BE PART OF THE FUTURE… NOW
The electric car is set to go far. We’re talking about the future of motoring here and, as usual, BMW leads the way, writes Paul Agnew. Photography: Roger Moore
The wonderful BMW i3 is a gem, whether you’re trying to eco-nomise, be eco-friendlier or simply fancy owning a very clever machine.
For many motorists the electric car remains a mystery and for those who always err towards the tried and tested, it could even be seen as a trip into the unknown.
Well, it’s time to put minds at rest – so, hop in and enjoy the ride.
FACT. An electric car saves you money. The BMW i3 costs considerably less to run than comparable petrol/diesel vehicles. Based on 10k miles per annum, we’re talking around £1.5k a year.
FACT. It’s cheaper to maintain too – electric motors have fewer than 20 moving parts and the engine helps by applying the braking system automatically and significantly whenever your foot leaves the accelerator. This all makes for lower maintenance costs against a fossil fuel vehicle.
FACT. There are tax and other financial advantages too with a UK Government grant (individuals) and tax benefits (businesses) for anyone investing in cars of the electric variety. Potential savings of up to £3,500 per vehicle.
FACT. Numerous environmental plusses. Always a considerate manufacturer, BMW has been in the top 20 global most sustainable corporations in the world since 2013. The BMW i3 uses renewable energy in a factory specifically built for this vehicle. The carbon fibre in the car is produced with 100 per cent renewable energy and 25 per cent of the thermoplastics have been replaced with recycled thermoplastics and renewable raw materials.
The extensive use of kenaf in the interior also reduces the weight of the BMW i3. Kenaf is harvested from mallow plants which convert CO2 into oxygen at an above-average rate. The natural seat coverings are breathable and help regulate the temperature between the driver and the seat.
So, if you’re serious about reducing your carbon footprint, the BMW i3 produces half of the CO2 of the cleanest non-electric car on the market.
But what about the drive itself and those niggling issues about so-called ‘range anxiety’? Questions like: Is it difficult to charge? Where do I find a charging point? Will I be stuck if there’s a traffic hold-up? Will the performance fall short of what I’m used to?
First off, the BMW i3’s all-electric motor delivers an astonishingly high level of torque, giving rapid acceleration from 0-62mph in around seven seconds (in fact, it offers the fastest 0-30mph performance in the entire BMW range!). Not just response either, it is an ultra-smooth ride and has an engine so quiet it’s almost silent.
A remote ‘app’ enables ultimate access to the car from your smartphone. You can even set the app to charge your vehicle and pre-condition the interior temperature before your next journey, to maximise battery efficiency.
As for charging… let’s assume that you are a driver with a 20-miles-per-day need. Such demand will use up just 13 per cent of battery and require that you charge only once per week.
A full charge takes about six hours from a home charge point (80 per cent of BMW drivers only ever charge at home) with a public rapid charge taking under an hour.
If you need a top-up when out and about, there are already more than 5,000 charging locations and 17, 000 charging points in the UK.
Our region is well covered – you can even leave the i3 charging while doing the weekly shop (Booths supermarkets have recently installed charging points on some of their car parks).
Oh, I forgot to mention that a charge will see you motoring ‘free from anxiety’ for around 176 miles on the eco setting. Apart from holidays or a particularly long business trip, how many of us do more than that a day?
Driving the BMW i3 – attractive styling, quirky features (the doors open a bit like a James Bond car), responsive handling and surprising speed off the mark – is a delight.
But my view (while hopefully accurate and well considered) is one thing. This is a car you really need to experience for yourself.
So, go on and try it – a single test drive will not only alleviate your concerns but also leave you wanting more.
Why not be part of the future, now?
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