These early electrical experiments were the first steps towards electrification

Long road

Mercedes-Benz S123 Electric

The attempts at electrification of passenger cars in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s were cautious steps towards the EV or hybrid. They have been working on it for more than 50 years. But the breakthrough took a long time to come.

BMW 1602e (1972)

Under the hood of BMW’s first electric car you will find twelve standard 12V batteries connected together. The car was used in running events at the Olympic Games in Munich.

BMW 1602e

VAZ 2801 (1976)

VAZ, Lada’s parent company, wanted to show off the electric 2801 at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. 47 units were built, equipped with nickel-zinc batteries that had to be replaced after 150 charges.

VAZ 2801- electric Lada from 1976

Electrovette (1977)

Successor to the Electrovair from 1964, a Chevrolet Corvair with silver-zinc batteries. The electric Chevette works with nickel-zinc batteries. Its 50-kW engine gives it a top speed of 85 km/h and a range of 80 kilometers.

Chevrolet Electrovette

Mercedes-Benz S123 (1982)

The cargo hold houses a huge (extendable) nickel-iron battery pack weighing 600 kg, which you can charge via the socket. The range of 100 km is increased by 50 km by the range extender, a two-cylinder petrol engine.

Mercedes-Benz S123 Electric

Audi 100 Avant Duo (1989)

Just like the Mercedes, not a fully electric car, but a hybrid. The front wheels were operated by a five-cylinder petrol engine, the rear wheels by a (manually switchable) 12 hp electric motor.

Audi 100 Duo

Fiat Cinquecento Elettra (1992)

Fiat not only built an Elettra version of the Panda (1990) but also of the Cinquecento and Seicento (1998). The Cinquecento had batteries under the ‘hood’ and under the rear seat.

Fiat Cinquecento Elettra

GM EV1 (1996)

Further development of the futuristic Impact from 1990. 1,000 consumers tested the car in practice, but after that trial period GM put an end to the program.

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