A new all-electric VW has hit the roads! No, we aren’t talking about all the EVs that Volkswagen Group has been hinting at and announcing recently. We are talking about a project from an aspiring mechanical engineer who converted a classic 1969 VW Karmann Ghia into an all-electric car with the help of his father.
A little different from an EV boat conversion, or a conversion of a rugged truck for off-roading, via Reddit, a mechanical engineering student in California began a project, along with his father, to convert a classic 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia into an all-electric classic nicknamed by them the “Karmann Electra.”
According to him, he “bought the car for $3000 and the body was in almost the same shape it is now, which was good. However everything else was bad: rats nests on the interior, and horrible air suspension that was incorrectly installed so the steering did not work correctly.” So there was obviously a lot of work to be done. Nonetheless, when not going to school or working, with a little elbow grease, the father-son duo were able to complete the conversion in about a year when they had free time on nights and weekends.
Some basic components and specs for the conversion include:
- 15 kWh battery pack of Dow Kokam prismatic cells for about 50 miles of range
- 5-6 hour recharge time on a 110v or 3 hours on 240
- ThunderStruck Motors Electric Vehicle Charge Controller (EVCC) & J1772 port
- HPEVS AC-50, with Curtis controller, electric drive system
- 72 HP (52 kW) motor
- New suspensions, brakes, wheel bearings, seats and carpet
The cost for all the parts was about $1500 since he had some connections from working in the EV industry himself.
Check out a few photos from the project:
A J1772 charge port behind the original gas flap
The two CH4100 chargers from ThunderStruck Motors, controlled by the EVCC for 30A of juice
Battery pack in front
I had the pleasure to briefly speak with him, and he stated that “the whole reason I am getting my mechanical engineering degree is to try and help convert the world to electricity.” A wonderful goal that he has, and as we can see, he is already doing a great job!
Other than the Reddit thread where he answered a lot of questions in more depth, I encourage you to also check out his blog that he started a little more than a year ago here which also gives some detailed information.