Would You Rock an Electrified E46?

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BMW E36 330Ci Converted to Electric Power

Built from pieces of several different cars, this silent but deadly 330Ci is a hot rod for the 21st century.

To the domestic guys, there’s no greater sin than swapping a Mustang with an LS small-block V8 from a Chevrolet Camaro or Corvette. How would you feel if someone swapped a BMW’s oil-pumping, gas-burning inline six for the electric half of a Lexus hybrid drivetrain? That’s just what someone did, according to Jalopnik.

BMW E36 330Ci Converted to Electric Power

While we’ve certainly dealt with our share of finicky BMW engines, we’d hardly consider the M54 that originally came in this 330Ci (couldn’t they have at least used a 323Ci?!) to be troublesome. In fact, its stone-cold reliability endeared it to a generation of enthusiasts.

BMW E36 330Ci Converted to Electric Power

However, we suppose no maintenance is better than any maintenance, and while the M54 is torquey, having 100% of your torque available from 0 RPM is something we could certainly get used to. In fact, the seller of this car is so convinced of its superior performance that he refuses to sell it to anyone he deems unworthy.

Having owned a few go-fast RC cars and ridden a few electric motorcycles in our day, we can understand why. As much as we love the sounds and smells of a well-tuned inline six, we have to admit that a high performance electric car will have you scraping your eyeballs off of the back window after a hard launch. There’s simply nothing like it.

BMW E36 330Ci Converted to Electric Power

The electric motor and drivetrain components come from a 2007 Lexus GS450H, while the batteries were originally found in a Chevy Volt.  The seller has even modified the regenerative braking system to work, and the gas gauge on the cluster now shows the level of battery charge. That a nice touch. Even nicer is the limited-slip differential to handle all of that torque we were talking about earlier.

Could this be the future of hot rodding? From the looks of this thing, it might not be such a bad future after all.

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Cam Vanderhorst is a contributor to Harley-Davidson Forums, Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and MB World. He is also a co-host of the Cammed & Tubbed podcast.

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