Punch Buggy: St. Michaels’ students convert classic Volkswagen Beetle into electric car

Punch Buggy: St. Michaels' students convert classic Volkswagen Beetle into electric car

WATCH: St. Michaels University School students are giving a classic Volkswagen Beetle a whole new charge. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

A group of grade 10 students at Saint Michaels University School (SMUS) are learning the nuts and bolts of mechanics. 

“I have a bit of a background in cars because my dad works on them as a hobby” said SMUS student Lucas Galloway. 

A school project has the students shifting their love for cars into the next gear by giving a 1973 Volkswagen Beetle a whole new charge.

“It’s kind of cool to convert a car into a fully electric vehicle” explained SMUS student Jackson Rothwell. 

The classic car was purchased off of Used Victoria by SMUS teacher Brady Doland, who says the vehicle was a perfect candidate for the conversion.

“The engine is a 45 horse power that will actually double with this electric motor,” said Doland. “The torque gains are just incredible because we’ve got about 120 pounds of torque.”

They’ve hit a few speed bumps along the way. 

“We spent a whole day trying to take out the engine,” said SMUS student Alex Shirley. “It was hard to not have it collide with anything while putting in the motor because it’s so big. That was probably the hardest part.”

The project is part of the school’s experiential learning program which gives students valuable skills and hands-on experience in their grade 10 year. 

“We collaborated with the downtown dealership in Victoria where we brought it into the shop and the head technician taught the students how to do everything” explained Doland. 

They hope to have the electric beetle up and running in the next week.

The big question on everyone’s mind is who will be the first to take it out for a spin. 

“I think we’ll have to flip a coin for that one,” said Rothwell. “But only a couple of us have our [learners license.]”


Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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