Car Classic 2015 Visions of the Future is Zelectric

Pasadena CA, Oct 25 2015 - Special Car Store caught up with Bonnie Rodgers and David Benardo at the Art Center Car Classic again. First spied here in a Zelectric Beetle a couple years ago, this time they showed up with a bigger booth. Their version of the original minivan (not sorry, Chrysler) - a Volkswagen bus, was a worthy attraction of great interest to the attendees of Visions of the FutureBoth were interviewed by legendary car talker Dave Kunz as part of the infield on-mike discovery program. We asked them about the past and future of their involvement in the electrification of history:

"We were very pleased to be invited to 2015 Car Classic with our 1964 freshly stock-restored electric Microbus. It is a first-of-its-kind prototype developed by our company, San Diego-based Zelectric Motors. Given the future-forward focus of the Car Classic theme this year, it seemed to be especially relevant. In our case, the future is artfully hidden within iconic automotive design of the past.

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 1964 Electric Volkswagen Microbus

My husband David and I spent decades driving, loving and repairing various vintage VWs while working as designers with a number of tech-driven Bay Area and Silicon Valley firms. The idea of electric propulsion for our temperamental (but charming) 21 window VW Bus first occurred to us in the early 2000s. It was irresistible. We harbored that dream until practical technology caught up with the concept and our personal circumstances conspired to allow us to bring it to life.

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The future of driving is electric. For so many reasons. It’s good for us, smart for our wallets, and healthy for Mother Earth. Electric fuel costs a mere fraction of dead-end fossil fuel and can be derived from completely renewable resources. But more than that, once electrified, these vintage vehicles are unexpectedly, awesomely fun to drive. Unlike every production EV manufactured today (all 1-speeds), Zelectric retrofits provide selectable torque. With four on the floor, fast feels faster. We believe in preserving the mid-century Volkswagen design legacy. These vehicles deserve to be made practical. They deserve to be driven.

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While the love of the ICE will continue unabated in motorsports, by 2020 we’ll see a dramatic increase in the number of electrics on the roads, particularly out here in California. Every major manufacturer has already come out with a hybrid at least, and most are already deep in R&D of the inevitable 100% plug-in models. Costs will decrease, batteries will shrink, and ranges will double. Fast charging stations will proliferate. That will be the tipping point. This is a hugely exciting time to be involved in the transportation industry.

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At every stage along the way, we’ll be upgrading the Zelectric build to harness and put to use the best, most advanced and proven technologies out there. Our prime directive is to keep these iconic VWs on the road, doing what they were originally designed to do. Not trailer queened, covered by shroud in a dark garage, or forgotten behind a barn. They were, and are meant to be driven. We’ve found a solution for the 21st century: timeless design outside, Tomorrowland-electric drive inside.

We were delighted to bring this, our newest creation, to this year’s Car Classic."


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