Because It’s Earth Day: We Revisit 40 Years of Electric Mobility at BMW

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 4

40 years of the Ultimate Electric Driving Machines!

Back in 1972, BMW envisioned a future ripe with electric vehicles.  The German automaker used the Olympic Games in Munich to display two of its first-ever converted 1602 electric-powered vehicles.  At the time, BMW was likely unaware that it would still be developing prototype electric vehicles 40 years later, but the now almost forgotten early electric Bimmers serve as research and development projects that would later enable BMW to launch both the Mini E and ActiveE and eventually the i3 and i8.

Since there’s way too much history to cover here, we thought it least wasteful of your time to only post images and vital specs for BMW’s arsenal of electric machines.

 

BMW 1602 Electric (1972)

BMW 1602 Electric (1972):

Motor: DC shunt-wound motor
Peak output: 32 kW
Energy storage: 12 lead-acid starter batteries
Capacity: 12.6 kWh
Top speed: 62 mph
Acceleration: 0-31 mph 8 seconds
Range in city traffic: 19 miles

 

 

BMW 325iX Electric (1987–1990)

BMW 325iX (1987-1990):

Motor: DC shunt-wound motor
Peak output: 22 kW
Energy storage: Sodium-sulphur battery
Capacity: 22 kWh
Top speed: 62 mph
Acceleration: 0-31 mph 9 seconds
Range in city traffic: 93 miles

 

 

 

BMW E1 and E2 (1991–1993)

BMW E1, 1st/2nd generation (1991-1993):

Motor: Permanently excited rotating-field
AC motor
Output: 32 kW
Energy storage: Sodium-sulphur/
sodium-nickel chloride batteries
Capacity 19.2 kWh / 19 kWh
Top speed: 75 mph / 78 mph
Acceleration: 0-31 mph 6 sec / 5.6 sec
Range in city traffic: 93 miles

 

 

BMW 325 electric (1992-1997)

BMW 325 / BMW electric (1992-1997):

Motor: Permanently excited rotating-field
AC motor
Output: 32 kW / 45 kW
Energy storage: Sodium-nickel chloride battery
Capacity: 21.7 kWh / 29 kWh
Top speed: 80 mph / 84 mph
Acceleration: 0-31 mph 8 sec / 6 sec
Range in city traffic: 75 miles / 93 miles

 

 

MINI E (since 2008)

MINI E (2008):

Motor: Asynchronous motor
Output: 150 kW
Energy storage: Lithium-ion battery
Capacity: 35 kWh
Top speed: 94 mph
Acceleration: 0-62 mph 8.5 sec
Range: 155 miles

 

 

 

BMW ActiveE (since 2010)

BMW ActiveE (2010):

Motor: Permanently excited hybrid synchronous motor
Output: 125 kW
Energy storage: Lithium-ion battery
Capacity: 32 kWh
Top speed: 90 mph
Acceleration: 0-62 mph 9 sec
Range in city traffic: 100 miles

 

With 40 years of history in the books, we look forward to the future of the electric Bimmers: BMW i3 and BMW i8

BMW i3 And i8 Coming In 2013 and 2014 (Respectively)

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4 responses to "Because It’s Earth Day: We Revisit 40 Years of Electric Mobility at BMW"

  1. GeorgeS says:

    Good article. I had no idea about these earlier projects. Sodium batteries were a big deal.

    Can’t wait for more i3 news. That car is the hot ticket. Hopefully it will be closer to 45 instead of 55K$.

  2. Warren says:

    If we built 7 billion electric cars, the earth would be saved. Happy Earth Day.

  3. vdiv says:

    “40 Years of Electric Mobility at BMW” has been exactly that, no one has been able to buy a single production EV outside of BMW. Come on!

  4. Bill Howland says:

    I remember reading a popular science article in the 60’s re: a coverted Chevy Corvair to electric. Unfortunately, the inverter frequency was in the ear’s hearing range and the thing made a big racket when you stepped on the gas. But it shows they’ve been tinkering for a long time.