Japenese Engineers Are Converting Classic Cars Into Electric Vehicles

Old school car bodies hide a futuristic engine.

Osamu Furukawa is converting some of the most popular old school vehicles into cars that run on nothing but electric power.

Furukawa is the president of Oz Corp., a company that is striving to connect the future of automobiles to the past. Oz Corp specializes in electric cars, interior electronics like car navigation and car rentals. But it's their work converting classic cars like the Volkswagen Beetle into electric cars that are grabbing people's attention. 

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Furukawa started converting cars by transforming classics like the Messerschmitt or Isetta. But converting those cars was expensive, sometimes costing as much as $10,000. So Furukawa decided to start selling converted cars instead of asking people to pay him to convert their vehicles. The first of the ready-to-drive converted cars were made from the classic Beetle and Furukawa calls it the e-Bug.

"The e-Bug can be called a futuristic classic car because the model boasts the same design as the Beetle in olden days but has the latest eco-friendly features and is not often plagued by mechanical problems, unlike aged vehicles," Furukawa told the Asahi Shimbun.

The e-Bug can drive up to 55 miles on a single charge and is nearly identical to the classic Beetles save a quiet, smooth engine. The e-Bugs start at about 2.65 million yen or $23,000. 

"Few agencies in Japan offer electric car conversion services," Furukawa told Asahi Shimbun. "I want to make the business a well-established genre."

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