Bugatti Kit Car for EV Conversion

by Ben N on August 13, 2018

Yesterday, I got to meet up with “Austin” who recently acquired a VW kit car in the style of a 1930s Bugatti roadster.

We were throwing around ideas of how to best convert it to electric, what components it would take, and had a long discussion about design, electric vehicles, invention, and the entire process of a project like this.

Besides the kit car, Austin also has a motorcycle frame he wants to convert to electric. He decided on only a 48V system, as it would be a first EV project, and a 48V system keeps costs down. He has lots of nice local roads that are perfect for pleasure cruises on a lower-power electric motorcycle and really looks forward to the process of the conversion.

When it comes to electric conversions nowadays, I often recommend to people NOT to! The reason why is that there’s plenty of commercially-built, used, electric vehicles already out there. It’s hard the beat the price of a used Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, especially considering what you are getting. Basically, you can’t build a vehicle yourself that good for what you could simply BUY one for.

On the other hand, there’s still a number of vehicles which would be hard to get at any price. How many electric convertibles can you think of? How many hybrid pickup trucks are out there? Specialty projects like that can be great fun, and you can build a vehicle you otherwise couldn’t get! Even with an electric motorcycle, it’s possible to build one on a budget and get then get the full satisfaction of building it yourself AND knowing exactly how it works and can be repaired and improved.

I snapped a few photos of the kit car, but then completely forgot to get any of the motorcycle project! Oh well, I’m sure I’ll be back again sometime soon to help out on these projects!

The kit car is essentially all Volkswagen Bug parts with a custom fiberglass body. Part of the appeal of this is how easily accessible the engine bay is. On an old VW Bug, the air-cooled engine just hangs right off the back. On this kit car, there’s not even the sheet-metal body in the way. I have a 13″ diameter forklift motor which would be amazing to push this car around! For many examples of EV conversions done on Volkswagens, check out that search on the EV Album.

I didn’t get it in the video, but the car also has a “boat-tail” rear cover.
This car would look great with a nice paint job, leather straps, a button-quilted upholstered seat, and wood dashboard!

The fully completed car could look something like one seen at this web page.

Until next time, stay charged up!

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