Amidst the dark and terrible era of WW2, Germany birthed a superstar vehicle that spoke to the people’s need for a reliable and practical car, the average German can afford. The German government tasked Ferdinand Porsche to design and create a vehicle that was small yet big enough to fit the whole family, simple, and not as costly to maintain.
Porsche’s final design featured a sleek style with curved edges, which followed the trend for cars with round frames. In operation titled Kraftdurch Freude or ‘Strength Through Joy,’ the first prototypes were given to soldiers, government officials, and to Hitler himself. A few years after the second world war, Great Britain handed the vehicle factories to the Heinz Nordhoff, an ex-Opel executive.
The Volkswagen produced and sold 10,000 cars in western Europe where it got its moniker, the Beetle. In just a decade, one million units were sold.
When the Bug found its way to America, it was a clear standout from the rest of its competitors. It was much cheaper, more rugged, and dependable even on unpaved roads. Unlike expensive vehicles, the maintenance and repair of the Beetle cost significantly less.
The Volkswagen Beetle, which was initially built for the people, eventually became the people’s choice. In 1972, Volkswagen produced its 15,007,034th Beetle, exactly the number of Ford Model T ever produced. This feat made the Beetle the best-selling car of all time.
Every generation recognizes what a Volkswagen Beetle is. When a Volkswagen Bug hits the streets, autophiles and regular civilians alike can recognize its timeless shape and design. One could even argue it’s the most famous car ever created.
It was through cinema that made us fall in love with the Volkswagen Beetle. We met the delightful Herbie, the anthropomorphic car in the 1968 film, Love Bug. The iconic Beetle also shared screen time with Optimus Prime, Lindsey Lohan, Kevin Bacon, and appeared in the sci-fi classic Back to the Future with the dynamic duo of Doc and Marty.
Eventually, the competition got stiff, and the Volkswagen Beetle got pushed to the sidelines by superior and future-forward designs from car manufacturers around the world. Despite Volkswagen’s efforts to brave the tides of change, sales continued to decline. Production of the Volkswagen Beetle halted in July 2019, but as CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Hinrich J. Woebcken remarked in his announcement, “Never say never.”
This October, a few months after the hiatus, Volkswagen announced that they will help electrify the classic 80-year-old Beetle. Once converted, the battery-powered e-Beetle combines the age-old charm and dependability with the sustainable technology of the future.
A converted Beetle weighs over 2800 pounds, can accelerate up to 30 miles per hour, and reach its top speed of 93 miles per hour. Its battery system has 14 modules, each having a capacity of 2.6 kWh. You can breeze through a 125-mile distance without running out of battery. And unlike electrified cars that take too long to charge, the e-Beetle can reach 93 miles with only an hour worth of charging.
The engine package will be more compact, and the former engine compartment can now be used as a second trunk. Compared to the original Beetle and its other converted versions, the electrified Beetle can accelerate to over 30 miles per hour in under four seconds, and up to 50 in eight seconds.
Automobile experts advise aspiring e-Beetle owners to prep a good amount of cash, as converting the classic Bug won’t come at a cheap price. But with new laws banning diesel cars in the majority of Europe, and the average cost of a brand-new electrified vehicles, springing up for the e-Beetle conversion could be a wise investment.
The Volkswagen Beetle has become a symbol of love, peace, and inter-connectivity. The famous vehicle can be found on almost every country and has left an indelible mark to people spanning three generations. With Volkswagen’s bold move to help Beetle lovers convert their cars into electric-powered ones, it won’t be a surprise if the streets become flocked with Beetles like the good ol’ days.