An IIT Delhi think tank has successfully converted a 1948 Volkswagen Beetle into an electric vehicle. Renowned vintage car collector Diljeet Titus is likely to send one of his vintage cars to IIT Delhi for EV conversion as well.


The 1948 Volkswagen Beetle has been converted in to an electric vehicle.
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The 1948 Volkswagen Beetle has been converted in to an electric vehicle.

The Center For Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA), which is an academic think tank at IIT Delhi. has converted a 1948 Volkswagen Beetle into an electric car. IIT Delhi only changed the engine apart from a couple of other components of the vehicle. In fact, the modifications to the vehicle are so clever that if need be, the original petrol engine can be fitted again in the vehicle. This comes after IIT Delhi helped develop flow batteries to replace diesel generators. IIT Delhi even demonstrated a working prototype of the same. 

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The original petrol engine can be fitted back in place of the electric motor. (Photo Credits: IIT Delhi)

“E-mobility has been the buzzword in the automobile industry and the need to adopt e-mobility is not just essential, but pressing for safeguarding the planet since the last half-century has seen adversarial changes in climatic conditions as a result of the ever-increasing pollution with vehicular emissions being one of its major contributors. It is high time to realize the damage already caused and bring a halt to this by shifting to more sustainable alternatives such as electric vehicles which are the right, and the most suitable substitute. With Indian startups spearheading a revolution in this area especially battery technology, vehicle diagnostics, analytics and charging; the time is not far when India will also join the league of EV capitals,” said Professor V Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi. 

“Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air has been established at IIT Delhi to promote research and actions to reduce Air pollution. Electric Beetle is a symbolic action to demonstrate that we can take actions to eliminate air pollution in Delhi/NCR and in India by the use of technology and innovation. One of the most amicable answers to the problem of Air pollution today is the transition to EVs which are considered 100 per cent emission-free as they do not release any toxic gases into the environment which is already in a critical state in several parts of the country,” said Arun Duggal, the Founder of the CERCA and former IIT Delhi alumnus. 

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The car was unveiled in the presence of the Heritage motoring club of India. 

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The Heritage Motoring Club of India was also present at the unveil of the 1948 VW Beetle EV (Photo Credits: IIT Delhi)

“Converting a Classic to electric drive is a significant upgrade and a more environmentally friendly choice especially if the classic does not have an engine or has the wrong engine or otherwise can’t be used. Converting to electric gets better torque and also increases the life of the Classic. Thousands of Classics in the west have been converted to electric over the years and there are many collectors across India owning multiple Classics who may actually opt to convert at least one of their cars as a part of this pioneering initiative by CERCA, IIT Delhi. I plan to send one of my Classics this month for conversion to electric drive to do my bit to reduce pollutants and to enjoy driving using clean technology. Since only the engine and a few components are removed to convert, one can refit the original petrol engine to easily bring the Classic back to original,” said Diljeet Titus, the secretary of the Heritage Motoring Club of India.

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Titus is a renewed lawyer and the founder of Titus and Co. and also known for his collection of vintage cars. 

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