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“Gute Reise.”

(That's German for "have a good trip.")

Hello. I decided to create a mailing list in order to send updates about my own learning journey – this concept, with the working title of Reise Motors. You and I have talked or emailed at least once about it, and you seemed interested, so I've added you to the list. It's an intimate gathering.

I promise this won't be more than a weekly update (unless some really zany shit happens and I just gotta hit [Send] on a Thursday or something). My goal is to briefly share technical research, market signals, and interesting trends that either cautiously support or ultimately sink the idea of converting 1980's BMW E30 vehicles to electric at "mid scale" – not nearly as big as Tesla, but not nearly as small and bespoke as, say, Zelectric.

Market News & Happenings

  • Aston Martin has announced a "cassette" EV retrofit for some of its classic designs, starting with the 1970 Volante. It is supposedly completely reversible. Reddit, predictably, went bonkers (h/t to Ben). Sentiment seems split along the expected lines: "You defiled a classic, you are apostates and shall dine in hell", and "shut up and take my money."
  • Aston has previously reimagined the E-Type, too. This is closer to what I have in mind for the E30; updated interior UX and drivetrain controls (the gear select knob makes sense if you direct-drive with the motor and completely remove the original transmission).
  • It's just a one-off today, but Chevy's eCOPO drag strip Camaro points to how the major manufacturers could ship electric "crate engines" as drop-in replacements for ICE (internal combustion) powertrains.
  • A steady trickle of viable gliders continues to sell each week on Bring a Trailer. Lot of 3-series convertibles out there for sale, generally. I'd prefer to start with coupes or sedans – lighter, less complex, somewhat more watertight. All gavel around $10K or less.
  • Let's pop the balloon a bit. Here is some feedback I got today from a notable BMW collector, Peter Gleeson, I was introduced to. He is 100% not a fan:

    "…as somebody who spent 30 years doing due diligence on businesses and many times turned disastrous businesses into success, I can’t get past the initial concept. It may be my age, I just might be the wrong generation, but I can’t see why anybody would want to pay the kind of money mentioned for these old BMWs, loved BMWs but still not valuable and no doubt all with many other issues besides the drive train. I can certainly see why somebody would spend that sort of money on a seven figure Aston Martin, although having a DB6 Volante myself, I would find it sacrilege."  (Note he owns a Volante, no less.)


Just to remind you where this starts, here are the two product documents that define the Reise Motors concept:
  • The original brain-dump Doc
  • A slightly more narrative Google Slides deck
(Please keep them under Friend-DA. Thanks. If you don't already have access, just request it and I'll grant it right away.)

Next actions:
  • Talk to existing and former E30 owners to get add'l rational feedback and hot takes on whether they'd consider being customers for their own vehicle's conversion. Figure out if the real market is people who would never buy an "ordinary" E30 - and find the conversion cool factor irresistible.
  • Talk to members of Avants - a Seattle car club and culture hub I'm a member of, to get more hot takes.
  • Reach out to Zelectric and see what they will share about their volume and roadmap. Can't hurt to ask.
As always, I encourage your questions and feedback – just reply since responses to this list go directly to me.

Thanks for joining me!
Copyright © 2018 R Motors, All rights reserved.

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