Over the past two years as I've more seriously considered doing an EV conversion myself I've realized those that actually complete one, have a high level of chutzpah and commitment. After having a conversation with Paul it seems he’s got the chutzpah and the commitment. From my virtual conversation with Paul, and after reading a few of his build blog you can see that Paul is a smart guy who’ll sign himself up for challenges, and crush them. Paul is an entrepreneur, with a background in making theatrical AV systems.
Why should you convert your car to electric?
After owning and driving an early Tesla Model S Paul said “I’ll never drive a gas car again.” it didn’t take long for Paul to miss his classic European cars and desire to blend the two together. What he didn’t know at the time was that it wouldn’t be at least two years until the journey was close to being over. This was something that Paul reiterated to me a few times. “I had no idea it’d be two years and I’d still be working on it I figured I’d be driving it in a year. Doing a project like this, it’s very hard to go back especially when you do it with Tesla components, I had to keep going, I printed out a ‘just keep going’ poster with a mockup of what the car was gonna look like. Just to keep me motivated.”
Choosing the right car to convert to electric
The most common electric vehicle conversions are cheap cars, using, lead-acid or other low cost, low efficiency batteries attached to the existing transmission. You can see pictures of Toyota Camrys with the whole engine bay filled with batteries, or trucks with the bed filled with batteries. Although these have some definite merit of their own, some people may want something more interesting.
When choosing the right car for an electric vehicle conversion there are a few considerations to make. What are your goals with the car? Do you want it to be fast? Is it gonna just be a grocery getter or do you want something with a longer range? These are all questions to ask when you’re considering the final car for the project.
For Paul, a car that had power, long-range, and that he could still drive his kids to school in. That was the criteria, which led him to the BMW CSI. Paul was able to get a body for a good price but that needed a considerable amount of bodywork to restore all the rust, in Paul’s words “these [cars] are basically built to catch and hold rain. This one had tons of rust, a horrendous amount of rust. The first year of the build was just the restoration of the car.”
This is definitely something to consider as well when you’re picking a car to convert. What kind of work does the car need to get it to completion? For Paul, the challenge was worth it. I’d agree with him he’s really brought new life to this car in so many ways. This theoretically will increase the resell value of the car if he ever decides to sell it because it’s not only a full restoration, but it’s now electric.