Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
Plug Bug

Plug Bug

Plug Bug: The Electric 1969 VW Bug In April of 2010 I purchased a 1969 VW bug with the intent of converting it to run on electricity. In May I ordered parts. In January 2011, it finally moved!

Plug Bug Side shot

At a glance: 154 volts, 200 ah, 30.8kw-hr battery pack. Roughly 80+ mile range when in the Santa Cruz mountains. Up to 100 miles if not driven in the hills, and maintain 55mph.


* Netgain WarP 9 DC Motor

* Netgain Controls WarP Drive Controller (1000 amps)

* 48 3.2v 200ah Thunderksy Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, in series for 154v nominal. 192v fully charged. 200ah in each cell.

* Elithion Lithiumate BMS (Battery Management System)

* Belktronix DC-DC converter

* Manzanita Micro PFC-30 Charger (NOTE: I don’t recommend it; mine failed twice. See this post and this post).

* Stock transmission, with standard clutch

* Front lowered 2″ with drop spindles

* Disc brakes all around

* 2″ shortened adjustable front beam


* Roughly 220-350 watt-hours consumed per mile

* 100+ mile range in theory (to 20% State of Charge), but acceleration and the hills take a lot away. My typical driving seems to give about 70-80 mile range to 20% SOC. That would be roughly 100 mile range to 0% battery (which I won’t do).

* Longest drive so far: 70 miles, and the battery was at 38% State of Charge. In theory, that is a 113 mile range to 0% battery level. This included driving over highway 17 twice (but lots of hypermiling).

* Update: another mileage test indicates about 120 mile range at 55mph on flat.


* Better than a stock bug

* Lots of low end torque

* Drives 55-60 mph up  highway 17 (> 5% grade at some places) and I can still accelerate

* Top speed, in theory 95 MPH (based on the gear ratio, and 5000 max ratio RPM of the motor)

* Top speed I’ve actually gone: about 85+ MPH

Check out some of my Cool Pictures!

 Plug Bug – first drive video:


Walk around video describing some of the components (note: some things have changed over the years) 

More Videos: Here is my YouTube PlayList of the Plug Bug.

 A couple of in progress pictures. 

IMG_0646 IMG_0418 IMG_0453 IMG_0433


—– Below are chronological posts from my “Electric Bug” category on my blog from oldest to newest. You can see the process of me building up the car. —–

Electric Bug

Plug Bug: Step 1, Research

Plug Bug: Engine removed

Plug Bug: AC vs DC

Plug Bug: More motor comparisions

Plug Bug: Final motor selection

Plug Bug: Battery Research

Plug Bug: Interior Out and Rust in Back

Plug Bug: Power/Energy Required

Plug Bug: Battery Box Simulation

Plug Bug: Tie rods and axle bolts

Plug Bug: Bumper Mounts

Plug Bug: Sanding…bondo…sanding

Plug Bug: Front end restored

Plug Bug: Primered

Plug Bug: Red Paint

Plug Bug: Two tone bug

Plug Bug: Luggage panel replaced

Plug Bug: With the hood

Plug Bug: Headliner Install

Plug Bug: Battery Delay :(

VW Bug Restoration Links

Plug Bug: Window / Door Restoration

Plug Bug: Speedometer Repair

Plug Bug: Turning the flywheel

Plug Bug: Wheel Selection

Plug Bug: Seats Upholstered

Plug Bug: Wheel and Rim

Plug Bug: Motor Installed

Plug Bug: Interface Module Installed

Plug Bug: Motor backing plate + Controller

Plug Bug: Wires and Hoses

Plug Bug: Wiring…and more wiring

Plug Bug: Electric Ceramic Heater

Plug Bug: iPad mount

Plug Bug: Auxillary 12 v Battery

Plug Bug: Stereo

Plug Bug: Gas Gap Sticker

Plug Bug: Batteries Arrived!

Plug Bug: Battery Box Design

Plug Bug: Weight Distribution

Plug Bug: Front battery box fabrication

Plug Bug: Rear Battery Box

Plug Bug: Batteries

Charger mounted, BMS install in progress

Plug Bug: Battery Bus Bars

Plug Bug: First Drive

Plug Bug: Paint Booth

Plug Bug: Walk Around

Plug Bug: BMS Install

Plug Bug: IOTA DC-DC Converter fix

Plug Bug: Unicycle Storage

Plug Bug: Motor Cooling Ideas and Notes

Plug Bug: DMV has it registered as an “E”

Plug Bug: analyzing data

Plug Bug: Drive to work data

Bug + Tesla

Plug Bug: Water proofing the motor area

Shop Tour

Plug Bug: Access Okay

Plug Bug: Fan on, fan off

PG&E Electric Rates and EVs

Plug Bug: DC-DC Converters

Charger Not Charging

Back on the road again

WiSnap + Elithion BMS

Bug at Castle Rock


Plug Bug: Glamor Shots

Bug update: Wheel bearings!

Plug Bug: Mileage and Range

Plug In America

EAA Article on the Plug Bug


Plug Bug: Burnt plugs

Plug Bug: 15,000 miles then a breakdown

Plug Bug: Running again!

Plug Bug: Broken brake…

Plug Bug: Blower install on the motor

Plug Bug: The Inertia Switch works

Plug Bug: It breaks, I fix it.

Plug Bug: PFC-30 Charger Failed Again

More old car work!

Electric Bug: Charger Control – What I want

Electric Bug: Charger Control – Design

EV Converstions and white Clean Air Stickers

Elithion BMS Display – part 1

Plug Bug: Charger Control Updates

Elithion BMS Display – part 2

Elithion BMS Display – part 3 pictures

How to make an Elithion BMS Display

BMS Display part 4 – graph

Plug Bug: Transmission replaced

Plug Bug: Bad cell

EV Page of Shame: Post 1

Broken EVSE (charging station)

Good Times!

No Fossil Fuels Sticker

“No Dino” stickers

Plug Bug: New front brake pads

Electric VW Bug: Brushes replaced

Electric VW: Transmission Killer

Electric Bug: Running Again!

Plug Bug Videos

chargepoint energy stats for my bug

Bug transmission down again :(

Plug Bug: Try 3 with the transmission

The Electric Bug Chronicles: Window down

The Electric Bug Chronicles: F – You

The Electric Bug Chronicles: Cops.

Plug Bug: Crash update.

Plug Bug: Working on repairs…

Plug Bug: Transmission Decisions

Plug Bug: Transmission Disassembly

Plug Bug: Transmission/Transaxle Assembly

Plug Bug: Carpool stickers going bye-bye

Plug Bug: Fixed, and then broken again

(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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