Newly appointed Managing Director tests the BMW i3

1. You’ve never had an electric car, how did you find it to charge?

It was really easy to charge, though it was a wee bit strange carrying a lead around! You know when I think about it I initially thought it was a bit of a palaver having to plug it in but then I realised that when I fill my car up at home I have to take a 0.5 mile detour! I think I read somewhere that the average person fills up their car every 3 weeks, and in many cases (mine for example!) even more frequently, therefore buying the BMW i3 will reduce the hassle factor of visiting the petrol station; simply charge it while your car sits in the drive way! So for me charging at home is more convenient than going to the petrol station! I guess that will be the same for people like me who live in rural areas which might be a wee bit of a surprise to some who maybe think the i3 is a ‘City’ car.

The BMW i3 has a range of up to 193 miles and I hear that the average distance between charging points in the UK is 3.8 miles so there should never be any need to worry about running out of charge. Of course it is right that the UK has a growing network of public charging stations.

2. What’s it like to drive and how great is the acceleration and the ability to not need the brake? How quiet did you find it?

Shhhhhhh........! Very quiet! I could even hear myself sing! The BMW i3 is impressively quiet. On a more serious note though pedestrians don’t hear you coming. So we need to think about this. Remember the saying ‘Stop, Look and Listen’

To drive? Really pleasant. Quick, smooth, extremely responsive, the i3 has 170bhp and as the experts call it, 250Nm of torque and has the ability to reach 0 to 62mph in an impressive 7.3 seconds, so you’ll find it hard to resist embarrassing petrol and diesel cars away from the lights. Automatic slowing when you take your foot off the accelerator is just brilliant when on country roads. It means that there is no ‘jerkiness’ when you brake then put your foot down as you go round the corner. The BMW i3 captures the energy it generates due to its regenerative braking system. It’s this that slows the car down by simply lifting your foot off the accelerator pedal.

3. How comfortable is the car and what about the technology within the car?

I love the technology, including the BMW’s I Navigation which kept me up-to-date with my current charge status, which I was watching like a hawk and even made me aware of the closest charging point to my current location when I was running low. The BMW i3 model is overflowing with innovative features such as numerous digital services and driver assistance systems.

The 10.25” infotainment display is easy to use and contains Media, Communication, ConnectedDrive, My Vehicle, Messaging and Navigation. Surprisingly, I found myself taking the high moral ground - all those polluting cars/vans! The BMW i3 produces zero driving emissions, which is remarkable, compared to, say the Mercedes A Class which produces 126g/km. I even smiled when I saw the wind farms! Not only is the i3 100% electric, it is partly built with recycled materials and is produced on a factory line powered 100% by wind turbines. I honestly hadn’t realised this until I made mention of my sudden warmth towards the wind turbines! The BMW i3 is classed as a category 1 electric vehicle, meaning customers can receive a £3,500 government grant towards the cost of purchasing a BMW i3.