Why not convert a BMW Z3 into a 100% electric vehicle? This challenge was set by Felix Ballendat, a technology-fascinated German who already had experience with electric vehicles after working at Tesla.
In just two and a half months, he built this unique, handcrafted electric car after acquiring a used 1998 BMW Z3 for 5,000. So satisfied was he with his work that it was the car he drove down the aisle on his wedding day. In Felix’s words. “The Z3 drives like a fairground bumper car. You turn off the accelerator and it stops” and “the silence of the vehicle is comparable to that of a tram”. Ballendat drives with great pride what is probably the only BMW Z3 in the world with an electric motor.
During the process of building the electric Z3, he photographed every part he removed with the idea that if it didn’t work he would put it back together: But there was a moment when there was no going back, when he had to cut away the side panels to make room for the numerous batteries, “I’m not a mechanic, so I was really afraid to see if the z3 would work in the end,” says Ballendat.
But it worked, and after two months of hard work and a lot of worry that he might have lost all the money he had invested in the Z3 and its electrical system, he turned the key and the electric motor worked perfectly. He then had one last hurdle to overcome, getting approval from the TÜV, the German regulatory body for vehicle roadworthiness, which gave him the final go-ahead to drive. Felix is also working on converting a standard motorbike into a 100% electric vehicle. An artist