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This IS His Grandfather's Bug, But Now It's Electric
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This IS His Grandfather's Bug, But Now It's Electric



If the Chevy Volt's $40,000 price tag sounds a bit too steep, you could always go the do-it-yourself route of Oregon teenager Ashton Stark. He just finished a year-long conversion of his grandfather's 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle, and made it into an electric car.

Mr. ASHTON STARK: I was actually looking online with my dad at electric cars because we had heard a lot about them and that, and we thought they were kind of cool. And I decided I wanted to do one. And then once I got the body from my grandpa, it all just kind of fell together.

LYDEN: Ashton, with help from his father, Noel, installed nine golf cart batteries in the car and connected a single, motorized shaft to the Beetle's transmission. He estimates the car can travel about 45 miles on a full charge at about 45 miles per hour. Ashton says the electric conversion can be applied to other cars, too.

Mr. STARK: Oh, you can convert almost any lightweight vehicle to electric.

LYDEN: But his grandfather's old Beetle holds special significance.

Mr. STARK: Oh, I - my grandpa would be incredibly proud of something like this.

LYDEN: Ashton won't be able to drive his new electric Beetle for a few more days. Ashton Stark turns 15 years old today. But on Monday, he takes the test for his learner's permit. His next project: outfitting a car for his sister.

Mr. STARK: I'm working on finding a straight body of either a Bug or a Porsche, to convert for my little sister, for her first car.

(Soundbite of song, "Drive My Car")

The BEATLES (Music Group): (Singing) Asked a girl what she wanted to be. She said baby, can't you see? I wanna be famous, a star on the screen. But you can do something in between. Baby, you can drive my car. Yes, I'm gonna be a star. Baby, you can drive my car. And baby, I love you.

I told my girl that my prospects were good and she said baby, that's understood. Working for peanuts is all very fine. But I can show you a better time. Baby, you can drive my car.

LYDEN: A Bug and the Beatles - now, that's a morning. You're listening to NPR News.

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