The Electric 02

New images taken by me on the Bavaria Tour June 2016 trip;



How things have changed, or maybe they haven’t? In 1972 the year of the Munich Olympics BMW supplied two Inka Orange 1600-2 (there was a small fleet made for testing) for the opening ceremony and used as steward’s vehicles for the marathon and other long distance walking events. However, these were no ordinary 02’s, they were Electric vehicles.


Above; No Fuel and Temp gauge here

Below; “Gear Lever” Joystick replaces the convential gear level. Forwards and Back only directions


BMW collaborated with Varta and Bosch, twelve 12v starter batteries were installed in the engine bay weighing 772lbs (350kg) that powered an electric motor that was good for 37 miles (70 km’s) driving at a constant 31 mph (50 kph). Where the gearbox was normally mounted a DC-Shunt wound motor weighing 85kg was installed the drive shafts were directly connected to the rear axle via a reducing gear, the cars speed was restricted by a pulse generator also developed by Bosch.

The electric 02 had no clutch or gearstick, only an accelerator controlled the cars motion. A lever was installed that could switch between forward and reverse drive.

Below; as not heater the 02 had to have heated side windows


Obviously the car had no exhaust system and you could say “Zero emissions”. In place of the clock a gauge showed the remaining range left. All the electronics were installed in the boot and interior heating was provided by of course an electric fan. Interestingly the two front side windows were also electrically heated, but using these would serious limit the cars overall range.

“Where’s the Engine?” – Lead acid cells replace the combustion M10 straight four cylinder engine;


Below; Capacitors and electrical kit replaces fuel tank in boot


Below; orignal lead acid cells from achive photo



Below; Kidney grill hinges down to reveal plug to recharge car overnight and between trips

1602 front grill

Each car weighed an almighty 1331.5 kg’s and could reach a top speed of 90 kph, but properly took hours to reach it. Both cars still wore the “1600” badge on the rear panel and hidden behind the front centre kidney grill was the socket to charge the car. 

Nearly 40 years later and BMW have made another electric car – the new Mini, call that progress?