Easy guide.
Gavin is from New Zealand and he has converted his old gas guzzler into a pure electric car in his garage.
Gavin is also well known in the homemade electric car realm. This is because of all the videos he took when he was converting his electric car.