With the growing popularity of EVs and their technologies a new era of retro-modding and hot-rodding is beginning. The ability to take an old gasoline powered car, rip out its guts, and stuff in EV guts is becoming more and more common and it actually nets some pretty incredible results. For instance, this one enthusiasts has two EVs from BMW; a completely unmodified BMW i3 REx and an E21 3 Series electric conversion. How flipping cool is that?
In a recent Jalopnik article, spotlighting EV owners, we get to learn about Allen, a Jalop reader and EV conversion enthusiast. He uses his two BMW EVs on a regular basis and loves them both for different reasons. However, it’s not the BMW i3 we want to learn about — it’s the E21 3 Series.
The E21 3 Series electric conversion uses a 21 kWh battery system, a DC motor mounted at the rear axle, and even a five-speed manual. Apparently, due to the DC electric motor, it needs a gearbox. I’ve actually drive an electric car with a manual transmission — a converted classic Mini — and it was an absolute blast to drive so I imagine this one is as well. It’s apparently more fun to drive now than it was with a gasoline engine, thanks to its 200 lb weight loss and better center of gravity.
Obviously, the BMW i3 REx is nicer to drive, as it’s more luxurious, has more creature comforts, and a further range. The converted E21 only has about 60 miles of range (though, that’s not too far off the original i3’s). But because the E21 electric is actually more fun to drive — and makes an excellent trailer towing vehicle — Allen actually drives it more than the i3. In fact, he actually drives the E21 more than he drives any of his other cars, EV or otherwise. Check it out.