CC For Sale: 1968 VW EV Conversion – Tesla Wouldn’t Take It As A Trade-In?

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When it comes to EVs, there should really be two periods: BT (Before Tesla) and AT (After Tesla), although that probably ignores a few other key milestones in the development of the modern EV. Here’s a veteran from maybe 10 or 20 BT, when conversions on small cars like the VW were the primary focus in the EV world.

They inevitably involved heavy and weak lead-acid batteries; the fact that this ’68 VW has oversized rear wheels and tires is a give-away to all that lead it’s lugging around back there. And good luck trying to find a buyer for this now, when one can lease a Leaf, Spark EV, Fiat 500E or other such modern EV for very low monthly rates. 

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Here’s where those batteries reside, where there once was a back seat and storage area. There was nothing on the For Sale Sign to indicate how many batteries, and more importantly, what kind of shape they’re in. These lead acids inevitably degrade fairly quickly, unless they’re really babied.

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These conversions just attached the electric motor to the VW transaxle, resulting in four speeds, although probably just two are likely used, perhaps second or third for around town, and fourth for the highway. But highway speeds resulted in terrible range typically, so these were best for an around-town scooter. In any case, lead-acid conversion range typically was in the 20-30 mile range, with some exceptions.

Most of these conversions did not have regenerative braking, which also hurt range as well as strained the drum brakes.

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I have no idea what old EV conversions sell for nowadays, but I have to think the market would be very weak. Recently, the Fiat 500E was being offered in CA for $83 month, for a three year lease and $1000 down! The Nissan Leaf is being offered for $13k off MSRP, and other EVs have terrific lease deals available. The drop in oil/gas prices has not been kind to the low end of the EV market.

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I don’t know why this Bug is wearing a sun bonnet, but I don’t think there’s solar panels embedded in it.

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It’s a period piece, but whether someone will want to spend any kind of real money to own it is a good question. I’d be shocked if it went for anything near its asking price.