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PHOTO CAPTION: Electric Trabant conversion.

The Electric Resurrection of the East German Trabant

For decades, the East German Trabant was the butt of countless jokes, but it cost half the price of a VW Beetle. Now ReeVOLT is giving it an electric heart.

Published: 12-May-2015

As cars go, the Trabant is probably one of the worst automobiles ever built. It was under-powered, terribly polluting, and grossly fuel inefficient, but it also was cheap; cheap enough to sell 3.7 million from 1957 to 1991, according to Wikipedia. Curiously, it also has attracted its own fan base, apparently for nostalgic reasons linked to the history of the old, communist-controlled East Germany.

Now the German renewable energy company ReeVOLT has "eCycled" the Trabant, removing their smoky two-stroke engine, replacing it with a conversion kit centered around a 28kW (peak) electric motor and 11kWh battery pack. When you include €2,000 for the used Trabant and €12,000 for the ReeVOLT kit and €1,000 for labor. A similar kit is available for the original VW Beetle.

ReeVOLT conversion motor

The range of the eTrabant around 100 km (62 miles). The maximum speed is 105 km/h; and recharge time is just over 5 hours. At a total cost of around €15,000 ($16,730USD), the little car costs half the price of the BMW i3.

The German resort of Ruegen has bought a pair of the electric 'Trabis,' which it rents to visitors for 2.5 hour tours of the Baltic island for €29s ($32USD).

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