If you saw this car running down the street with your radio on, you’d fail to notice it makes almost no sound as it passes. And if you, in your fancy supercharged Honda Civic, dared to challenge the owner to an impromptu race at the next traffic signal, well, let’s just call it now and say, “You lose.” I’m so sure on this, but let me explain.
This classic 1970’s BMW may look stock on the outside, but if you looked under the hood and in the back seat, you’d notice some things out of place. Where the engine was sitting are now a couple of DC electric motors, much smaller than the old engine used to be. Instead of a back seat is a massive pack of lithium-iron phosphate [LiFePO4] rechargeable batteries.
This DIY Electric BMW CS is nothing like any other electric vehicle available today. Instead of running on alternating current [AC] like all other electric vehicles [EV] and hybrids, Mike Pethel’s electric motors run on direct current [DC], which eliminates a lot of electronics to convert the LiFePO4 battery pack’s DC power to power an AC motor.
Of course, the car’s range is maybe fifty miles maximum, but what a fifty miles those can be! You see, the LiFePO4 battery pack is rated at 1 megawatt, or 1,000kW, so there’s a lot of power to feed the two DC motors. Mr. Pethel has put his DIY Electric BMW CS, in various iterations, on the dynomometer, maxing out at 824hp, whereas the Tesla Model S outputs just 416hp. Mr. Pethel has achieved over 800hp, but he’s still not finished.
Back to the race, where it’s actually quite certain that you’d lose to this 800hp EV monster hiding in a decidedly sheepish 1970’s BMW. On the other hand, there’s a small chance that you might win, since the vehicle wasn’t designed for such horsepower, and it’s just as likely to tear itself apart as show you its taillights. Mr. Pethel’s working on that. Don’t feel bad, though, electric vehicles are the future, and if you want power, you’ll have to catch up.