BEETLE mania has swept Mid Wales this week, with Mochdre-based company Electric Classic Cars throwing a Tesla engine into a Volkswagen to create the fastest Beetle on the planet.

The result was a Tesla 600 horse powered-Beetle hurtling out of sight down the 1.5 mile runway at Llanbedr Airport in Gwynedd on Saturday, September 19, at greater speeds than a Ferrari Enzo.

The project is the brainchild of Richard Morgan, owner of Electric Classic Cars, based just outside Newtown.

Richard has long been a Beetle aficionado and while hoards of people in the UK became obsessed with the rock band of a similar name in the 1960s, Beetle cars are what has always driven Richard’s passion.

“I’ve been a Beetle fanatic since I was a kid,” said the 47-year-old.

“I’ve never not owned a Beetle, going back to when I first passed my driving test when I was 17. I’ve still got the first Beetle I ever owned – a 1968 Beetle – so it’s an obsession that’s been going on 30 years.

“What we’ve done is taken an electric motor from the rear of a Tesla and shoehorned into the back of a Beetle, like the ‘hotrodders’ used to do in the 1950s.

“It’s basically taking a big engine and putting it in a smaller car, it’s been done for decades, the only thing that’s new is it’s now an electric motor.”

Given Richard’s Beetle obsession, there was only one car he could use for the experiment – heading north to Snowdonia last weekend to carry out the spectacular test amidst some spectacular scenery.

He used a 1973 Beetle 1303, a car he has had for six years, and a video of which is entitled ‘The baddest Beetle on the planet’, which is available on YouTube (

“There was no Guinness Book of World Records representative present but I’ve been around Beetles all my life, there’s nothing around as quick as mine,” he added.

As well as cars Richard has always had a fascination with energy efficiency – an industry he worked in previously for 20 years – and his two passions combined around five years ago.

“I was a director for a business supplying energy efficient software to big companies like Tesco and BT, while working on Beetles and Porsche’s were my hobby,” said the Llanidloes native.

“I converted my first classic car five years ago, surprise, surprise, it was a Beetle, and now we’re the largest company in the world for what we do.”

Richard and his team currently have 15 cars in the workshop and boast an impressive list of clients around the world – including Hollywood actor Dev Patel, famous for appearing in Slumdog Millionaire.

“We have actors and millionaires contacting us, to teachers and people with normal jobs. Dev Patel had a car shipped over to us from Hollywood and we’ve just finished that, so we’re about to ship it back over to him.

“We also converted a Landrover Defender for Selfridges in London and that’s now in the main window of their Oxford Street store.”

Richard reserves high praise for Elon Musk – co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Inc. – for being a “disruptor” in an industry that is loathe to welcome such dramatic change.

“We embraced news ways, which not everyone was favourable to when we first set up,” said Richard.

“But more and more people have come on board and today you probably have more people for than against electric cars. It’s happened before. In the 60s there was the transition from steam to electric and diesel trains then the transition to jet airliners. This is the decade to change from petrol and diesel to electric cars.

“You need disruptors in established industries, like Elon Musk, otherwise legacy companies stay set in their ways.”