As we continue to progress into the new electrified era of transportation, many enthusiasts continue to fear the rise of monotonous and mundane machines that may threaten the joy of driving. Although the community cannot control the creations that will come from big-name manufacturers, some enthusiasts have realized their role in what’s on the horizon, and how they work can influence the future symbiosis of electric technology and innovative design.
While we all have our own favorite model, or decade, of BMW, 2020 may not be a standout on everyone’s lists—which is why the community has been set on changing that notion with recent fan concepts, including those like Naoto Kobayashi’s i2002 rendering, which follows in the footsteps of the recent restomod design wave.
David Obendorfer, a designer who has worked for Officina Italiana Design of Mauro Micheli and Sergio Beretta for twelve years, is here to challenge the stale, humdrum personality for which electric vehicles are often stigmatized. Each of Obendorfer’s digital creations aims to “reconstruct the continuity” of automotive styles that may have been interrupted previously, with the end goal of “telling stories of the past in contemporary language.” And his modern revitalization of BMW’s 1972 1602 Elektro-Antrieb is certainly no different.
Obendorfer’s 02 Reminiscence Concept focuses on bringing BMW’s electrified design history full circle, with the finished rendering paying homage to the BMW’s first EV concept, the 1602 Elektro-Antrieb—or 1602e for short. Presented at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, the 43-horsepower coupe, powered by a single electric motor, boasted a then-impressive all-electric range of nineteen miles—one more than the all-electric range of the i8—a figure that was limited thanks to a 771-pound battery array.
While Obendorfer used roughly the same dimensions of the modern 2 Series, the finished model belongs to neither the F2X generation nor the original 02 Series, but rather acts as a bridge between the two. His original idea was not to “bring back all the characteristic 02 Series’ design features at any cost, but rather build a respectful reinterpretation, and above all to keep it simple,” says Obendorfer—a goal that he has accomplished brilliantly.
There’s something refreshing about the uncomplicated nature of Obendorfer’s creation. Perhaps it’s the rounded shape, clean body lines, and classic box-wedge design that is reminiscent of BMW’s earlier design language. The filled-in, pop-out dimensionality of the grille also conveys Obendorfer’s priority of communicating zero emissions without any unnecessary styling cues or any other gimmicky features of today, sharply contrasting with the latest oversized-kidney design trend.
The designer also allowed us a glimpse inside of the reinvigorated EV concept, which features a minimalistic interior that uses what appears to be an all-encompassing screen setup that is based on the current iDrive generation. Smooth lines connect the dash to the driver-centric instrument display screen, which is placed behind a three-spoke steering wheel reminiscent of the original 2002. Though simplistic to some, the 02 Reminiscence’s interior bears roughly the same level of complexity as the Tesla Model 3, a design that has been relatively well received by consumers.
While BMW has their hands full at the moment as they prepare for the 2021 release of the highly-anticipated iNext, we wouldn’t mind them taking note of the “less is more” approach of some of these recent projects. Yes, it is unlikely that we will ever see a production run of an EV like the 02 Reminiscence, but David Obendorfer’s creativity will certainly not go unnoticed; the wave of restomod will continue strong.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy David Obendorfer.]