Electric car conversion of the popular VW Beetle

German Carmona a professor at the National University of Mexico in Mexico City drives his 1997 Volkswagen every day from home to school where he teaches engineering… and back for half the cost of driving the already frugal gasoline model. Professor Carmona and his students converted the popular VW Beetle into an electric car. The technology they used is amazingly simple, straightforward piece of engineering. The ‘Bugs’ air-cooled, gasoline-burning engine has been placed by an electric motor. From the photograph it appears to be a 7 or 8 inch, brushed-DC motor that is powered by 14 8-Volt lead-acid batteries. The amount of power fed to the motor is managed by the controller that sits above the electric motor. This combination gives the car a range of 55-60 km (34-37 miles) and a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), which Carmona says is quite sufficient for his transportation needs in Mexico City.

Professor Carmona told the Forum audience that while the car isn’t intended for highway travel, it is ideal as a city commuter car. He pointed out that a trip that should have taken 15-20 minutes, took an hour and 40-45 minutes of it he spent sitting in a traffic jam along with tens of thousands of other cars. But whereas the other cars were burning fuel at idle speed, wasting money and polluting the city’s air, his little car sat quiet, burning no fuel, making no pollution or noise.