December 17, 2017

BMW i3 review

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How does it work

The BMW i3 displays BMW’s cutting edge electric car technology.  the i3 is a full time electric car, it is the only full time electric car offered by BMW, not to be confused with the i8 witch displays BMW’s ultimate hybrid drive technology.  The standard i3 has a range of about 80 miles, the upgraded i3 equipped with the “range extender” will increase the range to about 160 miles.  The range extender is a gasoline powered generator.  It does not drive the wheels like the i8’s gasoline motor, it’s only purpose is to generate electrical power.  The i3 can function without being charged through an electrical outlet but “will never reach it’s full potential” running on the generator alone.  If you have access to a BMW quick charger, you can re charge the battery to 80% capacity in 30 minutes, normal charging circumstances take about 4.5 hours to give it a full charge.

 

Looks

You’ve seen the pictures, It doesn’t get any better in real life either.  The exterior was without a doubt designed purely with functionality in mind. If you can close your eyes and enter the car without seeing the outer shell, you’ll be met with much more pleasant scenery.  The front doors are large and the seating position is high, but not too high,  The rear passenger doors open suicide style, again leaving plenty of space for your passengers to enter and exit unfortunately,  the backwards opening rear doors mean you won’t be using your i3 for Uber.  The dash board is made from panels made of recycled plastic and beautiful eucalyptus wood.  Production of the dash board is accomplished without any carbon foot print.  The recycled plastic material is an interesting aesthetic texture and also accents other panels throughout the cabin.  Nothing in this car gives a cheap or “econo” feeling.   Looking down below the door panels, you see the same space age carbon fiber frame as the i8.  Driving controls are extremely minimal, there are 2 screens, one above the steering wheel, and one in the center of the dash, everything is easily controlled via the iDrive knob.  Your gear selector is a small ergonomic knob just above the steering column.

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The eucalyptus wood and recycled plastic dash board is beautiful and created with zero carbon footprint.

 

Driving

The nuances of driving an a electric car are just enough to throw you off the first time you try it out.  The engine does not rumble to life when you turn the ignition, and when it’s on it makes no noise.  There is no lurch of gear change when you go from forward to reverse.  Acceleration is silent except for a faint futuristic sounding whine from the electric motor.  Acceleration is smooth and graduated, like you would have in a gasoline motor, only without gear shifts.  Taking your foot off the accelerator gives the sensation of engine breaking ad the regenerative braking system engages and reclaims your momentum to help charge the electrical system.  The i3 claims to have the quickest 0-30 time of any car in it’s class, the 0-60 time is 7.2 seconds, that’s about average with most cars on the road.  You the i3 may not win many drag races, but the 168hp electric power-plant can hold its own in traffic and still muster up good passing power, even above 80mph.  The handling is just what you would expect from any BMW.  Despite it’s tall, narrow frame, the i3’s center of gravity is low, the car easily navigates twisty roads at a spirited pace with great feel and precision.  The i3 is rear wheel drive however, we were unable to test weather or not the electric car could produce a big smokey burnout.  The i3 is a great driving car that really leaves nothing to be desired in the driving category, but in case you still want more, pull up to a parallel parking spot and let the i3 park its self for you in seconds while you sit in your seat and watch!

 

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The column mounted gear selector knob controls your drive/reverse/park modes.

Impressions

The i3 tops it’s competitors in every single way, including price.  A base model i3 starts off at about $41,000, depending on options and trim, the price can go into the mid 50’s.  For a car that can only be used for commuting and short local trips, it’s a little bit of a hefty price tag, you’ll still need another reliable car for traveling.  If road trips aren’t your thing, then the savings you make on gas and maintenance might be worth it.  Electric cars that consumers can buy are a relatively new thing in the world.  The technology and implementation is still very new.  The current choices have made amazing leaps and bounds over anything we’ve seen before.  In 10 years, there will be a newer and even better generation of electrics with more range, more charging options, and (hopefully) better looking cars.

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The suicide rear doors open wide to reveal a spacious comfortable interior

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