Catch a glimpse of Bisimoto's 1984 Porsche 935 slathered in deep gunmetal and fitted with its incredibly aggressive aero package and the last thing you're expecting is an engine spec that reads: 475kW, single drive custom AC 3 phase induction motor, liquid cooled, 90+% efficiency.
To be honest, if you're at all familiar with the machines being regularly churned out of Bisimoto Engineering's Ontario, Calif., facility, then you were probably expecting a nasty flat-6 with almost requisite mirrored turbos hanging precariously below its rear bumper. Or, if you're a Honda fan, you're intimately familiar with Bisi Ezerioha's AWD wagon exploits or his high-powered minivan, which has long served as his most controversial build...until recently.
This project, just one of many Porsche projects that keep the always charismatic Ezerioha busy, is a massive departure from the ultra-efficient turbo offerings that seem to roll out of the Bisimoto compound in rapid succession. So why then, after so much success in gas-powered subjects, has Bisi stepped into notably uncharted territory? He states, "I noticed my OEM partners embracing EV technology and I knew that I had to understand it, despite being a die-hard petrol-head." Ok, so the guy who has served as a tuning guru in an always fickle industry over the last few decades obviously wanted a challenge, and keeping pace with a vehicle type that this community often scoffs at and turns their back on seems like an interesting undertaking. But why an '80s Porsche instead of building on something already EV powered to start out with? "Building a project of this nature forced me to explore it, and since I desired to tackle the performance arena, why not use a chassis that would turn heads and raise awareness? The 935 K3V was born."
Call it a gamble, but the decision has certainly paid off, with massive exposure falling upon the build and the business. In terms of experience, yes, this was Bisi's first dive into a complete EV build, but not his first taste of electric motivation. A decade ago, when a little hybrid was the star of the Honda booth at SEMA, Bisimoto was tasked with building a demo vehicle—something the brand has done on numerous occasions. Tinkering with the Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system gave Bisi his initial introduction to electric motors in the performance realm, albeit on a much smaller scale. He adds, "Ever since we built the CR-Z for American Honda, and while getting intimate exposure to the new NSX, it was important to see how far the electric motor could be pushed."
In his latest creation, it's apparent that the electric motor, far more developed today as compared to 10 years ago, can be pushed considerably. 403 volts from the single drive AC 3 phase induction motor equates to over 600hp on tap and able to spin to a dizzying 18,200 RPM redline (you read that correctly). A regenerative braking system, standard on most OEM electric offerings, was also included in the mix.
Behind the wheel, gear options are few as the EV's single speed gearbox offers only a neutral, forward and reverse—something that serves as a major factor as to why so many enthusiasts steer clear of both traditional modern and electric vehicles. The experience inside of a performance minded, whisper quiet EV like this, however, is an entirely different experience. Send the command from your right foot through the 6-wire drive-by-wire system and power pours on seamlessly, very early on. Unlike a combustion engine, much of the power plant's output is determined by the state of charge and battery temps. Bisi notes, "If close to 95+ percent state of charge and circa 40 deg.C, the power output starts high and stays that way until about 12,000 RPM—then tapers off until the 18,200 RPM redline." If the conditions are ideal, Bisi reports that he's able to get a traction limited dash from 0-60 MPH in a blistering quick 2.06 seconds.
The idea of converting an '80s Porsche to 100-percent electric power is a wild one and might actually be lost on a mundane exterior. To that end, Bisimoto opted for a 935 K3 widebody kit that came from original molds and drastically bulks up the chassis shoulders and hips. The widened front-end tapers toward a set of low-mounted, custom Raven K3V ARC 9ELEVEN design headlights by DR Design. The car was then sprayed in Glasurit Slate Grey metallic by Dreamworks Auto Center, after which Andy Blackmore got the nod to work some livery magic in eye-popping pink.
The hits of bright color carryover to forged BM01 wheels by Brixton wrapped in Toyo RR. Measuring in at 17x10-inch front and 19x12.5 rear, the one-off turbo fans with their unique design scream "futuristic EV" yet don't come off as corny like so many modern OEM EV wheel designs that teeter on outright criminal.
Inside the cabin, you won't find any foreign surfaces or weirdo angles that often accompany electric vehicle design cues. What you will find is a clean and functional '80s-era Porsche with modern integration.
Keeping tabs on vitals like voltage and battery temps, AEM Electronics' CD5 logger dash is nestled within a Rasant dash delete and sits just behind MOMO's retro-style Prototipo steering wheel which, coincidentally, matches the brand's Supercup seats, also on board. Wilwood dual master floor pedals and a Quaife shifter handle user input duties with the chassis core electronics facilitated by a Rywire Smartwire PDM.
After years of seeing (and hearing) Bisi behind the wheel of some remarkable machinery that have always relied on compact, ultra-efficient, and generally badass combustion engines, this silent, 600-plus hp marvel is a huge step away from the norm for him. Bisi adds, "I was really all for small displacement, high RPM ICE (internal combustion chamber) powerplants and turbocharged flat-6 engines shooting flames and such. After building this and driving it...I am a changed man...and have influenced many clients and media types as well!" That influence isn't at all exaggerated as Bisi also noted a line of "Porschephiles" patiently waiting for their Bisimoto EV conversions. In addition, a Caterham provided by the CEO of Google's Waymo has also added himself to the eager group.
Based on the success of this initial project, Bisimoto seems poised on pushing the development envelope further, already adopting the EVmoto name as a new part of the brand's well-established 14-year run. And they're not alone. Another industry heavy hitter and one of Bisimoto's partners, AEM Electronics, is also investing in the future, having recently unveiled some EV-specific options and a new website that the technical electronics specialist promises to continue growing. Whether you're all for it or vehemently against it, this demo vehicle is certainly a sign of things to come and, as Bisi puts it, "The future of tuning, is indeed, bright."
The Positive and Negatives of Performance EV Tuning
- Stunning performance and almost unrivaled acceleration
- Speed and power without the emissions guilt
- Silent performance that avoids unwanted attention
- 50-state legal performance
- Just the tip of the iceberg, development and breakthroughs are occurring regularly
- Overall expense
- Somewhat limited technology
- Battery availability and thermal management, range and charging times
EV Tuning Personal Safety
An EV conversion isn't as cut and dried as say, swapping a 2JZ into a S-chassis. The issue of safety, both vehicular and personal, is a major factor as this technology continues to progress and more people become involved. Ours is an industry built on diehard DIY types, which is a concern. Bisi adds, "With a build of this magnitude, one deals with voltages north of 400. Special insulated gloves, a good knowledge of electrical engineering, hydraulic 360-degree crimpers (as any inadequate crimps will generate massive heat, resistance, and eventually hazards), no jewelry or metal spanners...anything that could create an unwanted bridge. Tons of failsafes to monitor contactors, temperatures and inverter vitals. This technology must be respected."
Final note from Bisi: "We are offering a program to preserve client air-cooled engines and gearboxes, while upgrading classic Porsches to this modern conversion. 100% non-invasive and easily reversible. Cheers!"