BMW Does Electric in Style!

This past weekend I attended the #SpringInTheCity luxury showcase, which was held at the Auto Bavaria BMW showroom in Midrand and and hosted by Luxuria Lifestyle. The showcase featured a bunch of luxurious brands, there was bubbly and sushi going around, an amazing fashion show, but all I wanted to do was see the cars! Let me introduce you to the BMW iRange, which includes the fully electric BMW i3.

I’ve always been intrigued by electric cars, but it wasn’t until I got to actually drive the BMW i3 in May this year that I truly fell in love with it. To be honest, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight – the i3 looks like a little spaceship, it’s not very big and it doesn’t look like your typical BMW, but it does have a definite sporty vibe about it.

i3 Interior

On the inside the i3 is minimalistic and clean, which makes it feel pretty spacious. There aren’t too many buttons and controls to confuse you, which is great. It doesn’t have a control panel that stretches from the dashboard to the floor, which makes for great legroom in front.

The i3 is built around the idea of sustainability and 95% of the car is recyclable!

The interior is made from a range of recycled materials, carbon fibre, plant fibres etc. That also means that you don’t get leather seats in any of the models – if that kind of thing is important to you.

The specific car I drove had a light and airy beige interior, but there are quite a few interior design options to choose from when buying an i3.

Why Electric?

Now, let’s get to the important stuff – the fact that it is an electric car and therefore uses no fuel whatsoever. For i3 drivers, this means goodbye ever-increasing fuel prices, goodbye smelly emissions, goodbye engine sounds and hello instant power! The best and most exciting thing about electric cars (for me) is that all of the car’s power is immediately available – all you have to do it put your foot down!

The BMW i3 can go from 0 – 100km/h in 7.3 seconds, which is not something you would expect when seeing this little car for the first time. The sensation of accelerating so fast without any engine sound is strange at first, but quickly becomes addictive!

The first question people have when I tell them about the BMW i3 is, “But where do I charge it?” And the simple answer is “at home”.

Charging Your i3

Actually, there are three charging options for the i3. Yes, you can charge it with a normal plug in your garage – this is the easiest, most convenient and cheapest way to charge your car, but it is the slowest. To charge from 0 – 80% takes around 10 hours. BMW can install an iWallbox in your garage (at a cost of course) which will speed up charging and 0 – 80% will then take only 3 hours.

The third option is to charge your car at a DC public charging station, which would take around 45 minutes to charge from 0 – 80%. These chargers can be found at most BMW dealerships, some shopping centres, petrol stations and a few other locations. There are companies who are working hard to get even more public charging stations up and running to make “filling up” your electric car as easy as possible.

With a full charge the BMW i3 can drive about 260km, but if you drive economically you could get to around 300km’s or more! A very cool thing about the i3 is that the battery charges every time you brake!

i3 Options

The i3 range includes the standard i3 and i3s. The i3s has a little bit more power and is, therefore, a little faster than the standard model. You also have the option of adding a range extender (REX) to any of the models, which adds a small petrol engine to the car which will kick in to save battery power and therefore make it possible to drive further without having to worry about charging.

The BMW i3 range:

  • BMW i3 120Ah – R658 500
  • BMW i3 120Ah REX – R740 700
  • BMW i3s 120Ah – R716 900
  • BMW i3s 120 REX – R799 100

After the few hours I spent with the electric BMW i3 I was hooked. I love the way it looks and I love the way it drives. I’ve been telling everyone about it ever since, and encouraging them to go electric – I haven’t been very successful, but I will keep trying!

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Martin Gouws
Martin Gouws

Car Editor

Martin is a TV production person and has been working in the Afrikaans TV industry for 5 years on a number of different productions. He also has a love for cars and has recently started doing his own video car reviews under the name HeyGouwsie! He has a natural creative streak and an eye for details which makes for a great combination.

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