Lightning Bug Electric Car - Lake Land College, Mattoon Illinois

The Lightning Bug 1972 Super Beetle

The story of the Lightning Bug all started when Dr. John Wright of Marshall bestowed a 1972 Volkswagen super beetle to the Lake Land College Foundation. While college President Scott Lensink saw the car’s potential, he admitted he didn’t at first know what the college would do with the classic automobile. The power train was operable, but very weak and the chassis was severely corroded. The value was about $3,200.

However, the “bug” initiated one of the most exciting alternative energy projects on Lake Land’s campus. Several instructors are currently converting the former clunker from gas to electric. The project is a partnership with Mid America Motorworks in Effingham. The group is in the process of removing the engine and installing an electric motor. It recently received a custom paint job and was a huge hit at Mid America’s Fun Fest. Eventually, it will get a custom stereo system and, in the end, be used as a promotional and educational tool to teach students about “going green.”

The instructors that worked on this project are:

Michael Beavers
Alan Clodfelter
Bob Davidson
Gary Lindley
Brian Madlem
Kevin Miller

Here are some pictures of the one-of-a-kind beetle!

Motor - ADVANCED DC #203-06-4001 Series Mtr..19 HP cont., 72-120 VDC..55 HP peak..reversible..single shaft..face mntbl..for EVs up to 4000 lbs..107 lbs

Motor control - CURTIS-PMC #1221C-7401 Motor Controller...72-120 VDC, 400 Amps max...MOSFET technology, 1.5 & 15 kHz pulse-width modulated...13 lbs

Throttle- CURTIS-PMC #PB-6...Swing-arm...5 k Ohm with microswitch...4 ft. cable...Use if vehicle has existing accelerator pedal & linkage...1 lb

Contactor- ALBRIGHT #SW-200B....SPNO Main Contactor, 250 Amps contin./360 Amps int...120 VDC max...magnetic blowouts...12 VDC Coil with diode...4 lbs

Fuse- FERRAZ/SHAWMUT #A15QS400-4...400 Amps DC/150 VDC max...compact...Use for motor controller systems up to 500 Amps...1 lb

Circuit breaker- G.E. #TQD-200...Dual section w/toggle handle...120 VDC max...Use for motor controller systems up to 500 Amps...4 lbs

DC to DC converter- CURTIS INSTRUMENTS #1400E72/96-1201...for 72 - 96 V battery pack input..converts to 13.5 VDC/22 Amps...continuous duty...sealed...6 lbs

Battery cable- 1gauge for short runs(16 inches or less), 00gauge for longer runs

Batteries- 16 Trojan T-105’s, 6 volt, deep cycle, flooded lead acid, weight is 62lbs each, 2hr amp hr rating = 145AH, 5hr amp hr rating = 185AH, estimated pack power =13.9kWh

Range- we hope to get 40 to 60 miles, it will depend a lot on the speed you are traveling

Top Speed- we hope to get a top speed of 60-70mph