AV Report – September 6, 2019

Bugging Out


Teaming with German specialist firm eClassics, Volkswagen is giving owners of classic VW Bugs a chance to future-proof their ride. By replacing the Beetle’s existing air-cooled flat-four cylinder engine with the electric VW eUp! engine, the new eBeetle — eKäifer in German — becomes fully electric. 


Converting classic Bugs into EVs may not be new, but a complete electric VW powertrain is. By removing the engine and adding the eUp!’s 36.8 kilowatts per hour battery, the Bug gets bulkier. A gas-powered Beetle weighs about 800kg (1764lbs); the eBeetle is much heftier with a curb weight of 1,300kg (2,866lbs). The new motor produces 81hp and 155 pound-feet of torque. Further, removing the engine frees up substantial storage space. The VW conversion kit provides owners with fast DC charging capabilities that promise a 75 percent charge in one hour.


The eBeetle is said to have a range of 200km and goes from 0km/h to 80km/h in eight seconds — it may not seem like much, but that’s pretty impressive for a classic Bug! 


Interested owners of classic VW Beetles will have to contact eClassics Germany, as fitting the electric powertrain requires the vehicle to be sent to Germany. However, California based Zelectric offers similar electric conversion kits. EV West, also in California, sells do-it-yourself conversion kits. The eBeetle will make its debut next week at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.  


Porsche Taycan


Porsche unveiled its much-anticipated electric sedan, the Porsche Taycan, on Wednesday with three simultaneous events: one in Berlin, one in China, and another alongside the picturesque Niagara Falls in Canada. The locations were chosen not only to represent the major markets for the new sedan but based on their endeavours in environmental sustainability. Berlin is home to major solar installation; Fuzhou, China is home to a major wind turbine farm; and Niagara Falls is known for its efforts in hydroelectric power.


The Taycan will come in two models: the Turbo and Turbo S.Keep in mind that “Turbo” simply serves as a title–the Taycan is a fully electric sedan. With electric motors on both axles, the Turbo is said to have up to 670hp, while the Turbo S model can summon up to 750hp. The Turbo is said to reach 100km/h in three seconds, while the Turbo S does it in 2.6.


The Taycan offers the same general configuration as the Tesla Model S and is expected to be a major competitor. According to Porsche, there have already been substantial inquiries from interested customers, with 50 percent coming from current Porsche owners and the other 50 percent from Tesla owners.


“The future is electric, whether you want it or not” stated Klaus Zellmer, head of Porsche North America, in a press release. By 2022, Porsche will have invested over 6 billion euros into its electric efforts. By 2025, the company expects that half of its vehicles sold will be at least partly electric.


The Taycan will debut in North America before the end of the year. It will be available globally in 2020.


Lights Out


Tesla Model 3 owners were locked out of their vehicles for hours on Monday due to a Tesla app outage. Tesla owners took to Twitter to voice their concerns, as the app enables owners to unlock and start their vehicles.


The app isn’t the only way to get into your vehicle, however. Tesla issues a metal key card that sits tidily in a wallet, but given the panic Monday evening, it appears many users fail to keep it in a safe place. Further, as long as Tesla owners are logged into their account and maintain a Bluetooth connection, their vehicles should unlock that way instead.

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