Plug Bug: Mileage and Range

Electric Bug

So, how far can it go?

Today I drove home from a Plug In America gala event in San Francisco.

I maintained 55 mph on highway 101 and 85 — relatively flat highways. This is the path:

drive home from san francisco.png

The car was at 57% State Of Charge (SOC), meaning it consumed 43% of the battery (depth of discharge – or DOD). That was a 55 mile trip. So, in theory, that is a 127 mile range to 0% SOC! EDIT: I originally thought it was 60 miles, because that is what the iPhone GPS said…but looking at google maps at the point where I read the SOC, it looks like it was more like at 55 miles. So, I change the range estimate from 140 to 127.

It’s an extra ~10 miles to my house, which includes highway 17 (quite a steep hill!) I maintained 50mph (the speed limit) up 17, and the power consumed is nearly 3x what it took to maintain 55mph at flat. After those miles I was at 44% SOC. I took a screen shot of the Elithon BMS output on my iPhone (yes, I was talking to Kim while I took it):


So, based on that math, it would be 116 mile range. Since I never want to take it to 0% SOC (and ideally keep it above 20%), I can probably safely say I have roughly a 100 mile range with the car at 55mph – including a trip up highway 17.. 70-80 miles if I drive more “normal” (meaning 65-70 mph, and harder accelerations).


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Thanks for bringing the car to the event. Its a beautiful care and people loved it!

Johnny Sasquatch


I was referred to your website from people over at DIY Electric Cars. I’ve just started toying with this idea of building myself an EV. I’m looking at this as my work car replacement. The day I can stop giving my $$$ to the oil people is a day I’m going to crack a cold 6-pack.

My question to you is…

1. How did you arrive at the configuration for your Bug EV?
2. What did the components cost? I’m concerned about the battery cost and how long they will last.

Your EV configuration is very much what I’m looking for also.

1. VW Bug
2. 60 mph
3. 80-100 mile range.
4. Althought I don’t have hills. It’s mostly non-congested highway traffic. (We live in northern-most California).

As an aside…my father was an old grease monkey and it’s too bad he’s not around to see this growing trend. There is a spirit in these forums that really reminds me of him a lot. People getting together and sharing ideas about how to build cars….just for the sheer enjoyment of it. Anyway…that was a seriously unexpected trip down memory road.

Thanks for whatever insight you’re able to provide.

Best, Johnny Sasquatch


Hey Johnny —
I really just did all my research online, in particular reading everything I could on diyelectric car. If you have specific questions on parts, let me know..I can answer them.

For the battery size, I did estimates based on the weight of the car and aerodynamics. I made a spreadsheet myself so I fully understood all the variables. I learned all of it on diy and some old physics books.

For cost…it is expensive. Shop around and check out the price of parts. Electronics and batteries for a 100 mile range will probably run you at least 20k; greater than half will be batteries.


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