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From E1 to iX: The Succinct History of BMW Electric Vehicles

Even today, BMW boasts an entire range of electric models based on its internal combustion engine cars. While many rivals are selling more bespoke electric vehicles built on dedicated platforms, the Bavarian automaker remains one of the most important names in the recent history of electric mobility. With the 2025 launch of the first Neue Klasse models, debuting a bespoke EV platform, BMW aims to return to the forefront of the electric car scene.

1972 BMW 1602 Electric

But let’s start from the beginning, decades before the manufacturer ever considered making the i3, its first commercially successful EV. BMW began researching electric propulsion technology in the late 1960s, and by 1972, it had 1602-based prototypes up and running. The 1602 Electric had a modest range of just 60 km (37 miles) and a top speed of only 100 km/h (62 mph), but these figures were competitive for the time.

In 1975, BMW created the LS Electric based on the rear-engined subcompact 700 model. It had a capacity of 10.8 kWh from 10 lead-acid batteries, allowing its electric motor to produce up to 17 kW (22 hp) and push the vehicle to a top speed of 65 km/h (40 mph). Although its range was only 30 km (19 miles), it was deemed usable for a city car at that time.

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