A particularly prominent aspect of BMW’s forward-thinking design philosophy these days has been eco-friendly and fuel-efficient engineering. From electric motors to carbon fibre chassis, let’s take a look at a few examples throughout the past 40 years.
Their First Electric
BMW was working on an all-electric design as early as 1969. The result of their efforts was the 1602e, which debuted in Munich at the 1972 Olympic Games. It could recharge upon braking, but was limited by the sheer weight of the battery pack, which was little more than twelve lead-acid batteries packed together under the hood and weighing in at over 700 pounds. BMW was nonetheless determined to continue developing electric vehicle design strategies as eagerly as the improvement of battery technology would allow them to, following up with the LS Electric in 1975.
Oil and the 3 Series
From the OPEC oil embargo in 1973 to the Iranian revolution in 1979, the 70s were racked with political tension in the Middle East that lead to gas shortages and skyrocketing prices. As well as many aspects of the automotive industry, the fuel crisis ended up influencing BMW’s design of the 3 series. By the mid-late 1980s, an “e” at the end of the model number came to mean that you were getting the variant with the most optimized fuel economy. The “e” itself referred to “eta”, a letter in the Greek alphabet often used to signify efficiency. 1985’s 325e offered 28 miles to the gallon, pretty impressive for the time. The 325 would later be subject to continuing electric experimentation with the 325iX from 1987 to 1990 and the BMW Electric from 1992 to 1997.
Recent and Future Efforts
After further experimental models, not to mention the launch of the i3 and i8 in 2013 and 2014, BMW now contains all plug-in hybrid vehicles under the “iPerformance” designation. The recent 740e and 330e, for instance, combine a 2.0 litre turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. BMW’s development of electric and hybrid cars is as varied and ambitious as ever, exploring lightweight carbon fibre design, eDrive technology, and more. With everything from commuter hatchbacks like the i3 to futuristic concepts like the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, they’ve come a long way from that sluggish 1602e!
However high-tech your BMW is, taking care of it should always be a top priority. Give Motorwerkes a call at (403) 768-3169 to make sure it’s in the most qualified hands!