1972 BMW 1602e – Automaker’s First Electric Car – Video


BMW 1602e

BMW 1602e

“Today, BMW i sets yet another benchmark with it`s visionary electric vehicles like the BMW i3. But the first development of BMW electric vehicles already took place in 1972 with the BMW 1602e. Have a look at the concept, that had a huge impact on the future.”

States BMW.

BMW’s electric car history dates back to 1972,  From then ’til now, BMW has introduced a number of prototype, concept and production electric cars, but it all started with the 1602e.

BMW 1602 Electric (1972) specs:

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

Categories: BMW


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6 Comments on "1972 BMW 1602e – Automaker’s First Electric Car – Video"

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Did they ever try to sell any? Or did they just make the 2 used in the marathon?

[statement bashing BMW]. [positive remark regarding Tesla]. [factual reference to big oil conspiracy]. [forecast of how everything will change with the Gigafactory].

Although it was a great effort at that time, it’s quite a stretch to say it had “a huge impact on the future.” Electrified technology today is driven by a different reason, using a different technology and people are buying it because it’s actually practical.

The use of the shunt wound motor puts the lie to ‘All electric vehicles have torque’.

0-31 miles/hour in 8 seconds is not exactly a barn burner.

But 19 mile range is still better than the I8, and it could keep up with freeway traffic.

At McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada last thursday, I had the pleasure of talking to a mechanic who had ‘tuned’ a 1976 VW camper by installing a 50 hp Series-Wound motor and 100 miles worth of LIPO batteries. He was very unassuming, stating “I’m just an automechanic, and its no problem for guys like me to swap out an engine for a motor.”

That said, he did a factory-showroom-grade conversion job. A very, very finished product.

SO the question remains, if a simple, humble, canadian mechanic (who is actually smarter than he is letting on) can do this, why do we get very expensive PHEV’s from the big established automakers with 1/5 the electric range?

I don’t know… you could say: the Renault Clio electrique had a huge impact, no Renault ZE-cars like Zoe without it.

You could say: the Nissan Hypermini had a huge impact, no Leaf and iMiEV without it.

You could say: the GM EV1 had a huge impact, no Telsa Roadster without it and no other non-Asian/French EV without the TR.

But to say the BMW 1602e had a huge impact on EVs… that’s a stretch. And btw. 19 miles with 12kWh is laughable. The Renault clio electrique did 49 miles with 11kWh.

To be fair, Clio Electrique was two dacades after 1602e. Completely different motor and battery technologies available. With lead-acid batteries of ’70s, they probably couldn’t use even 50% of that 12 kWh without permanently damaging the batteries.

But I agree. 1602e didn’t have a huge impact on anything. It’s reasonable to assume that all major car companies start to dig up their early EV concepts, just to show how they were ahead of their time.