Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Classic BMW Gets Tesla Power & Performance

The classic BMW E30 3 series has been called the perfect drivers’ car by many enthusiasts over the years — and, if you ever spend some time behind the wheel of one, I’m sure you’ll find one or two reasons to agree.

The classic BMW E30 3 series has been called the perfect drivers’ car by many enthusiasts over the years — and, if you ever spend some time behind the wheel of one, I’m sure you’ll find one or two reasons to agree. It’s hard to argue against the cars’ dynamic merits, but it’s very easy to spot where the cars are dated. That’s especially true when you look under the hood of a BMW E30 … but notably not true when you look under the hood of Jon Volk’s BMW E30. That’s because what’s under Jon’s hood looks like this:

That’s right, kids. Under the 30+ year-old clamshell hood of that BMW convertible are a pair 400-volt DC lithium-ion battery packs from a Chevy Volt EV. They send power to a single electric drive unit from a Tesla Model S P85. The combination is good for more than 400 HP and gobs of torque available from 0 RPM.

The result is a tire-shredding performance machine that updates the classic BMW driving experience while removing harmful emissions and adding modern tech and — more importantly — modern power. “To best describe it,” Jon told the BMW Blog, “(is that) you’ll never miss a yellow light again.”

There’s more to this particular swap than bigger batteries and more power, though. A Quaife limited-slip differential helps keep the rear end hooked, while a set of high-performance Koni Yellow shocks, new camber plates, and Ireland Engineering coilover struts help to ensure that this Ultimate Driving Machine lives up to the hype of not just old marketing campaigns, but hipster-fueled Gen-X nostalgia, as well.

Not bad for a classic car that fuels up this easily …

… but maybe that’s just the tainted, rose-colored memories of my own E30 slipping in. I had the 2.7 liter “eta” version 325 with an automatic transmission, and it was glorious. I mean, until I picked up a girl I was dating and she said, “I thought you had a BMW … like, a nice one.” So, that was bad.

Maybe that’s enough talk about my BMW memories — what about yours? Do you have enough love for the old E30 that something like this makes sense to you, or would you rather jam some other classic car full of modern Tesla power?  Watch this excellent video of Jon’s car, put together by the guys at The Drive, and see if he can’t make you fall for his BMW as easily as he made me fall for it — and let us know what you thought of it in the comments. Enjoy!

Tesla Power + Classic BMW E30

Source | Images: John Volk on the BMW Blog, via The Drive.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.


#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.


Support our work today!


Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports


EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats


Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like


Andy Slye put together a neat comparison: Tesla vs. Gas: the true charging cost after 75,000 miles. One of the main reasons Andy bought...


The Dutch plugin vehicle (PEV) market dropped 4% in March, to 4,834 plugin registrations, but that result wasn’t all that bad considering that the...


I just saw Mercedes-Benz announce that it sold 590,999 passenger cars (+22.3%) in the 1st quarter of 2021. It got me thinking about the...


Welcome to China × Cleantech — March 2021 edition. Our China x Cleantech series covers top cleantech stories in China each month. EV Sales Tesla Model...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.