Pure-Electric VW e-Beetle Races In The First-Ever Mille Miglia Green

Over the weekend, one of the world’s most storied motor races – the Mille Miglia – took place in Italy, but with a twist: all the cars participating were alternative-fuel vehicles.

This year was the first for the “Mille Miglia Green,” which saw the historic 1,000-mile open-road endurance race recast as a proving ground for pure-electric, hybrid, and other alternative-propulsion vehicles. Volkswagen was there, bringing a pair of battery-electric VW e-Beetle cars to drive the winding route from Brescia to Milan. Both cars started life as regular old rear-engine Beetles from the 1970s, and were fitted with the same pure-electric powertrain as is used by the VW e-Up!, along with a larger 36.8-kWh battery pack.

Granted, motorsport is not necessarily the VW e-Beetle’s forte; packing a modest 81 horsepower with a single-speed reduction gearbox, the green-friendly vintage people’s car is only capable of modest performance figures. The sprint from 0 to 50 mph – not 60 mph, like automakers, typically advertise – takes just north of 8 seconds, and the VW e-Beetle’s top speed is just 93 mph. That’s plenty enough get-Up!-and-go for most commuters, but it’s not enough to win many races. The total range on a single charge is reported to be around 124 miles, meaning a minimum of 7 recharges during the course of the race.

Hey, at least the e-Beetle is fast-charge-capable, allowing it to regain as much as 75 percent of a full charge in an hour.

Along with its pair of modified-vintage e-Beetles, Volkswagen also ran the VW e-Up! in the 2019 Mille Miglia Green. That car has a lower top speed of just 81 mph, and it requires 11.9 seconds to make the jump from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h).

The 2019 Mille Miglia Green was reserved exclusively for vehicles with hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric, and other alternative-fuel powertrains. Japanese automaker Toyota brought an example of the hydrogen-powered Mirai, for example, and the event drew entries from the likes of Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, Polestar, Porsche, and Tesla Motors.

via CarScoops