The 1972 BMW 1602e, The First Electric BMW

BMW built two electric vehicles based on the BMW 2002, the 1972 BMW 1602e

The legendary BMW 2002 is historically in several respects. First, it was the first car that saved the BMW and helped make the company what it is today. Secondly, it was the first turbocharged production vehicle offered for sale in Europe.

The entire automotive industry is transitioning to electric drivetrains. BMW is no exception offering several hybrid vehicles in its lineup with rumors circulating that all-electric vehicles are on the horizon.

While BMW has had several prototype electric vehicles over the years, the company’s first electric offering was based on the 02 Series BMW.

The BMW 1602e

BMW’s first all-electric vehicle was based on the BMW 1602. Two prototypes were built and unveiled at the 1972 Olympic games held in Munich Germany. The vehicles were used to shuttle VIPs and serve as support vehicles in several long-distance events such as the Marathon.


Officially called the BMW 1602 Elektro Antrieb, the vehicle uses one 32KW electric motor front mounted driving a rear axle. This was sufficient for a top speed of 62 miles per hour and accelerated from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 8.0 seconds. The vehicle is unique in that it had a front engine, rear wheel drive layout.


The battery powering the BMW 1602e has a total capacity of 12.6 KW/h electric vehicle battery. It can be charged or replaced with a freshly charged pack. Weighing almost 800 pounds, the batteries were good for a range of 19 miles between charges.


While vehicle manufacturers have been jumping on the band wagon for the past several years regarding electric drivetrains, hobbyists have been at it for just as long. There are several home-made electric BMW 2002s out there with several more at various stages of development that I am aware of. Their builds are chronicled in various forums online.

While it looks like there are several electric vehicles based on the BMW 2002, the 1972 BMW 1602e was the first.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top