Imagine having a vision. A vision where you completely reimagine the future of mobility and rethink what it means to drive an electric vehicle.
Sounds mind-blowing, right? This vision is now a reality and I got to experience this thanks to BMW South Africa that introduced me to a world powered by performance, design, innovation, and efficiency.
The wonderful team at BMW headquarters and especially Deon Joubert ensured that all aspects of this carbon-fiber/aluminum structure and electric powertrain of the i3 get explained to me in detail. I learned within minutes after fetching the i3 from BMW Auto Atlantic that the i3 has an estimated battery-only range of about 180km. Deon explained to me that the BMW i3 can be fully recharged in just 4.5 hours using a Level 2 charging station which I can find at various points in Cape Town, the closest to me was at the V&A Waterfront. You can get up to an 80% charge in approximately 30-40 minutes by plugging in the charging cables in a normal plug point at home.
The BMW i3’s construction makes it different from any other vehicle I have ever driven, even its big brother the i8.
From its aerodynamic exterior to its innovative interior, this is an electric vehicle that was built to not only perform, but perform smarter. And for the first time ever, it’s available with a power moonroof – how awesome?
The cabin is also different from the standard BMW, looking more like a modern coffee shop with its choice of fabrics and steam-bent wood veneers.
I also learned that the BMW i3’s accelerator pedal not only works in the obvious way of propelling the vehicle forward, it also incorporates the innovative technology of brake energy regeneration. This made my ride over Champman’s Peak super easy and conveniently and came in even more handy driving around Camps Bay and the city during peak traffic periods. Apparently, the pedal converts kinetic energy into electrical energy to further feed back into the battery for added efficiency.
Even though it’s an electric car I loved that the i3 is still a BMW at heart – and the engineers have managed to make it feel surprisingly responsive and responsive for something that’s mostly designed for around-town use. The steering has a consistent, satisfying weight to it and I was amazed at the maneuverability in tight situations; it’s perfectly suited to slipping into a tight parking space.
The most impressive aspect of the car was that it had no engine noise, just a dashboard saying it’s ready to go.
After driving it for a long weekend daily around the beautiful Cape Town, I can’t think of any car which would deserve the name of a “city vehicle” more than the i3.
Would I drive one everyday myself – sure I would!
Article written by Lorinda Voges