In a world of Nissan Leafs, Mitsubishi iMiEVs, Ford C-MAXes and Toyota Priuses it takes frequent reminders that driving hybrid and electric vehicles can be fun. Tesla has proven it. Fisker tried to prove it before their business imploded. The fine folks at EV West are determined to prove it everyday.
EV West's latest project is a 1995 BMW M3 turned electric. This is most certainly not the Bimmer for your Starbucks sipping yuppy neighbor, unless he happens to be a race car driver. The gaudy decals and the comically-sized spoiler are a dead give away that this car is meant to be driven fast.
EV West M3 Dyno'ed
While car manufacturers routinely inflate horsepower and torque numbers for marketing purposes, an informed auto-enthusiast knows that these numbers rarely (if ever) account for powertrain losses. The most accurate way to determine how much power and torque a car inflicts on the pavement is to put it on a dynamometer.
That's exactly what the host of "Drive," Matt Farrah, did to the rebuilt M3 and the results were astounding. The track-ready EV generated 342 horsepower and, wait for it, 850 ft-lbs of torque at just 600 RPMs. In a more practical vehicle, that would be more than enough torque to pull the average fully loaded fifth-wheel travel trailer. In this application, all that force is dedicated to slinging an electric M3 around a track and destroying powertrain components. So far, a transmission, a clutch and a differential have all fallen victim to the torque monster in this car.
The EV West team is quick to point out that they aren't a bunch of environmentalists or hippies. They're just car fanatics hellbent on making ridiculously fast EVs. In this M3, they've succeeded, although Farrah isn't convinced that EV racing is the wave of the future just yet. Maybe he needs to take a few more laps.