BMW i3 – BORN ELECTRIC
Say hello to the future of transportation, electric vehicles. I was recently asked if I wanted to experience the BMW i3 for a few days to test out a fully electric vehicle. I naturally said yes as I was so keen to see how it actually all worked and whether or not, it was even fast?
1. Interior and Aesthetics
The actual look of a car is a big factor for me. The interior of the BMW i3 really caught my eye with it’s minimalist and neutral design. The materials used are made from natural fibers; naturally tanned leathers and recycled materials. Making the body and interior of the car sustainable and eco-friendly. I will be 100% honest with you and let you know that I’m not the biggest fan of the shape of the car. It’s a bit too bubble-like for my taste, but that’s because I’m more of either a low sports car fan or an SUV look.
Having said that, I quite like the dual tones and the flow of the windows which gives you a panoramic view. For more on the materials used, you can click on this link here.
While I might not know much about cars, I do know that I like speed. This is evident through my pure joy while riding on the boat in Zambia and when I’m going on road-trips. I honestly didn’t expect too much in terms of power from the i3 but boy was I wrong. From 0 to 100: the BMW i3 manages it in just 6.9 seconds.
The i3 “opens up completely in just the first few metres. Thanks to the engine’s maximum torque of 270 Nm and 135 kW of power. Thrillingly agile and powerful up to a maximum speed of 160 km/h.” – source: BMW.co.za
3. Charging The i3
The front hood, where you usually find your engine, is where you’ll find your charging cables for the i3. You can either charge at a ChargeNow charging station or at your home. It can go from zero to 80% in 40 minutes at a fast-charging DC station (you can find these at most BMW dealerships) or you can plug it in overnight at home via a domestic 230-volt socket. This will take about 10 hours so that’s why it’s best to do it overnight. There are also optional wall boxes which can take 3 hours to charge.
I don’t have to drive far to get to work and don’t do too much driving in the week so for the 4 days I had the i3, I only charged it once and gave it back with a 75% full battery. So if you live close to work and have quick “city” trips, you can go pretty far with the battery power. Plus if you drive it in ECO PRO mode increases the range and generally reduces energy consumption.
You can read more about the different charging stations here.
The entire life cycle of the BMW i3 is constructed around the foundation of maximum resource conservation and sustainability. Driving an electric vehicle like the i3 makes it easier for a person to be more eco-friendly. This is due to the fact that when it’s being driven, it emits no emissions.
Another interesting aspect of the i3 is the regenerative braking from the motor when decelerating. It’s this regenerative braking that adds to the battery. So instead of hitting the brakes all the time, rather just ease your foot off the accelerator.
5. Connectivity At All Times
Man, one of the things I’ll miss most about the i3 is the instant connectivity. As soon as you step in the car, your phone connects. Driving around is linked to a GPS map that shows you traffic as well as speed limits (may or may not need that one the most – oops). A camera for when you’re reversing and park distance control. It has adaptive LED headlights and wireless charging for your phone.
The nearest available charging station is displayed at all times plus your car’s battery level so you can know how far you can still go.
One of my favourite features about the car was the adaptive climate control. If you’re quickly popping into the shops and it’s as hot as it still currently in South Africa, you can cool down the car while you’re out. This can also be controlled through the BMW Connected drive app. What a pleasure!
My Opinion on the BMW i3
As much fun as it was to drive this car around for a few days, and as much as I enjoy the fact that it’s eco-friendly, I just don’t feel South Africa is ready for electric vehicles as of yet. This is due to the fact that a) we have load shedding and b) our electricity is created using coal.
Within the week of driving the i3, my area was hit with 2 major power cuts, meaning we didn’t have power for over 8 hours each time. So I wouldn’t have been able to charge the car at the house. This is separate from the fact that South Africa can’t keep up with its electricity demands and load shedding is a part of our everyday life.
I wish we would implement solar-powered technology more, imagine having solar-powered charging stations all over the country? Then I think electric vehicles would work so well here. For now, however, I think a hybrid would be a better option. I would happily choose the BMW i8 for that – hello dream car! I just need a cool 2 million Rand for it haha.
The BMW i3 starts at around R650,000.00 if you are in the market and you are looking to getting an EV. As much as I liked the car, the fact that they are bringing out a BMW ix3 in 2020 is much more exciting for me as it’s more of a shape I would like. My friend Seth from the Green Living Guy has some info on his page about the 2020 launches in America.
To book a test drive of the BMW i3 – click here. Thank you BMW South Africa for allowing me to experience the i3!