california-based company ITAP converts a 1997 BMW into an electric car with a 38% longer driving range than the tesla model ‘S P100D’ for just a fraction of the cost. dubbed the ‘phoenix’, this BMW ex-junkyard car was stripped completely bare, then fitted with three types of recycled batteries totalling 130 kilowatts of capacity, plus an electric motor. this DIY combination allows the recycled electric vehicle to drive for 382 miles before needing a recharge.

all images © jehu garcia



ITAP founder and CEO, eric lundgren, started with a ‘E39’ generation BMW ‘528i’ he bought from a junkyard. to save weight, he stipped back the entire interior excluding a seat for the driver and passenger. the battery pack is a 130 kW unit that comprises cells from lithium-ion 18650, old laptops, and used electric car batteries. lundgren and his team built the ‘phoenix’ in 35 days for just $13,000. lundgren hopes that if nothing else, ‘the powers that be’ within electronic corporations will notice ITAP’s effort and will feel motivated to start practicing what he calls ‘hybrid-recycling’.



‘re-use is the purest form of recycling. it creates zero carbon footprint. re-using parts/components within broken/obsolete electronics is called “hybrid recycling”. this is a much-needed and often missing part of the recycling ecosystem.’ comments eric lundgren.



in the video he puts the ‘phoenix’ up against the tesla ‘model S 100D’ in a simple test: drive both cars in completely identical conditions and see at which mile each one runs out of power. the tesla died at about 238 miles, while the recycled BMW ran out after covering 382 miles. lundgren didn’t to achieve his initial target of 400 miles, but he still managed build an 88% recycled car that had enough battery power to set a guinness world record for the longest distance ever driven on a single charge at highway speeds.

  • I am not surprised that he was able to beat the World Record and Tesla, He has no passenger seats just a ton of batteries inside the car. It kind of defeats his idea of proving that recycling batteries is a good concept because the car is full to the brim of batteries, although recycling is good, i think powering a tesla P100D on recycled batteries and getting the same results as a New tesla would prove more!

    Alex Clark says:
  • @Mr. Clark – You are minimizing the ITAP car accomplishment. It’s not difficult to imagine that with a little more development and optimization, many ordinary old used cars could be retrofit similarly with normal passenger kit while sacrificing some trunk space, etc. It would appear to open up an entire other market for used vehicles and recycling, which is a much larger idea than beating Tesla’s battery and implementation.

    Michael Jones says:
  • It’s a biased comparison unless the weights of each vehicles are published for comparison.

    It’s rather obvious he stripped down the BMW to the lightest vehicle in the comparison.

    Why wear a hat ?

    John Michaels says:
  • This car was to serve as a Demonstration for “Hybrid Recycling”. We should not Waste our eWaste but rather use the components inside to serve new and useful applications. This car does have a passenger seat and currently weighs 1,000/LBS less than a Tesla Model S. This being said however; we are not attempting to build electric vehicles.. There are thousands of other energy storage applications of which these salvaged, tested-working Li-Batteries can serve to better mankind and we are excited to implement them accordingly around the world as needed! If we can re-use these components in new life-cycles; everybody wins! : )

    Eric Lundgren says:
  • Bravo… I’m tempted to contract you to do my e46 330i ZHP!

    Will M3 says:
  • A most inspiring project. A real pointer for future developments.
    In order to silence the nay sayers I do believe that it would be better to have your car weigh in at a similar weight to current Tesla models. We’re you using standard tyres on your vehicle. I am not sure if Tesla, GM or Nissan use low rolling resistance tyres which ought to improve their efficiency.
    Great too that your vehicle was a “normal”vechicle not a dinky city runabout.
    Keep up the good work

    Des Martin says:

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