AWSI: Active Exploration – Part 3

In our Active Exploration post (Part 2) we teased / mentioned “another San Diego discovery.” Here it is. The picture of a vintage mid-century Volkswagen Beetle convertible with a surf board poking out of its top was an eye-magnet. What’s essential here IS invisible to the eye.

100% Electric Powered Vintage VW Beetle.

100% Electric Powered Vintage VW Beetle.

This Wall Street Journal monthly magazine section article was about a company called Zelectric Motors which creates and sells limited-edition electric-converted VW Beetles.

How cool is that? These puppies zoom too!

CEO David Benardo says the Beetles boast top speeds of over 100 mph—more than double the horsepower of the original stock and with a charge range of between 80 and 100 miles.

He mostly purchases models made between 1958 and 1966—their weight and construction make them ideal for the transformation—and over the course of a few months converts their engines to run on zero-emission, 100 percent electric power.

Two lithium-ion battery packs are installed — one under the front and another behind the backseats. The gasoline engine is replaced with a Zelectric drivetrain.

Other notables:

  • Benardo officially founded the company in 2012 with his wife, Bonnie Rodgers.
  • His first prototype was a flame-red 1963 Beetle, which he toured around classic car shows to drum up interest.
  • The starting price is around $60,000.

We did some Googling and found out that Mr. Benardo was not a “car guy.” In fact, his background is marketing and advertising. Now that’s way interesting!

We grabbed the following from his LinkedIn profile, where Benardo lists “Ten things about me.”

  1. CEO, partner and business owner for over 25 years
  2. Award-winning Design/Communications/Branding director: from Blue Chips to startups
  3. Developing FAST/retro VWs w/tomorrow’s most advanced electric drive systems
  4. Received a Twitter “Shorty” award for “Best in Advertising” (google @FrankAdman)
  5. Produced & branded The American Advertising Federation Addy Awards
  6. Member of and Vintage VW Club of America since 2000
  7. Social Media pioneer, early adopter, conference speaker/presenter
  8. eBay feedback is 100% for 400+ transactions
  9. Helped a non-profit raise $116,000 to allow under-served kids to attend college
  10. VWs owned: 59, 64 & 66 Beetle, 73 & 65 21-window Bus, 66 Ghia, 79 Rabbit

This man has an interesting background and it looks like at some point in his career, he took the road NOT taken to follow his bliss. That’s way cool!

Stay curious my friends and please, build active exploration into your daily life!


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  1. […] We feel a Kickstarter coming on. Then again, why not just design a modern “phone box” in the form-factor of the classic K6. Sort of like those guys in San Diego updating the VW bug. […]

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