2001 BMW 3 Series EV Conversion for sale: "Keep Up with RWD Teslas for $8,000"

In case you are looking to start a new business and are short of ideas, try converting older cars into electric vehicles. In just a few years, it'll be all the rage and everyone will want to turn their beloved diesel into something a bit more relevant to present times.
2001 BMW 330i EV conversion 9 photos
Photo: Unknown via Craigslist
2001 BMW 330i EV conversion2001 BMW 330i EV conversion2001 BMW 330i EV conversion2001 BMW 330i EV conversion2001 BMW 330i EV conversion2001 BMW 330i EV conversion2001 BMW 330i EV conversion2001 BMW 330i EV conversion
Right now, though, such cars are usually either the product of overly-enthusiastic electricians who want to give themselves a challenge, or people who are looking for a cheap way to make a car accelerate quickly. Sometimes, it could be both.

This 2001 BMW 330i is one of the projects that fall into that third category. In fact, even though the owner has put it on sale on Craigslist, he specifically states that anyone interested would have to demonstrate they "have experience working with hazardous voltage and have some electronics skills." Yeah, this isn't your ordinary EV where everything is packed nicely and comes with a warranty.

It's not exactly a sloppy job either. The pictures provided show the Bimmer looks just like an ordinary German sports coupe from that era, apart from the green accents on the front. Pop the hood open, however, and it's an entirely new proposition.

The owner swapped the inline-six engine for an electric motor and transmission sourced from a Lexus GS450h. Surprisingly, that's enough to give it quite a bite off the line with a claimed power output of over 300 hp. It even has a "burnout" mode thanks to a reduction gear in the Lexus transmission which sends copious amounts of power to the rear wheels.

The battery pack is split between the engine bay and under the rear seat. It uses the cells from two Chevrolet Volt units, minus two modules for an overall capacity of 28 kWh. There's no quote on its maximum range, but the owner does say the car served as their daily driver for most of last year, so it should be decent enough. However, they also don't mention charging compatibility, but it's safe to assume it'll plug into anything a Chevrolet Volt would.

There are a few nice touches to the conversion, such as the brake lights lighting up during regen, the fuel gauge showing battery charge instead or the rev-counter displaying power usage. You can't expect factory-level build quality, but for a DIY project, it looks pretty neat.

Finally, there are a few sporty bits taken from a BMW M3 such as the rear limited slip differential as well as the entire suspension system and the brakes. All this suggests the electric BMW was made with speed in mind from the beginning. However, it's up to you to decide whether it's worth the $8,000 and electronics degree. It does look pretty quick, though.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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