If you know a bit about BMW’s electric vehicle program, you know about the super-efficient i3, the super-hot i8, BMW’s plans to electrify all of its models, and probably even BMW’s ActiveE program, but do you know about its first electric car, from 1972?
If not, this video will fill you in a bit:
Not into videos? Here are some of the key points
- The BMW 1602e was built off of a popular BMW model (which you may not guess by looking at it today…).
- It was stuffed with 12-volt lead-acid batteries like those used in conventional gasmobiles… for a whopping 37(!) miles of range (yes, sarcasm).
- Only two prototypes were built.
- They were used in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich to pace long-distance runners without exposing them to harmful pollution.
- They were built in response to growing air pollution problems in California and Europe… and perhaps also unrest in the Middle East. (Note that the OPEC oil embargo hit in 1973.)
Clearly, it took BMW awhile to really jump into the electric car game, logically following the rise of lithium-ion batteries as well as pioneer Tesla Motors. But it’s interesting to see how far back the company’s electric wires extend.
Interesting history. We’ve come a long way.
Related: BMW i3 Olympics Commercials Nail It!