Today, we’re taking a drive through history and looking at some of the best electric cars you never knew existed! While we might think of Tesla or the Nissan Leaf when we think of the first EVs on the market – they’ve been around for a lot longer!
Here’s our top five electric cars that you never knew existed…
BMW 1602 Electric
BMW is known for being quick off the mark when it comes to electric vehicles. Their first pure electric model, the i3, was released back in 2013. At the time, there were only a few other EVs on the market with only the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe as rivals.
Despite this, the brand had been dabbling in electric cars for a long time. Trying to promote themselves as a eco-friendly company, in 1972 BMW unveiled their first modified electric vehicle – the BMW 1602 Electric. They also wanted to prove that the best electric cars could be fashionable and look good.
The vehicle was originally fitted with a 1.6 litre engine. This was taken out and replaced with batteries and an electric motor. According to BMW, the car had a range of just 19 miles and could reach 31mph in eight seconds. Being pretty advanced for the 70s, BMW even designed regenerative braking for the 1602 electric prototype.
Two BMW 1602 Electric’s were actually used as support cars for the 1972 Munich Olympics as it was thought they would be cleaner for the athletes. Despite being ahead of its time, the 1602 Electric didn’t become anything more than a technical exercise for BMW.
Ford Ranger EV
You might be thinking that you’ve definitely heard of this electric vehicle. That’s because Ford recently decided to revamp the electric Ford Ranger to be released later in 2022. However, around 1,500 electric Ford Ranger pickup trucks were built between 1998 and 2002.
Most of these were leased to businesses on the west coast of America and had a range of 60 miles. Pretty much all of these original Ford Ranger EVs were sent back to Ford to be destroyed, but a few of them managed to escape the crusher.
Peugeot 106 Electrique
Yep, back in the nineties the PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen, Chrysler and GM) made an all-electric version of the 106 hatchback, and put it on sale. Rumour has it that the brand expected to sell as many as 100,000 models, but only sold a few thousand in reality. Most of these were to the French Government. Its 206 kg nickel-cadmium battery gave around 50 miles of range and a max speed of 56mph.
Possibly the weirdest story of the lot. Mercedes’ first electric vehicle actually came about after the German Government conducted an EV experiment between 1992 and 1996. The study asked residents of Germany’s largest island, Rügen, to use an electric vehicle as their only car.
As no German manufacturers were producing electric cars at the point, the experiment used prototypes from different brands. The 60 vehicles involved included a BMW E36 3-Series, Volkswagen M3 Golfs and Mercedes 190Es. The cars were fitted with various batteries but the 190E had two 22bph electric motors.
One of the Mercedes 190E test cars managed to cover 100,000km over the course of the experience, which isn’t half bad!
General Motors EV1
Our American readers may be familiar with this one! The first mass-produced EV from a major manufacturer is considered something of a milestone in the history of the best electric cars. In 1996, General Motors built just over 1,000 EV1 models which were leased to residents of California and Arizona for around $400 per month.
Despite huge protests, GM decided to recall the model in 2003 stating that large-scale production wasn’t viable. Most were destroyed, but a few had their drivetrains donated to museums and universities.
Eventually, GM released a second edition EV1 which could do between 100 and 140 miles on a single charge.
The best electric cars for sale
Here at EV Sales, we have some of the best electric cars available for sale! We specialise in both new and used electric car sales across the UK. Our Head Office is based in Strood, Kent, however we can offer UK delivery on all of our vehicles.
At the moment, we have some brilliant second hand electric cars, including a 2018 Renault Zoe and 2019 Tesla Model 3! We also have some brand new electric vans, such as the Vauxhall Vivaro-e and Renault Kangoo.
You can take a look at all of our electric vehicles here, or give us a call on 01634 914 063 for more information. Additionally, you can contact our team of EV experts on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a viewing!
* All information correct as of 04/05/2022.