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Old BMW gets second life as world's quickest EV


October 17, 2012

The e-M3 clocked an 11.8-second quarter mile

The e-M3 clocked an 11.8-second quarter mile

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Before he ever began work on the thrilling Rimac Concept_One electric supercar, Rimac Automobili founder Mate Rimac converted an old BMW E30 to an electric speed demon. The decades-old car, fondly nicknamed the "green monster" but more formally known as the e-M3, was recently awarded several electric vehicle world records.

"I owned an old BMW E30, which I used for drift and circuit races," Rimac explains. "At one of these races, the gas engine blew up. Then I decided to try building an EV. After one year or so the car was able to drive, but I was not satisfied with the result. It was heavy, not very powerful and the range was very limited. I started to gather a team of experts to develop our own components since I believed that the electric propulsion can give much more compared to what was available on the market. At that time, I already had a very clear vision of my ultimate goal. Today, hard work is making my dream come true."

Some people might be discouraged by the thick smoke emanating out of the hood, but Rimac just picked himself up and made something much more awesome. The realization of his dreams didn't come easy – it took five different iterations of the electric Bimmer to get things right – but it did come.

The e-M3 puts out 600 horsepower and 664 lb-ft (900 Nm) of torque in its current tune. It launches to 62 mph (100 k/mh) in 3.3 seconds – faster than a Ferrari 458 Italia – and tops out around 174 mph (280 km/h). It's definitely a little more riveting than a Mitsubishi i-Miev, but still packs a respectable range of 112 miles (180 km) per charge.

Rimac put the car to the test in the spring of 2011 on a piece of military asphalt in its home country of Croatia. After receiving official recognition from the FIA, Rimac announced two records this month, calling the e-M3 the fastest accelerating electric vehicle. The e-M3 raced the 1/8-mile in 7.549 seconds and the 1/4 mile in 11.808 seconds. The vehicle set the record in the Category A, Group VIII (electric vehicle), Class 3 (above 1,000 kg).

Rimac is still awaiting certification of several other records, including a 23.26-second kilometer run. We also expect to see the company working on breaking its own records with the 1,088-hp Concept_One, which it claims can hit 62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds. It plans to deliver the first of the 88 limited edition supercars before the end of the year.

Source: Rimac Automobili

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Congrats Rimac! Keep up the hard work of putting to rest the myths of EV's.

Cal Verdun

Awesome there is still hope for mankind.


Any details of motors, controller and battery pack?


And here I thought the White Zombie was the fastest. 0-60 in 1.8s: http://www.plasmaboyracing.com/whitezombie.php

Andrew Knowles

Depends how you look at it Crash. Green Monster has higher top speed, however, White Zombie has better 1/8 mile times. So, even tho GM is faster, WZ has MUCH better acceleration.

I think if the two teams worked together, they could come up with ONE HELL of an EV.


Andrew is correct. The White Zombie has the fastest with the lithium ion powered ET 10.258 @ 123.79 mph. (in the standing start NHRA timed 1/4 mile, per NEDRA) 1.58 sec. 60 ft. time, 0-60 in ~ 1.8 seconds, 1/8 mile ET 6.443 @ 108.63 mph!


Darin Victory

Not even close as so many others do better from the White Zombie 4 yrs ago to so many more since then.

As far as it going 174mph for more than second I doubt as it doesn't have the shape/aero to do it with either eff or stability. Air would get under it and it'd go flying off into a really bad crash.


WZ is QUICKEST - this car is FASTEST.

There's a clear difference in the accepted car-guy semantics.


Neither of which is a fast as Black Currant...


PS Sorry about the link to the Daily Mail website, that was the best article I could find!!

Richard Mayes

Way cool - the electric car - correcting a choice made in the begining of cars - electric or gasoline - the times are a chang'in - FAST!


White Zombie is way down on the list of both quickest and fastest EV, unless you are talking about STREET LEGAL EVs... This Green Monster is below it in BOTH ways, since the top speed shown for the Green Monster is NOT in a quarter mile. http://www.nedra.com/record_holders.html

Dan Stillings

Didn`t some Aussies in 2009 do this with a Double Decker Bus ?

Mick Perger

Shame on Gizmag for not lending C.C. Weis a computer so he could do even the most minimal of research before posting such a blatantly innaccurate article. It might have flown well over a decade ago when 11 second ETs were quick for an EV but at a time when street legal EVs are posting ETs in the 9s there is no excuse for such shoddy reporting. Also the car has never done 174 mph but if it ever did it would not be fast for an EV. A street legal EV did 234 mph back in 2004. A preped GM EV1 did 187 mph way back in 1998. Please Gizmag, try to keep of with the times.


Fact check please, the Rimac car may be both fast and quick, but it's far from #1 in either category. Electric vehicles are eclipsing more old gas records every year because pound for pound, no engine can beat the torque of an electric motor. Here's some real records to try on for size. http://www.nedra.com/record_holders.html

Jay Donnaway
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