At the end of last month, BMW purchased advertising space in Times Square to promote the 2023 XM during its debut day. The very same nifty 3D billboard has now served as the immersive venue to highlight how electric vehicles have progressed in half a century of evolution. The famous intersection in midtown Manhattan, New York City had the 1602 Elektro and i4 M50 star in the same commercial to highlight the EV evolution.

For those who are not familiar with the 1602 Elektro, it was BMW’s very first electric car. Developed to serve as a shuttle during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, it was essentially an EV conversion of the 02 Series. Only two vehicles were ever produced, and both served as support vehicles for long-distance walkers and marathon runners. The engineers took out all the oily bits to make room for a dozen of Varta batteries and a Bosch electric motor.

BMW’s original EV carried around 350 kilograms (771 pounds) worth of batteries to feed juice to the rear-mounted electric motor. It did 0 to 31 mph (50 km/h) in 8 seconds and topped out at 62 mph (100 km/h), so it’s safe to say it wasn’t the ultimate electric driving machine. Still, the Munich-based marque had to start from somewhere, right? The range was quoted at 38 miles (61 kilometers) provided the 1602e was traveling at a constant speed of 31 mph (50 km/h).

As for the other car featured in the ad, it’s the recently introduced i4 M50 by KITH. It serves as a follow-up to the 2020 M4 Competition x KITH and comes with custom logos and a unique paint called “Kith Vitality Green.” Inside, the sporty electric Gran Coupe has a full-grain merino leather in tasty Caramel. Only seven cars are going to be sold to customers.

Mind you, this isn’t the first time BMW marks 50 years of EVs as it organized a light show at its headquarters back in August. We’d argue an electric sports car would’ve been better, and it might come further down the line based on a recent teaser image.

Source: BMW USA / Instagram