Vintage Beetles, now with electric motors!

August 3, 2015 | By | Comments (7)
The Beetle goes electric. Photograph by Justin Carrasquillo

The classic Beetle goes electric. Photograph by Justin Carrasquillo

Think of Zelectric Motors as a genius mash-up of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Love Bug. (“We can rebuild it. We can make it better than it was.”)

The San Diego company takes vintage VWs—not just Beetles but also Things, FastbacksKarmann Ghias, and even Microbuses—and turns them into electric vehicles. You won’t be using yours for the great American road trip—it’ll have the same range, 80 miles or so, as today’s Nissan Leaf (though rumors are swirling that the little Leaf will be getting a big range upgrade)—but you’ll have the cutest little around-town car going. And given that the original motors were … well, underpowered is putting it kindly, the conversion actually improves the cars’ performance. “At night,” says Zelectric Motors cofounder David Benardo, “I just plug mine into the outlet my garage door opener uses.” From $64,000.


  1. Roxanne Dimacale

    Great analysis – Incidentally , if anyone wants a IRS 1098 , my assistant filled a fillable document here

    May 23, 2016 at 5:28 pm
  2. Christine Ryan

    @bredio: They do actually have a bring-your-own-car option! As for the price, adding the electric motor and upgrading the car’s electrical system overall (which was its Achilles heel, as I remember from the elderly Beetle I drove in high school) is the lion’s share of the cost. Though the market for used Beetles in Southern California is a hot one, I gather, which might also drive up the price tag…

    August 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm
    • bredlo

      Christine, thanks for the response. Though I complained about price, I really hope it works for them; we need more companies like this, and upcycling older vehicles – especially VW which oozes with nostalgia – is a great idea. Not an easy task, so I hope there are enough Baby Boomers to keep them in business until they can scale up a bit and hopefully bring their costs down.

      August 18, 2015 at 7:07 pm
  3. Clark Riley

    I love my Chevy volt… Like new 2014 for 24K

    August 9, 2015 at 6:48 pm
  4. bredlo

    If they don’t create some sort of “DIY kit” or bring-your-own-car option, I can’t imagine how they’ll stay in business very long. How many customers do they think are out there with $64K to spend on a used Beetle? LOVE the concept, HATE the price point.

    August 4, 2015 at 11:29 am
  5. Tintin

    But you won’t have an electric bug!

    August 3, 2015 at 7:09 pm
  6. Frances Lunney

    Great, but $64,000? You can buy a Ford C-Max and have lots of $ left over for other things.

    August 3, 2015 at 2:32 pm

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