Jehu Garcia is Celebrating The Electrified Future With Cool Cars And Customs - Autopia 2099

An excerpt from FORBES article by Michael Van Runkle.

A new event called Autopia 2099 debuted in Los Angeles this weekend, celebrating the future of automotive electrification. As consumers face an increasingly crossover-focused slate of EV debuts with each passing model year, Autopia 2099 hopes to attract internal-combustion and EV enthusiasts alike to spark a new excitement for the groundbreaking changes already visible on streets and highways today.


Here are some highlights that stood out from the crowd at Autopia 2099. 


Volkswagen Bus EV Conversion 

Jehu Garcia, once dubbed “YouTube’s Battery King,” brought his EV-swapped 1967 Volkswagen Bus to Autopia 2099. He acquired the Bus as a shell after it spent 30 years rusting in a field, then began a frenzied eight-week build process to swap in a pair of Smart Fortwo battery packs, which were actually made by Tesla. The batteries total 600 pounds and 48 kWh, though the Bus’ circa-1949 aerodynamics mean it can only manage about 150 miles of range. 

Garcia, who runs battery supply company, estimates the electrical components cost about $20,000—including an AC 50 motor with regenerative braking—but he had already used the batteries on a previous build. Now, he’s hoping to highlight the potential for using electric scooter packs to power similar projects, since a huge glut of the popular Bird scooters now sit in warehouses stripped of their batteries.  

Tesla’s battery packs are only getting more expensive, but Garcia said a 50 kWh setup using scooter batteries would only cost about $5,000 today. He plans to build a fleet of electric Volkswagens and rent them to tourists in Hawaii, which may require figuring out how to efficiently add air conditioning.

Volkswagen Transporter Bus EV Conversion
Many Volkswagen Buses have been modified over the years, sporting hotted-up VW, Porsche or even Subaru gas drivetrains. Battery expert Jehu Garcia swapped in a pair of Smart Fortwo battery packs and an AC 50 motor in his. Michael Van Runkle  

Read the rest of the FORBES article at

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