BMW, like most other manufacturers in the automotive industry these days, is entering a new phase. Electric cars seem to be the way forward, together with highly autonomous driving functions. Hydrogen-powered alternatives are also on the map and we will hear more on that soon from BWM.

The road to a pure, emissions-free production line has been challenging, that’s for sure. In their latest commercial, BMW USA is proudly taking a look back at the attempts that the company worked on way before the EV craze took over the world.

The most inspiring one is, without a doubt, the BMW 1602 Elektro. It was their first attempt at making a pure electric vehicle, based on the popular BMW 02 Series, the 1602, to be more precise. The car had a 772 lbs pack of batteries under the bonnet (12 lead-acid batteries) and an electric motor powering the rear axle.

The combined efforts of those poor 12 batteries allowed the car to cover about 30 kilometers (19 miles). Furthermore, the BMW 1602 Elektro was used as a support vehicle for marathons back at the 1972 Olympics.

That was a bold move in the 1970s and one that wanted to show people were not dependent on oil as a crisis was unfolding. Years later BMW created the Hydrogen 7 model, which is also featured in the video below. It was based on an E66 BMW 7 Series but, unlike any production model, it used a bivalent engine. What that means is that, even thought the Hydrogen 7 had the same engine as a 760i, its powerplant could run on both gasoline and hydrogen.

2007 BMW Hydrogen 7

Both these projects were really bold, but now we must look to the future. Most people think electricity will power cars moving forward, but some are still looking at hydrogen as a good alternative. Whichever will become victorious in the future it’s becoming pretty clear conventional petrol/diesel engines are on their way out.