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1974 Super Beetle
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings. I've been reading about homemade EV car conversions since the late 2000s gas price hike. I'm happy to introduce myself and announce I finally pickup up my donor car, a 1974 Super Beetle!

Getting back into things after some time away from the subject, I can already tell this has advanced quite a bit since the 2000s. I can tell I'll need to get back up to speed. I'll be doing some reading before shitposting, so if anyone wants to kick the ball and drop a link to a good article in the comments I'd be grateful.

I'm a former aircraft mechanic who worked both on-frame and component overhaul. I learned how to build circuit boards in high school. As great as that sounds, if anything needs welding I'm pretty useless :D .

Goals:
Top Speed: 70-80 MPH
Range: 100 MPH
Street Legal
Hopefully DC

Budget is probably about $10,000 but less is more and I want to have enough left over for the paint barn.

Thanks in advance
 

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It sounds like this is a 1303 Beetle, with the CV-jointed rear axle shafts. That means that the transaxle is not part of the suspension, so you don't need to keep the original transaxle. I realize that the plan is probably to keep the original transaxle and adapt the motor to it, but you might consider which complete drive units (motor with transaxle) salvaged from recent production EVs might fit... before you commit yourself to a specific design.
 

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Hey, I am in the Oregon City area, and just wrapping up my s-10 conversion. Indeed, much has changed since the early days. I would suggest you reconsider going with a DC motor. Everything is switching to AC these days, and there are a lot of good reasons to follow suit.

If I had my project to do over again, I would have started by buying a cheap Leaf and gutting it for parts. The batteries would likely be shot, but you could get a full working leaf for less than I paid for a Hyper 9 motor kit. It will add work, of course, and this project will likely take a lot longer than you think. Took me about 18 months, but the pandemic and a new baby didnt help!

100 mile range should be doable with some good batteries, and a light foot on the accelerator pedal. Not sure about the top speed, is a bug safe to drive at 80mph?

You are good on street legality - I just mailed in a registration renewal form with the fuel type changed over to Electric and they just sent me plates. There are no inspections of any sort.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing what you build!
 

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1974 Super Beetle
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the initial feedback, everybody.

The thought about using an EV engine and transmission combo is interesting. But it also sounds like more fab work than I care to get into. I'd much rather retrofit to the existing transmission as I've seen done. This will really only be a secondary car for local trips, so I'm wondering if that would be buying more than was necessary.

I'm probably being greedy on the top speed. That's probably safe in a 74 beetle with some amount of suspension mods, but again, more than I really need. 65 is probably fine.

With a factory weight of under 1900 lbs, I'm thinking I might be able to get some added range with a sensibly sized motor. I've been reading up on those at the moment, trying to learn more about matching specs to particular donor cars.
 
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