Man builds electric car out junkyard parts and trashed batteries that can drive longer on a single charge than “the most advanced car in the world” for $13,000, about a tenth of the cost
The CEO of an electronic recycling firm, Eric Lundgren, bought a ’97 BMW from a junkyard, added a bunch of “junk” batteries and an electric motor, and ended up with a car that out-performed what Elon Musk has called “the best car in the world.”
The car, dubbed the Phoenix, is made of 88% “garbage” by weight, Lundgren says.
It easily handles speeds above 70 MPH and can go 382 miles between charges. The latest Tesla Model S 100D — the longest range electric car on the planet — lasts only 335 miles on a full charge.
Lundgren, said he has nothing against Teslas. He thinks they are awesome and owns one himself.
The Phoenix isn’t nearly as pretty or luxurious as a Tesla, but Lundgren said pretty wasn’t his goal.
His goal was to prove to the electric car industry that their cars could be made cheaper and more sustainably by reusing old parts, especially old battery cells, that are toxic to dispose of and still have a lot of life in them.
“The batteries all came from cable boxes for your home TV … laptop batteries from a well-known brand that I called up and said, “Hey, do you mind if I use your laptop batteries?” … and EV batteries that the EV industry said, “Nope. They’re dead … they’re toast.”
“What we found was, when you open up the pack, 80 percent of the batteries are perfectly working … The problem is that once over 20 percent degradation occurs in the pack, in America we say it’s trash.”
Lundgren calls it “hybrid recycling.” It’s the process of separating good components from bad components in broken or obsolete electronics, instead of trashing the whole thing.
The key is reusing good parts, as they are, without melting or breaking them down, which wastes energy and pollutes the environment.
“Re-use is the purest form of recycling,” Lundgren says. “It creates zero carbon footprint.”
Lundgren says his intention is not to start his own electric car company, but rather to influence “giant companies” which can effectively put hybrid recycling to work on a large scale.