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Converting a '65 VW Ghia to an Electric Car

by Russell
(Maui, HI)

Doug Teeple's '72 Karmann-Ghia

Doug Teeple's '72 Karmann-Ghia

I'd like to know where to go to explore the possibility of converting a '65 VW Ghia to electric. What I might expect cost wise, driveability, range, etc.?

Would this be more of a novelty vehicle at the end of the day or a genuine daily driver with a reasonable street/highway speed and range between charges? I've been obsessing over which engine to build for this car when it gets a full restoration. It seems as though an electric conversion may be a brilliant solution.

Russell Yerxa

Hi, Russell!

Brilliant it is. Best use I can think of for one of these lovely creatures; )

Actually, a guy from Kamuela, HI converted the Ghia in the picture above. I discovered him at Austin EV's Photo Album.

He says he paid about 10K for all the parts and batteries.

It's a very basic DC conversion, nothing fancy. He used marine batteries, 85 AH, which I wouldn't recommend, and in retrospect, he probably doesn't either; ) It goes 60mph, though, and gets him around town.
Me? I'd put a herd of 6v golf cart batteries in there instead, and a LOT more amp-hours. Keep in mind that amp-hours are heavy little things, and the more of them you have, the more sluggish your acceleration may become...there's a tradeoff.

As for drivability, I'll let him speak for himself. Doug wrote this in his conversion diary:

May 6, 2007: Drive! When you sit in traffic you don’t use power or produce exhaust. Once you are up to speed you glide - no pistons and no automatic transmission to cause drag. The experience is way different than gas. Pop the clutch on a gas engine, it stalls. Pop the clutch in an electric and you rocket through a wall...


What he doesn't mention is how ADDICTIVE that electric drive feeling is, but you might be able to guess from his description; )

Update: I had links to Doug's blog here, but the blog is gone, so...

Another Karmann Ghia I Like

Jay Donnaway up here in the Northwest built the Karmen Eclectra. I think that's how he spells it; )

Hope these help, and hope you enjoy your conversion, Russell...and keep us posted!


P.S. Read my article on Electric car conversion kits when you get a chance. It'll get you started in the right direction!

Comments for Converting a '65 VW Ghia to an Electric Car

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Clean Energy
by: Anonymous

Does anybody out there know if there are any federal laws against trying to build a self charging electric conversion?

Not that I'm aware of.
- Lynne

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