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1993 BMW E1 (Z15) Concept Car

The second-generation BMW E1 prototype, known internally as the Z15, made its debut in 1993 at the International Motor Show Germany on September 9, 1993. This iteration of the E1 concept was a significant step forward, featuring both an all-electric version and a hybrid variant. Like its predecessor, the Z11, the Z15 was designed as a compact 3-door city car capable of seating four passengers.


The electric version of the Z15 was equipped with a 19.2 kWh sodium nickel chloride battery, providing power to an electric motor. This setup allowed for a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h). The exterior of the electric Z15 was finished in a distinctive green metallic paint, complemented by a matching green interior.


On the other hand, the hybrid version of the Z15 utilized a 4-cylinder internal combustion engine sourced from the BMW K1100 motorcycle, coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission. This hybrid variant boasted an output of 82 horsepower and was painted red for a striking visual contrast to the electric version. Despite the addition of the internal combustion engine, both versions of the Z15 retained a lightweight body constructed from aluminum and plastic, similar to the 1991 BMW E1 (Z11).


BMW's experimentation with the Z15 also included testing a variant powered solely by a 1.1-liter four-cylinder engine from the K1100 motorcycle. Additionally, the company explored the concept of a gasoline-electric hybrid model, although neither of these prototypes progressed to serious consideration for mass production.


While the Z15 project provided valuable insights into the feasibility of modern electric cars, BMW Technik concluded that significant advancements in battery technology were necessary to make a compelling business case for such vehicles. Despite this, work continued behind the scenes, laying the groundwork for future electric vehicle development at BMW.


Henrik Fisker played a pivotal role in the development of the E1 concept cars. In 1989, Fisker began working at BMW Technik, the company's advanced design studio in Munich. His first project there was the E1 electric concept car. Fisker's design influence can be seen in the futuristic exterior styling of the Z15, which evolved from its predecessor while maintaining its compact dimensions and 2+2 seating configuration. Fisker's design ethos aimed to create a modern and elegant vehicle that reflected the heritage and tradition of the Aston Martin brand.


Overall, the BMW E1 Z15 concept represented a forward-thinking approach to urban mobility, offering innovative solutions for sustainable transportation in an increasingly environmentally conscious world.


Source & Images: BMW; Wikipedia