The BMW EV Concept That You Couldn’t Buy

The BMW e1 was an early ’90s electric car that had been revealed at the International Motor Show in Germany, though there were actually two names for this EV — the first generation was called the Z11 internally, and only later dubbed the e1 when publicly revealed. The concept was a 3-door 4-seater all-electric city car that had been in development since 1990, and it was first introduced in 1991. The automaker designed this vehicle to determine whether an all-electric car would be feasible because California had — at that time — recently required 2% of new cars to be zero-emissions vehicles. Unfortunately, the original BMW e1 caught fire while charging, so it needed to be replaced in order for BMW to continue its research (via BMW Blog).

The replacement for the destroyed car came a couple of years later in 1993 and it was also shown off at the International Motor Show in Germany: the BMW Z15. However, this time the company built two prototypes of the car: one was all-electric and the other was a hybrid. As far as a legacy for the concept is concerned, BMW did produce an all-electric city car in 2013 with the i3, a model that started as a concept car in 2011 but hit the market a couple of years later. Too bad that wasn’t the case with the second-generation BMW e1.

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