On the special occasion of the 150th anniversary at the Audi production site in Neckarsulm (Germany), twelve apprentices electrified an NSU Prinz 4 from 1971, one of Audi’s iconic classic cars.
The trainees from the mechatronics, bodywork, vehicle construction and painting departments were given the resources to create a remarkable modern-day version of the original.
In addition to considerable frame and body work, the gasoline engine was supplemented with a 176 kW electric motor from a 2020 Audi e-tron. The power is provided by a 17.3 kWh battery from a plug-in hybrid Audi Q7 TFSI e quattro. It was not stated whether used or new.
Judging from the photos provided by Audi the apprentice project is no doubt a great achievement in terms of technology and design.
In our opinion the project could also be taken as a blueprint for EV conversion projects by automakers (OEM) – not necessarily for classic cars, but for current high-volume models.
Why not put a team of specialists together, provide it with a budget and the task to come up with affordable conversion kits for selected models, using parts from EV models of that specific brand?
The potential for providing existing cars with a second life and save on resources and emissions is huge.
Here are the top 20 cars currently on the road in Germany:
VW Golf 3,500,000
VW Polo 1,389,000
Opel Corsa 1,149,000
Opel Astra 1,026,000
Mercedes C-Class 999,000
BMW 3 990,000
VW Passat 955,000
Audi A4 840,000
Ford Fiesta 821,000
Skoda Fabia 815,000
Ford Focus 778,000
Audi A3 733,000
VW Tiguan 713,000
Skoda Octavia 709,000
Mercedes A-Class 659,000
Mercedes E-Class 640,000
VW Touran 631,000
BMW 1er 586,000
Mini Mini 539,000
BMW 5 503,000
The question is: How long will it take until an OEM is ready to make this move?
And can the fact that some OEMs work on conversion kits for iconic classics (see blog post June 23, 2023) be considered as the necessary first step in the right direction?