L.A. Entrepreneur Says His Old Electric BMW Will Crush Tesla

File photo of a BMW 5-series
File photo of a BMW 5-series

An L.A. entrepreneur says he plans to teach Tesla, and the world, a lesson.

Eric Lundgren, founder of IT Asset Partners (ITAP), an e-waste recycling firm, says he converted a scrapped 1997 BMW 528i into an electric-powered vehicle that has three times the range of a typical Tesla (a little more than 200 miles on a charge in real-world testing).

Not only that but he says he'll surpass a recent single-trip claim of 670 miles in a Tesla Model S 100D by a few hundred miles. The advantage is packing about one-third more batteries than a Tesla Model S into that old, beloved BMW sedan, known to enthusiasts as an E39. But Lundgren says he'll do so by using all recycled power components, including those batteries.

"The crazy thing is, my car has a one-third larger battery pack but goes three times longer than their car," Lundgren says. "We used parts people thought were trash but hold the same amount of energy you can get today. My car is cheaper and much more efficient — and much greener."

The effort to best Tesla is scheduled to take place at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on Oct. 16-17, according to a statement. Lundgren wants to beat the 1,000-mile range mark and set a new world record, with Guinness World Records representatives on hand, his reps said.

Multiple drivers will be used, according to the statement. The car cost $13,800 to purchase and convert to electric, Lundgren says. His point is that e-waste can be useful beyond scrap. "I want people to realize you have the power to take those things and reuse them," he says.

Of course, the company he founded, ITAP, recycles electric-car batteries for reuse in such projects, and it could profit from the publicity. Lundgren stepped down as CEO of the company earlier this year after he was convicted in a strange case involving copyright infringement and counterfeit sales.

He has said he simply sold CDs of computer restoration software available as free downloads on the internet — as a public service. A judge is allowing him to stay out of prison while he appeals. Lundgren's PR team says he's still not working as the company's honcho; but it is sponsoring the world-record attempt.

"You should be able to live life in abundance," Lundgren says. "Be smart with your waste. It's all about reuse."

His BMW is packed with batteries and therefore isn't likely to give Tesla a run for its money in the luxury segment. The German ride doesn't even have a backseat. Meanwhile, Tesla's S P100D can do 0-to-60 in 2.3 seconds in contemporary luxury and style, a feat the Bimmer is not likely to match.

After the track event later this month Lundgren says he'll be happy to show folks how they can build their own Tesla beater using recycled electronics.


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