At $8,000, Would You Be Shocked By This 2001 BMW 330ci Electric Conversion?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe electric E46 refuses to sell it to anyone who can’t prove they can handle the volts. Let’s see whether or not this conversion’s price means he’s not likely to sell it at all.

Cop cars usually have all the heaviest duty parts available, just so they can put up with the punishment doled out on the beat. Unlike movie trope cops however, who get tragically bumped off right before retirement, plenty of real world cop cars make it to their golden years.


That makes them especially intriguing. And those that have lasted well into retirement long after most of their compatriots have fallen by the wayside just adds to that intrigue.

Take yesterday’s 1985 Ford LTD Interceptor for example. You’re unlikely to find another one lurking at your local last chance car lot, and with its V8 and uprated running gear it seemed like it had a lot to still offer. Sadly, there was no cold case here, as that former civil servant sedan’s $3,200 price couldn’t overcome decades of wear and tear and it fell in a 71-percent Crack Pipe loss.

Say you’re a mad scientist. You know, like the lovestruck one in that Thomas Dolby song, or the good Docrtor Frankenstein. And further, let’s say you want to piss off the fan base of one of the world’s most venerated sporting coupes, what might you do?


Well, if you’re the builder of this 2001 BMW 330ci you rip out the M54B30, that’s arguably the car’s heart and soul, and replace it with part of the drivetrain from... a hybrid Lexus.

I’ll let that sink in a minute.

This car has had more done to it than just having its gas engine replaced by an electric motor. Despite the Herculean work that appears to have gone into it, the seller warns us that it’s not even finished yet. Not only that but he won’t sell it to you unless you demonstrate that you won’t Green Mile your ass poking around on it.


Do you recall when you were a kid and discovered that you could get a freaky-deaky tingle just by touching the poles of a 9-volt battery to your tongue? Yeah, me too. That means we’re probably not this Bimmer’s audience, at least according to its seller.


For the rest of you, who obviously make better choices in life, there’s a lot that’s kind jaw dropping about this build. The drivetrain and inverter are claimed to be out of a 2007 Lexus GS450h, sans the gas engine part. If that car was a hybrid and this one only has the electric components does that mean it’s just high? Or maybe brid?

The electric motor may be from a Lexus, but the batteries—and there are a bunch of them—have their origins in Chevy’s Volt. They’re actually taken from two Chevy Volts, and some of them take up what once was the back seat. Power output is 620 VDC according to the ad, which also denotes battery capacity at a modest 28kWh.


That’s well below what a Tesla or Bolt will provide you so don’t plan on taking this thing to Vegas on a single charge. The seller doesn’t even provide a range, and seeing as he doesn’t seem to have all the charge and depletion controls worked out, I’d say he’s got other things on his mind.


It actually seems that he’s willing for all that to be left to the next mad scientist who buys this beast. For the rest of us, well, we’ll just have to marvel at the work done so far. The seller says he has the regenerative braking working on the car and has MacGyver’d the instruments so the gas gauge shows charge and the tach shows power. Brake lights work under regen and there’s a limited slip pumpkin in back, supposedly from an M3 to handle the gobs of torque the Lexus motor serves up. What might that be like to drive? Well, let’s have a look.


Yeah, that guy looks pretty happy. The rest of the car seems to be in serviceable shape, and the interior, save for the in-yo-face battery pack, looks livable. The downsides here are the seller’s admonition not to drive the car in the rain, at least until the under-hood battery is fully enclosed, and not to drive it with a passenger until that back seat battery is safely under wraps as well. I’d imagine that it’s probably best not to feed it after midnight either.


Okay, so this is not a car for most of us. Hell, I’m excited just to figure out which is plus and which is minus when jumping a car! Having to finalize the coding of the BMS and reading the CAN is well beyond my pay grade. But maybe it’s not beyond yours. And further, perhaps what you’ve always wanted was an electric car that you could play with AND have as a daily driver, which is just what this Bimmer’s seller makes claim to. If that sounds like the person that stares back at you from the mirror then maybe this sled is right up your Electric Avenue.

If that’s the case then we now must consider the car’s $8,000 price. As the seller notes, that’s used Leaf money, and what would you rather cruise silently around in, a weird-ass Leaf or this cool and classic E46? Yeah, I thought so.


What do you think, is this almost there electric BMW worth that $8,000 asking? Or, is this a science project that isn’t getting your blue ribbon, or green cash?

You decide!


San Francisco Bay Area Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Twig Mouse for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.