BEST of the BEST 2014 | Wheels | Specialty Vehicles | Alternative Energy : ZelectricBug

  • Photo by Robert Angelo
    Photo by Robert Angelo
  • Photo by Matthias Krause
    Photo by Matthias Krause
  • Photo by SUpplied
    Photo by SUpplied
  • Photo by Robert Angelo
  • Photo by Matthias Krause
  • Photo by SUpplied
  • Ronald Ahrens

If flower power were an alternative energy, it would propel the ZelectricBug. Instead, the car runs on lithium-iron-phosphate batteries—the same chemistry used by Tesla Motors. The batteries are stowed behind the backseat and in the nose, where the gas tank used to be. Zelectric Motors, a San Diego–based company, begins with a well-restored vintage Volkswagen Beetle (the company’s prototype is a red 1963 model), removes the engine, and replaces it with an electric propulsion system powered by the batteries. The car’s starting price is $45,000.

The Bug’s range on a single charge is 80 to 100 miles. Zelectric Motors retains the Beetle’s 4-speed manual transmission, but the car can be driven as though the transmission were automatic: The gears can essentially serve as driving modes, with the lower gears providing greater torque and thus quicker acceleration. The car’s top speed is more than 90 mph. Drivers old enough to remember the 1960s-era Beetles may be surprised by the absence of the clatter that came from the original car’s opposed 4-cylinder engine. Instead, all they will hear is the whisper of tire treads touching asphalt, the thump of wheels crossing over road bumps, and maybe the voice of “Mama” Cass Elliot singing inside their heads. (Zelectric Motors, 619.709.6155, www.zelectricmotors.com


 

From Around the Web...
The premier tire manufacturer unveils a $10 million display of supercars…
 Photo by Darin Schnabel ©RM Sotheby's
A 1939 Alfa Romeo Touring Spider and a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta are priced in the millions…
Jaguar joins the luxury crossover frenzy with the all-new 2017 F-Pace, and we take it for a spin…
Independent designer Paul Breshke reveals his vision for the marque’s next star vehicle…
A 600 hp river monster, the latest themed SUV from Bentley is no fish story…
Photo by Jun Song
The luxury marque and hotel brand team up to offer exclusive driving experiences around the world…
The $244,500 SUV displays design elements inspired by the British gun maker's bespoke firearms...
Collectively, these cars comprise the legacy and legend of the master marque…
Able to travel 19 mph, the cutting-edge cart features touchscreen controls and a refrigerator…
The meticulously maintained roadster is one of only 25 released that year...