Yesterday, as I was leaving the grocery store, a man walked up to me and asked if the Z3 was a conversion. I told him it was, and he asked if it was a hybrid. I said that no, it was an full electric car, to which he said "Really!?"
What initially caught his eye is that he has a Z3 that is also Helrot (bright red in German) and he noticed the Alternative Fuel plate. He said his first thought was that it was a propane/gas dual fuel vehicle. There are quite a few of those here in AZ (mostly SUVs) due to a botched program sponsored by our state legislature which nearly bankrupted the state. But then he realized it probably wasn't, as there would be no room for a propane tank. Once I told him it was electric, he started asking a lot of great questions.
He asked if he could peek under the hood and I happily opened the car up. He said that he'd had no idea BMW was making electric Z3s. I explained that they weren't, I had made it. He was surprised, as most people are and continued to ask more insightful questions. Every time this happens I like to let that idea sort of sink in; the idea that it was built by just one guy. I really want people to consider the possibility that they too could take on such a project.
I explained how the motor was coupled to the original transmission, a little about the batteries, their capacity and their life expectancy, the cost of the conversion, how far I can drive it and how long it takes to charge. It turns out that he worked in the aircraft industry, and he recognized and appreciated some of the safety designs that I'd incorporated into the car.
When we parted ways, we were both smiling, having enjoyed such a great chance encounter. I understand why a lot of people that convert cars put stickers and labels on the car proclaiming that it's an electric car. It's great to have people ask about it. I love it when people ask about it! But all those stickers and banners aren't for me. I like the clean look of the unadulterated car. I think as more people hear the term "EV" the custom license plate on the car will get a bit more attention. And to that gentleman that stopped me in the parking lot, thanks for asking about the car. I really enjoyed chatting with you.