The Elektrotransporter was one of ten previously used by the Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga to test how an EV could stand up to work-fleet conditions. VW converted several Type 2 buses to electric power, mounting 72 lead-acid battery cells in a 1,874-pound pack under the floor. These batteries were connected directly to the stock transmission, which was then locked in second gear driving the rear wheels.
With only 23 horsepower and a significant weight gain from the batteries, the Elektrotransporter was painfully slow with a claimed 48-mph top speed, though NASA could only get it to 44 mph. While the EV technology is crude when viewed next to the ID.4, the Elektrotransporter packed some groundbreaking innovations, like an early regenerative braking system. The vehicle was reliable, too, racking up 54,000 miles during an 18-month test period.