BMW i3. A step in the right direction.

Recently TVG was invited to view the innovative new BMW i3 at Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay dealership. The car, which looks about 20 years ahead of its time, is far larger and more impressive than I had imagined. A very nice gentleman named Shane showed me around the i3 and once he’d opened the suicide doors I knew I was standing in front of a special car, one that would be at the forefront of changing consumer’s perceptions about electronic vehicles.

The i3 is loaded with renewable ‘eco-friendly’ features, from its eucalyptus dash, recycled plastic exterior trim, climate-active wool and zero CO2 emission status. The innovative carbon “Life” frame boasts supreme rigidity and allows for the pillar-less door design which creates an unexpectedly large cabin, suitable for 4 tall adults.

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Surely there’s a catch then? Well long distance hauls is certainly the first but BMW have marketed this as a ‘city’ car so that’s to be expected. BMW is claiming up to 160km range from its 450-pound, 22-kilowatt-hour battery which propels the i3 from 0-100km/h in 7.2secs. The car takes 8 hours to charge from the socket on your garage wall however this can be halved with the installation of the BMW i Wallbox. For a premium the i3 can be ordered with a built-in fuel-powered ‘range extender’ generator located under the rear of the car. The motorcycle-sourced 650cc engine only generates electricity to run the car’s electric motor and can extend the range up to 340km.

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As a package the i3 is a real treat, practical and aesthetically pleasing. It promotes sustainability and innovative design, and with its high-torque electric motor and rigid chassis is a pleasure to drive (as I’m told by Shane!). For gadget lovers it’s a car with plenty of appeal, delivered with an App that allows the driver to monitor range and charging process as well as adjust the cabin temperature before getting into the car – perfect for hot summer days!

I’ve never been an advocate for electronic vehicles and as a serious enthusiast my love for petrol super cars will never falter but this i3 impressed me immensely and I think once they hit Australian roads, will impress both the environment and everyone who has the pleasure of riding in one.

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James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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