Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 07 Mar 2017
If a martian from another planet stepped down to earth and designed an automobile, it would probably look something like this, the BMW i3!
The BMW i3 looks more like a concept car which has escaped into production, rather than a vehicle which you can buy at the moment for your daily commute. It drives like something out of the future as well, owing to the instant electric power which the battery cells deliver and impressive, yet spooky manner in which its springs to life with only a gentle chime delivered through the dash when you fire it into life.
The i3 is available in two variants, you can either get the BEV (full electric drive) model or the REx model which is more of a hybrid electric vehicle owing to its petrol-driven range extending motor.
You notice immediately the blue ring around the BMW logo when you first stop to admire to some of the unique body details of BMW i cars. This blue surround hints at some of the mystery and forward-thinking ideas which have made these vehicles a reality.
Just as the exterior is pretty space-age, the interior of the i3 also looks like as if it has been lifted off a spacecraft. With a premium blend of materials which are 100% recycled, the interior is as green efficient as it is unique. The dashboard has a large piece of open-pore eucalyptus wood, if you have the i3 with the Lodge style interior option (as seen below).
Multimedia and entertainment sources are delivered through a rather conventional BMW iDrive style system with its easy to navigate jog-dial placed ergonomically in the centre of the cabin. The system is offered either as a 6.5″ display or the optional 10″ display and can all be controlled through voice.
I was really impressed with the BMW connected drive services, which displays everything from the current weather report, to the latest news and even BMW’s own concierge services that will book you a seating in your favourite restaurant on-demand. Connected Drive also integrates with your smartphone helps with real-time driving assistance and navigation.
The BMW i3 represents a glimpse into the future of motoring. This wave of electric power and efficiency is enabling us to add a fresh new and very green approach to motoring and it is incredibly refreshing. Though the BMW i3 is not a cheap family car, owing to the fact that there is no conventional motor and drive-train, there is little which can go wrong. This in-turn means that maintaining your i3 in the long-run should prove very inexpensive and hassle free.
To further top this, if you live in the city and you don’t have distances of more than +-120 kilometres to commute on a daily basis, the cost of running the i3 is 5-times less than that of the average family sedan/MPV.
BMW and other major manufacturers are starting to build more quick charge stations in areas that they deem required based on customer feedback and demographics. As this network grows and South Africa’s EV infrastructure broadens, I can only see this technology going from strength-to-strength and many more EV’s on our roads in the near future.
Latest SA Pricing (as at time of article publish)
Standard Model i3 BEV (94Ah) – R597 800
REx Model i3 (Hybrid Electric) – R673 500
Both models come with an automatic transmission as standard and include:
5 Year/100 000 km Motorplan, non-contributing service and maintenance contract; 8 Year/100 000 km High voltage battery warranty & BMW On-Call services countrywide (including: Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland)
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