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BMW 1602 Electric (1972): Specifications
Motor: DC shunt-wound motor (Bosch)
Continuous/peak output: 12 kW / 32 kW
Energy storage: 12 lead-acid starter batteries (Varta)
Capacity: 12.6 kWh
Weight: 350 kg
Top speed: 100 km/h (62 mph)
Acceleration 0-50 km/h (31 mph): 8 sec
Range in city traffic: 30 km (19 miles)
Starting in 1969, BMW constructed two experimental vehicles on the basis of the BMW 02 Series with the aim of investigating the suitability of an electric drive unit for practical driving. The place of the manual gearbox was taken by a DC shunt-wound motor with a peak output of 32 kW that had been developed by Bosch and whose power was directed to the rear wheels via the intermediate gearing and prop shaft. A thermostat-controlled 140W radial fan took care of cooling. The 85-kilogram electric motor drew its power from 12 standard 12V lead-acid batteries from Varta, which were positioned on a pallet in the engine bay.
The battery pack weighed in at a hefty 350 kilograms, although it could be removed as a single unit and replaced with a freshly charged pack. The BMW 1602 Electric accelerated from standstill to 50 km/h (31 mph) in eight seconds and achieved a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). It had a range of around 30 kilometres (19 miles) in city driving and double that when driving at a constant 50 km/h (31 mph). For test purposes, BMW decided to deploy the prototype vehicles at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where they were used as support vehicles for the marathon, amongst other tasks. Even back then the electric motor doubled as a generator, allowing the energy produced during braking to be stored in the battery (regenerative brake). It nevertheless quickly became apparent that the specific drawbacks of the electric drive could only be resolved by advances in the field of battery technology. In light of this, the BMW 1602 Electric was seen as just a first attempt at development rather than a viable solution.