German Companies Convert Beetles to Battery Electric Power

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. in light of (something) / ɪn laɪt əv / (idiom) – because of something

    In light of the technical problems we’ve been experiencing with our old equipment, the management announced that we will purchase a new one by next month.

  2. team up / tim ʌp / (phrasal) – to work together

    Several tech companies teamed up to organize this year’s biggest tech fair.

  3. conversion / kənˈvɜr ʒən / (n) – the process of changing something to another form

    The conversion of the rough road into a highway made driving to another city easier.

  4. run on (something) / rʌn ɒn / (phrasal) – to be powered by a certain source of energy

    All devices in this facility run on solar power.

  5. relatively / ˈrɛl ə tɪv li / (adv) – as compared to something else

    This is an expensive car, but it’s relatively cheap compared to other luxury brands.


Read the text below.

German automotive companies Volkswagen [folks-VAH-gen] and eClassics have joined the trend of transforming vintage cars into battery electric-powered vehicles.

In some European countries, converting old vehicles to battery electric power has been considered a great alternative as some major cities started banning diesel engine cars from their roads. The ban aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 40% by the year 2030 in the European Union through the removal of vehicles that contribute to air pollution. Emissions from diesel contribute to global warming, which harms the environment.

In light of the ban, a number of car manufacturing companies have started offering vintage car owners a chance to upgrade their cars to electric-powered cars. This is typically done by replacing an old car’s engine with an electric motor and installing rechargeable batteries.

For their first project, Volkswagen and eClassics have teamed up to convert vintage Beetles. Volkswagen will provide the batteries and other parts, such as the engine, while eClassics will conduct the rest of the conversion.

The converted Beetles will be able to produce enough power to improve their speed. Aside from this, they will also have zero emissions because they will run on a clean energy source. The converted electric cars will also have relatively lower maintenance costs because their engines no longer need to be lubricated.

As this trend gains popularity, Volkswagen is also considering how the technology could be applied to other older cars. The company’s next plan is to convert vintage minibuses, as well as other old luxury cars. A board member from the car company even said that in the future, it may even be possible to convert the classic Porsche 356, which was first released in 1948.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you were a vintage car owner, would you agree to convert your car to electric power? Why or why not?
• Other than converting them to electric power, what other improvements do you think can be done to vintage cars? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think that totally banning diesel engine cars is the right thing to do? Why or why not?
• What do you think are other ways to keep people from using diesel engine cars? Discuss.