- Now even the old Beetle can run on electricity
- The original gearbox could stay in it
- It takes ten working hours and 13,500 euros
- There is also a photovoltaic system
- After 120 kilometers at the latest, it’s over
Now even the old Beetle can run on electricity
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From the outside, this beetle looks like any other.
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However, you experience a surprise when you open the tailgate: A 38 hp electric motor is installed there. The conversion kit comes from the Hamburg entrepreneur Sirri Karabag and… costs 13,500 euros.
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The batteries with a capacity of eleven kilowatt hours are located under the front hood.
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A change is also necessary in the cockpit. A touchscreen display has been installed in the middle, which shows, among other things, the remaining range.
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According to Karabag, the conversion kit only consists of a few individual components.
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The conversion should be possible within ten hours.
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The top speed of the approximately 900 kilo E-Beetle is 115 km / h.
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According to Sirri Karabag, the range of the converted Beetle is 120 kilometers in the best case.
The Hamburg electric car pioneer Karabag wants to breathe new life into oldtimers with batteries. He calls it e-cycling. However, the car lost the coveted H license plate after the conversion.
D.he question is one of the current controversial issues in the auto business. Anyone who answers them incorrectly will probably have to accept a major setback in the next few years. Should we completely redesign electric cars, as BMW is doing with the i3, or is it enough to electrify existing cars, which VW is relying on for the E-Up and the E-Golf, for example?
Sirri Karabag from Hamburg gave the answer a long time ago. Since he does not run a corporation, he was only able to try the second solution for cost reasons, i.e. remove the gasoline engine from existing cars and install an electric motor and battery pack. Because he did it fairly early and with a flashy Fiat 500, Karabag has achieved a certain level of notoriety – with the 700 Fiat 500E he sold, he was once the market leader among suppliers of electric cars.
The times are over since the big manufacturers, some enthusiastically (Renault, BMW), some hesitantly (Volkswagen, Daimler), also started producing cars with battery packs, but Karabag does not contest that: He has responded with drastic cost reductions – and has also discovered a new market : old cars.
The original gearbox could stay in it
“We were asked again and again whether our technology could not also be used for classic cars.” At first that was far too complicated, but with the new conversion kit it was worth a try. So Karabag has an old VW Beetle organized and amazed at the organ transplant in his workshop. “It went as smoothly as if the old Ferry Porsche had always had an electric version in mind. We could even leave the original gearbox in. "
Now the Beetle has the same 38 hp engine at the rear as the Fiat 500 (but it carries it at the front), and the batteries with a capacity of eleven kilowatt hours are located under the front hood. Because the Beetle is significantly lighter than the Cinquecento, it also drives better: the data sheet states a top speed of 120 instead of 110 km / h, and Sirri Karabag promises a range of 120 instead of 100 kilometers.
Since the entrepreneur now knows how comparatively easy it is to convert the oldies, it shouldn’t just be the one electric Beetle. "We estimate the number of old Beetles in Germany to be around 80,000 vehicles," says the entrepreneur, who mainly earns his living by selling Fiat commercial vehicles.
Some old Volkswagens would of course be cherished and looked after in their original condition. Many, however, also rot because you no longer want to drive them with the old boxer engines. "A lot of them could have a great future as electric cars."
It takes ten working hours and 13,500 euros
This not only saves automotive cultural assets from deterioration, but also relieves the burden on the environment in two ways: with clean old-timers and new e-mobiles that do not even have to be built. “We call this e-cycling,” says Karabag, “because we use it to recycle old cars into electric vehicles.” This requires a well-equipped do-it-yourself garage or a normal car workshop, ten hours of work and 13,500 euros – that’s how much the conversion costs -Package that will soon also be offered for early VW Polo and Golf, for the Trabi and for cult cars such as Manta and Co..
Karabag is currently still doing its main electrical business with Fiat 500 and Ford Ka, even if sales have not yet been successful. “The cars are too expensive and simply cannot be paid for without subsidies.” The entrepreneur had to learn that 35,000 euros plus taxes for a Fiat 500 with a range of 110 kilometers is not a really cheap offer.
Especially not when there is a Nissan Leaf for 29,690 and soon a VW E-Up for 26,900 euros. For more than a year he thought about how to lower his prices. And the 500e is now available under the new brand name Reevolt for less money: You now have to pay 24,574 euros for the Cinquecento under power.
There is also a photovoltaic system
This is made possible by bundling suppliers and purchasing more professionally. The control center of the drive has so far been assembled in-house with parts from 35 companies at Karabag. “Now we have a supplier for this and no longer have to speak to three dozen people.” Karabag’s developers have also simplified assembly.
The electric drive train now consists of only seven components and is so foolproof that any car mechanic can install it in a few hours. This also reduces costs and relieves the service partners who no longer have to invest in expensive tools and special training.
"Anyone who takes the effort and calculates their operating costs for a few years will quickly see that with our new prices they will be at the level of a combustion engine in the long term," says Karabag. He brought the energy supplier Wemag, which specializes in green electricity, on board and, together with the Schwerin-based company, put together a package that should convince without long calculations.
“For 400 euros a month, we don’t just get the electric car, including service and insurance, but also a photovoltaic system and guarantee green electricity for 1000 kilometers,” says Karabag. A house storage unit is also included in the price. As big as in a refrigerator and full of special batteries, customers can temporarily store the electricity they have produced there when the electric car is on the move and most of the consumers in the house are switched off.
After 120 kilometers at the latest, it’s over
“So you don’t have to feed surplus green electricity into the grid at the new, less lucrative tariffs and buy it back later, but actually make yourself independent of the general power grid.” And then Sirri Karabag becomes fundamentally: “In combination with the electric car, suddenly, too the energy transition will work. "
That is certainly a difficult prognosis in these times – because the framework conditions for the major political project are far from being tied down. And of course also because the small manufacturer Sirri Karabag cannot save the world on his own with a few funny vintage cars that have forgotten how to chug and a few small Ford and Fiat cars.
Nevertheless, the wheel that the son of Turkish immigrants is turning is getting bigger again at the moment. After all, the energy supplier takes over the production of electric cars, and the Reconstruction Loan Corporation is on board with low-interest loans. “Our goal is 20,000 electric vehicles in the next six years.” Not much, but far more than the 700 that have been built so far.
However, Karabag’s enthusiasm cannot ignore the general disadvantage of electrically powered cars: it’s over after 100, at the latest 120 kilometers. That is enough for most daily journeys, but it takes getting used to – also because the Karabag e-mobile cannot be used for almost six hours because it is plugged into the socket.
Nevertheless, in addition to all the philosophical and ecological aspects of e-cycling, Karabag has discovered another practical advantage: "When you equip old-timers with electric motors, you finally have no more oil stains in your garage."
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