I’ve been waiting for an electric car to come along that will tempt me to book a test drive. The BMW i3 has succeeded having just booked a test drive at the end of this month as part of BMW’s UK electric tour. In this post I give the reasons why I booked a test drive and why I think this car could potentially be the one car that turns me from away from petrol to electric.
This is my first step in looking to own an electric car which means embracing both change and innovation. Having to never buy petrol again would be my number one reason for buying an electric car. BMW reckons you can fully charge an i3 for less than £2. Try driving a petrol or diesel car 100 miles for £2!
First and foremost, speed is important. The BMW i3 will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in just 7.2 seconds! Pretty impressive for an electric car. The electric motor of the i3 delivers 125 kW/170 hp with a torque of 250 Nm. The full torque is instantly available from a standstill which is a feature of electric motors and doesn’t need to be built up first through engine speed, as it does with combustion engines. This makes the BMW i3 particularly agile, with impressive acceleration. Equally impressive is what BMW claim to be a ‘nearly silent driving experience’. Top speed is limited to 93mph which of course is plenty given the maximum speed limit in the UK is 70mph!
The BMW i3 is emission-free so you’ll be doing your bit big time for the environment.
When we talk about electric cars, one of the first questions that’s inevitably asked is “how far can it go?” The BMW i3 boasts an impressive real-world range of 80 to 100 miles. Add another £3,150 to the basic £25,680 purchase price and you get the range extender i3, with a 650cc rear-mounted motorcycle petrol engine that acts as a generator for the battery, and which pushes the range to a maximum of 186 miles on one (9-litre) tank.
The i3’s sustainable design makes it the perfect vehicle for many different environments. Driven by pure electric power, customised for sustainable transport, it is the perfect embodiment of intelligent travel. Every detail has been optimised to create an integrated concept where every component plays its part perfectly. Just one glance at the dynamic exterior and the spacious interior tells you everything you need to know.
5. More Space
Open all the doors and you can look right through the whole car. There’s no transmission tunnel so the floor is flat contributing to a sense of airiness. The battery is stored in the floor of the Drive Module, so there’s no transmission tunnel to divide the space, leaving more space for you and your passengers. Inside, the carbon fibre Life Module feels innovative and futuristic.
6. Sustainable Materials
The interior of the BMW i3 features the use of natural, sustainable materials, including KENAF fibres in the door panels. This fast-growing member of the cotton family is particularly sustainable. With a characteristic fibre structure, which remains visible after processing, it quietly emphasises the premium nature of BMW i. Our designers have also developed a completely naturally-tanned leather, using olive leaves, that offers the outstanding quality and feel you expect from BMW.
Along with the use of natural materials, 25 percent of the plastic used in the interior comes from recycled material or renewable resources. All the seat textiles on the seats are created from up to 100 percent recycled fibres.
The energy supply that drives the car, as well all the other vehicle functions, is provided by a specially developed high-voltage lithium ion battery, which sets new standards in terms of energy efficiency. The intelligent heating/cooling system ensures that energy performance (and, in turn, the vehicle’s range) are less affected by temperature fluctuations than you would expect with batteries of this type. This makes a significant contribution to both the performance and service life of the cells. The BMW i3 comes with an 8 year/100,000 mile high-voltage battery warranty as standard, along with the 3 year unlimited mileage vehicle warranty.
The battery can be fully charged in up to 8 hours with the supplied charging cable. By using the i3’s standard 32Amp AC Fast Charging, common in home charging and public charging solutions, charging time of the i3 can be reduced to less than 3 hours (0-80%).
8. Charge at home
The most obvious difference when you first own an electric car should be the change in your fuelling habits. You’ll find that charging quickly becomes an intuitive routine. With 360° ELECTRIC, you can always rely on your new BMW i3, thanks to the portfolio of products and services that provide easy and convenient charging.
Using the cable provided, you can charge the high-voltage battery from a conventional socket. For regular fast charging we recommend the BMW i Wallbox as a convenient home solution. With the BMW i Wallbox Pure, AC fast-charging can take less than 3 hours (0-80%). For rapid charging, the optional DC rapid-charge function is the perfect solution for the BMW i3. Charging up at suitable public DC rapid-charge stations for example, takes less than 30 minutes (0-80%).
9. Charge at work
BMW customers can access flexible and time-saving charging options in public locations, car parks and city centres.
The BMW i Navigation with BMW ConnectedDrive fitted as standard, allows the BMW i3 to display the nearest charging stations and their availability in real time, including them in your navigation route if required. So you can easily find one of the fast-expanding network of public charging stations to top up your battery and your BMW i3’s fast charging capability can take full advantage of their 32Amp offer for charging in less than 3 hours (0-80%).
The BMW i3 is the first fully online all-electric vehicle, thanks to its bespoke range of BMW i ConnectedDrive solutions for electric vehicles. The BMW i Navigation with range assistant and display of charging stations will show you the most efficient route to your destination.
The BMW i Remote App brings your BMW i3 to your smartphone. And thanks to the BMW TeleServices, your BMW i Service Authorised Workshop is always up-to-date on your service needs.
All i3s get as standard:
- DAB radio
- iDrive Touch
- Cruise control
- BMW Business Navigation
- BMW Online
- BMW Apps
- Advanced ConnectedDrive.
11. Neat Navigation System
BMW i3’s Navigation system with BMW i ConnectedDrive Services has been specially developed to make driving as easy and convenient as possible. At the heart of the BMW i Navigation is the range assistant with dynamic Range Map.
This clearly displays the maximum distance that the vehicle can achieve in all directions from your current location. The intelligent Range Map dynamically updates based on a number of factors including:
- your current battery charge
- traffic conditions
- terrain of the route
- variable distance depending on the driving mode that is selected.
12. There’s an App for it!
Yep there’s app for this car, namely the BMW i Remote App for iOS and Android. With this app you can get detailed information about the current status of your BMW i3 at any time. This includes range display, battery condition and level of charge, service messages and also the vehicle’s location. With Charge Control, charging at the charging station can be started or ended remotely. The climate control of the interior cabin and the high-voltage battery can be activated before the journey from your smartphone so that the BMW i3 is already at the ideal temperature when you get into the vehicle while the high-voltage battery’s performance is optimised. The BMW i Remote App also supports route planning. Important destinations, available charging stations for example, can easily be sent to the vehicle before you start your journey. Impressive tech!
A special safety concept was developed for the BMW i3, tailored for electric vehicles. The exceptionally strong vehicle passenger compartment is made of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) and offers protection for the high-voltage lithium ion battery, which is optimally positioned in the Drive Module, safe from the outside world. Innovative driving assistant systems help you make the right decisions. And, in case of emergency, there’s a wide range of services to help you to stay safe.
A range of innovative driver-assistance systems in the BMW i3 not only make driving a pleasure but also make parking worry-free. With the optional Driving Assistant Plus, the BMW i3 will warn you before a potential collision happens and can automatically maintain speed and distance in city traffic and traffic jams. The Park Assist option makes easy work of parking.
14. Gearless – instant response
The i3 is electric and gearless, so it’s instant to respond, makes almost no noise doing so and just keeps on responding. There are no gear shifts to worry about.
15. Cheaper than you think
Last but certainly not least is the price of the BMW i3 which starts at £25,380. This is when your factor in the government’s £5,000 grant for electric vehicles. £25,000 is cheaper than I thought this car would be when you consider all the technology, including the radical carbon fibre construction. And how much will you be saving each year not buying petrol?