Electric cars are the new image of the future.
BMWs i3 is the world’s first mass produced electric model designed to be sustainable at every stage, from the development through to the production stage and into daily use. The fully electric car releases zero emissions making it perfect for driving around town. It was awarded Auto Express’s Green Car of the Year award twice in a row.
The car comes in four noticeably different themes to choose from – Standard, Loft, Lodge and Suite – all of which come with bright and stylish seat and carpet trims, mostly made from sustainable materials.
Sprightly electric performance and good handling make the i3 fun
But the BMW i3 is not just your every day green car. It also boasts agility and acceleration going 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds making it 3.2 seconds faster than the Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid. Push your foot down and the car just flies!
BMW claims the i3 batteries can run 80-125 miles depending on your driving style but with the optional range extender this range can be increased to 206 miles. The small, quiet two-cylinder petrol engine switches on automatically when the battery is level is low and powers a generator that maintains the charge of the battery at a constant level, so that the BMW i3 can continue to drive electrically.
A high-set driving position, excellent visibility and light controls help the i3 take crowded city streets in its stride, while the electric motor’s instant response lets you zip through gaps in the traffic with confidence. It is only on winding roads that the i3 feels compromised. The steering is quick and well weighted but the thin tyres can become unsettling if you hit a bump mid-corner. It never feels like it will lose control and the stability control intervenes smoothly, but it’s enough to make you take things a bit easier.
The BMW i3’s economy will depend greatly on the driving you do. Keep the battery topped up and stick to the city, and the 80-mile electric-only range should be plenty. An overnight charge should cost no more than a couple of pounds, while the i3 is currently exempt from road fund licence, Benefit-in-Kind company car tax and the London congestion charge.
Plugged into a domestic socket, the batteries can be boosted to an 80 per cent charge within seven hours, but BMW’s powerful £315 iWallbox charger slashes this time to three hours.
As with most plug-in hybrid and electric cars it is a little pricey even with the Government’s £5,000 Plug-in Car Grant. But even being fully electric and sustainable it still has the prestigious BMW feel of class and elegance unlike other electric cars on the market.
The great thing about this car is compared to the likes of the Nissan Leaf, Opal Ampera-e or the Toyota Pruis the BMW i3 doesn’t feel like someone is cutting corners just to sell you very expensive technology. You get a quirky looking but pleasant to drive car with well laid out interior for a price which puts the non-premium competition to shame.
The car may be full of recycled and sustainable parts but what BMW has achieved with the i3 is to create a car which you do want to drive every day.