The Meyers Manx buggy, created by Bruce Meyers, has made significant contributions to the Californian way of life. The iconic dune racer, inspired by Meyers’ passion for surfing, became a symbol of California’s relaxed culture. The original Meyers Manx, which was based on a VW Beetle, gained a cult following despite facing bankruptcy in 1971 due to numerous unpatented copies produced by other companies.
In 2000, Bruce Meyers decided to start anew, continuing his pursuit of creating fun and affordable cars. In November 2020, at the age of 94, Meyers sold his company to the investment firm Trousdale Ventures, and unfortunately, he passed away in February 2021. However, Trousdale Ventures aims to carry on Meyers’ legacy by introducing a new edition of the Meyers Manx buggy with an electric drivetrain, known as the Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric.
Freeman Thomas, a renowned car designer who previously worked on projects such as the VW New Beetle, leads the new buggy project at Trousdale Ventures. In an interview with the US Auto magazine car week, Thomas highlighted the electric drivetrain as a key feature of the new buggy. He emphasized that the new version would maintain the same size as its predecessor, and his team achieved this by digitally recreating the original Meyers Manx and deriving the shape of the new model from it.
Thomas drew a parallel between the design evolution of the buggy and that of the Porsche 911, stating that it involved taking the original 911 and progressing it through various evolutionary stages. Furthermore, Thomas stressed the importance of making the new version better and more powerful than the original combustion engine model.
To ensure safety, the Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric incorporates features such as crumple zones, side impact protection, a safety steering column, and a roll bar surrounding the windscreen. Similar to the original model, the body of the new buggy rests on a monocoque chassis, although the rear is now closed compared to the open display of the air-cooled boxer engine in the previous version. The buggy will be available with different roof options, including a hard top, a soft top, and a fabric bimini top, commonly used in boats.
Regarding the interior, the photo vehicle showcases checkered covers for the two headrest-free seats. These covers are designed to be easily cleaned, considering the open nature of the buggy. The dashboard features an illuminated speedometer positioned in the center, which also serves as the navigation display. Surrounding the speedometer are illuminated pushbuttons on both sides. Additionally, air conditioning will be offered as an optional feature.
Trousdale Ventures benefits from its association with Coreshell, a Californian battery developer in which the investment firm holds shares. Coreshell has developed a nano-coating process for battery cells that reduces the degradation of the anode and cathode during charging.
This technology enables a larger voltage range and higher usable storage capacity per cell. Moreover, it aims to prevent thermal runaway, a situation where fire spreads from one cell to neighboring cells. The Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric will incorporate this advanced battery technology.
The electric buggy will be available with two battery options. The smaller variant has a capacity of 20 kilowatt-hours, providing a range of up to 150 miles (240 kilometers). The larger option offers double the capacity and, consequently, double the range.
Despite the increased weight due to the traction battery, the Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric remains relatively light at 748 kilograms. It features differently sized, deep-dished wheels with General Grabber A/T type tires known for their deep tread.
In terms of performance, the initial testing involved a powertrain with a 180 kW (245 hp) motor. However, the production model will feature a slightly less powerful engine, delivering 205 hp and a maximum torque of 325 Newton meters. The Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric is expected to accelerate from zero to 60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 4.5 seconds.
The buggy’s chassis incorporates independent wheel suspension on all sides, and its braking system enables regenerative braking, allowing energy recovery and storage in the battery. The motor, inverter, gearbox, and brakes are housed together as a single unit.
While plans originally included offering a combustion engine variant, no details about this option have been disclosed. The official Meyers Manx website also keeps this model variant under wraps.
Currently, Trousdale Ventures is seeking up to 50 beta testers to thoroughly evaluate the performance of the electric buggy. Prototypes of the Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric are scheduled for testing until 2023. Interested individuals can reserve the buggy through the manufacturer’s website. Ideally, the new production model will be available for purchase in the coming year.
Bruce Meyers’ vision for the dune buggy was to convey a sense of freedom and affordability. Introducing a purely electric version aligns with this vision, particularly considering the low noise and local emission-free nature of electric drives.
Also, electric vehicles generally have lower maintenance costs compared to their combustion engine counterparts. However, it’s important to note that the Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric with its advanced battery technology may not have an entry-level price due to the current high cost of batteries.