The first production version of the electric BMW i3 is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in Leipzig late this year.

It’s been quite a journey.

You can trace the origins back to the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where the Bavarian marque’s starting lineup included two modified, electrically powered BMW 1602s as transport for the members of the organizing committee, support and camera cars in various long-distance events.

With massive batteries and a short range, they were a long way from production.

Forty years, in fact.

Here you can see the full evolution of electrically powered test models and concept cars that led up to the i3′s historic debut, lined up at BMW HQ in honor of the occasion.

Not a bad way to celebrate…