BMW celebrates 40 years of developing electric vehicles

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BMW celebrates 40 years of developing electric vehicles

In late 2013, the first production version of the BMW i3 will be available to the market and it will not only mark a first for BMW, but also commemorate the 40 years of development work at BMW that led to the production.

Forty years ago, at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, the BMW starting line-up included two electrically powered BMW 1602 model test vehicles to provide transportation for the members of the organising committee, and to be used as support and camera cars in various long-distance events. Back then, the lead battery weighed 350 kilograms and the range of the battery life was roughly 37 miles. This event inspired BMW to launch “a series of research and development projects with the aim of bringing an improved and, above all, more efficient technology for electric drive systems onto the road.”

BMW began work on an experimental vehicle built on the BMW LS model, and in the 1980s, they launched a research project titled “Electric car with high-energy battery” to look into the use of sodium-sulphur energy storage devices. A culmination of the work and projects over the past forty years has led to the final product: the BMW i3.


Susmita is a freelance writer and editor in the Greater New York City area with her own blog on natural beauty (Cherry Stained Lips). In her spare time, Susmita enjoys cooking, traveling, dappling in photography, art history and interior design, and moonlighting as a therapist for her loved ones.