The ’66 ZelectricBug EV Is Ready

This sleek ’66 ZelectricBug is done!”

That is how David Benardo of Zelectric Motors announced the completion of the company’s second electric vehicle, yesterday.

But what is a ’66 ZelectricBug? It is a good old Volkswagen Beetle which has been fully restored to its former glory, but also adapted to modernity by the integration of an electric powertrain. The ’66 part of the name refers to the year of manufacture of the donor Beetle.

Some readers may have already seen various iterations of the vehicle in California as it was showcased at classic car shows, even winning awards. Bernardo stated the miles done to and from these shows, combined with feedback and more testing have allowed its team to build and improve the vehicle to its final state seen today.

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“This classic Bug is now super quick, nimble and has a solid 80 mile freeway range (even more just around town) and happily cruises quietly at 80 mph (we’ve had it up to 100mph.) (Legitimately, of course, on a track.),” said Bernardo in an email. “Its lithium batteries will last 160,000+ miles (12-15-plus years) and can easily be upgraded in the future.”

The vehicle relies on a 22 kilowatt-hour Lithium LiFePO4 battery pack, but the company did not mention the size of the engine aside from stating it produces “110 foot-pounds of instant torque.” It likely is powered by a HPEVS AC-50 electric motor as found in the RedBug#1 Zelectric prototype, the first Beetle converted by the company.

Zelectric Motors states on its website the vehicle weighs 1000 pounds less than a Nissan Leaf and is equipped with a J1772 Charge Port.

Zelectric Motors, which is developing its business so it can offer numerous other iterations based on this ZelectricBug, added the car is privately owned by the company, has a clean CA title and priced at $45,000.