Me Crop 80 x 148My name is Ed Clausen and I have been an enthusiast of electric vehicles for over six years. I had a Nissan Leaf for on lease for over three years, but returned it recently.IMG 0469 crop small I got the Leaf on an incredible lease deal - only $69 month!  I would have purchased the Leaf at the end of the lease but because of the low lease rate the residual value was too high. The Leaf was a great car, it had all the electronic luxury and creature comfort items. It drove really well and is very stable due to the mass of the battery pack being low. The one feature of the Leaf that I did not like, however, was its limited range on a full charge. At best the true metro driving range is only 65 miles and that is driving to the limp mode, 60 miles is really the practical range. The Leaf could have a lot more range, but Nissan is very conservative with its battery management. Out of the 24kW-h battery pack capacity they only charge to 19kW-h and then they limit the discharge to 2kW-h. They probably do this because they have to warrant the battery for 5 years.
I started the BMW conversion in January of 2014, but have been working on the drive electronics for over two years before I started the conversion. The limited range of the Leaf has been one of my primary reasons for doing the conversion.  I have four design goals for the conversion. The first is that the driving range has to be a true 100 mile range. The second is that the car has to be able to go to 100 mph. The third, it has to have room and capacity to carry people and or sports equipment like golf clubs, skis or bicycles. And fourth, the car has to look great and be a blast to drive.The BMW 320i seems to be capable of meeting all of these goals!