1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Electric Baur! E30 Baur Electric Vehicle in OZ

1986 BMW 318i Baur Cabriolet EV located in Perth, Australia!

That's right... an Electric Baur!

I have had this article in draft stage for a couple of years.  I just came across it again today, so here it is!

Kudos to owner Malcolm Reeson!

About 4 years ago I began thinking about making an EV. The reasons for this were many and varied – environmental reasons, energy security, had a friend working on one, my car had just been hit and needed replacing and, well, I love a good project and challenge!

The first step for me was lots of research – what was involved technically, what sort of car to convert, what it would cost. My objective was a “100/100/10” car – that is it could go a minimum of 100 km on a charge, minimum of 100 km/h and a 0-100 km/h time of 10 seconds or better.

During this time I decided that the critical part of choosing which car to convert was that it had to be a car that I would still want to be driving in 10 years – there was not point putting all this effort and expense into something and then not enjoy driving it.

I considered a number of donor cars, and decided to target a BMW E30 Bauer cabriolet. The reasons for this were many – I had had an E30 before and they are a great little car and fun to drive, parts are readily available, they are a decent size (I’m quite tall), they are well built, and the Bauer convertibles have the advantage of a 2-part removable roof so you can still have shade in summer with the back part down, and they have a built in roll bar. They also avoid a lot of the leak paths that many convertibles suffer.

I was luck enough to find a car in Victoria on the internet that was being sold unlicensed as the owner didn’t want to fix what would be required for a roadworthy. I had it inspected and no major issues were found, so I picked it up site unseen for $2000. Luckily when it arrived I found out it was in excellent condition inside and out, but with a tired motor. It took all of $300 to get the car register in WA, and I proceeded to try and wear the tyres out before the conversion started.

The next big decision was EV drive train configuration to use. I laboured long and hard about whether to keep the gearbox or not, but at this point I met Rob Mason who had just converted another BMW E30. One drive told me that a direct drive system worked fine, so that made all the pieces fall together. This also gave me the ability to copy Rob’s design and layout, and gave me confidence that everything would fit.

The final EV system consists of an Advanced DC FB-4001 motor direct drive, 45 x 160 Ah LiFePO4 Thundersky battery pack, Rod Dilkes Battery Management System (BMS), Zilla 1K LV controller and Zivan charger. 

Next came the grunt work of the conversion. I drove the car to the EV Works workshop, and pulled out 280 kg of junk – motor, gearbox, muffler, fuel tank, radiator etc, then left the car with them to mount the motor and build the battery racks. I then took the car home on a trailer, where it spent months sitting there as I slowly added all the smaller components (vacuum pump etc) and cabling etc.

Just as the car was ready to be completed, work asked me to go to Houston for 6 months (which became 9 months…). Damn frustrating to be so close and not be able to finish it off, but within 2 weeks of my return to Perth the car was running.

Overall it has been a great project, and I’m really happy with how the car has worked out. The car easily makes the “100/100/10” objectives, and is a hoot to drive. Many thanks to my patient wife, and all the great and help and advice along the way particularly from Rob and Ian at EV Works.

OwnerMalcolm Reeson
LocationPerth, Western Australia Australia map
Emailemail image
Vehicle1986 BMW 318i Bauer Cabrolet
MotorAdvanced DC FB-4001 Series Wound DC
Wish I had got the dual shaft version so I could run altinator and AC compressor off the front shaft.
DrivetrainEV system consists of an Advanced DC FB-4001 motor direct drive, 45 x 160 Ah LiFePO4 Thundersky battery pack, Rod Dilkes Battery Management System (BMS), Zilla 1K LV controller and Zivan charger.
ControllerCafe Electric Zilla 1K LV
Fantastic controller, pity they are so hard to get
Batteries45 Thunder Sky 160 Ahr, 3.20 Volt, Lithium Iron Phosphate
Rod Dilked BMS - elegently simple, very effective.


System Voltage144 Volts
ChargerZivan NG3-144VDC
HeaterHave the zilla cooling cct running through the dash heater, more for zilla cooling. But hey, I live in perth where it is always warm
DC/DC ConverterMeanwell SP500-13.5
Think this thing leaks and has a constant battery drain. Have been experimienting with putting diodes on it.
InstrumentationEV works fuel gauge driver. WebPage

Fantastic, gives fuel gauge as battery state of charge and tacho as ammeter.

Also have 7 LEDs and buzzers for various warnings/status.
Top Speed80 MPH (128 KPH)
Have had it up to 120 km/hr, and was still pulling.
AccelerationBetter than when it was petrol. I estimate 9 seconds to 100 km/hr
Range80 Miles (128 Kilometers)
Have done 120km, and think the actual range is around 130 km
Watt Hours/MileHave been measuring this at the powerpoint and been getting high readings - 350 w/km - suspect this is a charger efficiency issue and a low level leak/drain somewhere in the system
EV Miles
Start:171,850 Miles (276,506 Kilometers)
Current:175,850 Miles (282,942 Kilometers)
Total:4,000 Miles (6,436 Kilometers)
    As of 2/13/2013
Seating Capacity5 adults
Curb Weight2,650 Pounds (1,204 Kilograms)
Weight is now around 1200 kg. Car is about 70 kg heavier than when it was petrol.

Weight distribution is around 630 kg front / 560 kg rear
TiresYes. Round and black
Conversion TimeRoughly 8 months from motor coming out to on the road registered as EV
Conversion CostAround $30k Australian, done when the exchange rate was 65c to the US $. Reckon it could be done for A$20-A$25k now.
Additional FeaturesSound generator on the dash that makes vroom vroom noises for the people who keep asking if it is on when you stop at traffic lights.


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