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Fully electric Volkswagen E-Beetle molds classic looks and new-age power

VW will work with partner eClassics to bring the vehicle to life.

Volkswagen E-Beetle
Classic motoring with a modern twist.

The idea of taking a classic car and fitting it with a modern electric powertrain is nothing new, but Volkswagen is getting in on the trend. Ahead of the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, VW showed the E-Beetle on Thursday.

It's the original Beetle we all know and adore but with a lithium-ion battery and electric motor in place of the traditional internal-combustion engine. In fact, it's a pretty seamless transition since the electric running gear comes from another VW car already in production, the E-Up! subcompact.

With the E-Up! powertrain, the E-Beetle makes 81 horsepower with a 36.8 kilowatt-hour battery onboard. Weight, subsequently, increases to a far heavier 2,822 pounds compared to a traditional Beetle. Modern electric powertrains are hardly kind to vehicle curb weights, but VW said the added weight doesn't compromise quick acceleration.

Mashing the throttle will see the E-Beetle go from 0 to 31 mph in under four seconds, while 50 mph happens in about eight seconds. Times for an estimated 0 to 60-mph run weren't provided, but we'd wager 10 seconds is a good guess judging by the times needed for lower speeds. Eventually, the electric Beetle will top out at 93 mph.

Estimated range per VW is 124 miles, and when it comes time to plug it in, the E-Beetle accepts fast charging. The battery will recharge about 93 miles in an hour on a fast charger.

VW isn't going it alone on this project, though. It's partner, eClassics, will help bring the E-Beetle to life and there's already plenty of plans for more classic cars with electric powertrains. A platform for an electric Microbus is in the works and VW said there's even talk of an electric Porsche 356. What a brave new world, indeed.

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