Range anxiety? What range anxiety…
Is owning an electric car a statement or simply good financial sense?
In the beginning it was most definitely the former. Electric cars were expensive, limited in range and thanks to a complete lack of infrastructure impossible to make long journeys in.
To find out if these cars are now living up to our expectations we spent two weeks with BMW’s i3. We drove to work, did the weekly shop and generally found every possible excuse to use it over our own two legs.
To begin with we’ll run though the model we tested. This was a BMW i3 94ah with range extender. That meant that if we drove it in BMW’s COMFORT mode we could, just about, squeeze out a top range of 205 miles.
The first few days…
Getting into the car for the first time you’re struck at just how pleasant everything is. It’s BMW alright, but if BMW lived in California and went to yoga four times a week.
It’s all very minimalist and the cabin itself feels incredibly spacious, despite the small dimensions of the car.
Electric cars are absolutely perfect for city driving, especially small ones like the i3.
Thanks to the i3 having plenty of punch in the acceleration department we found weaving through the central London chaos to be almost, and we do mean almost, enjoyable.
The silence is also something that becomes really hard to give up. The i3’s cabin has just the right amount of sound isolation to make sure that the only thing you’re going to hear is either the gentle whine of the electric motor or the radio. It’s a blissful oasis in a sea of livid cyclists.
The last stretch…
We’re on to the last week week now and despite having driven over what feels like every road hump in London our love for this plucky little car is growing.
The styling continues to be a real winner for us, especially this two-tone fabric against what looks like a black recycled composite. It looks futuristic and yet acutely homely at the same time, like a Bang & Olufsen speaker.
Another thing that’s really starting to dawn on us is that not once have we worried about range anxiety. The car’s range readout is accurate enough that you never feel like it’s suddenly going to steal 5 miles from you.
While an owner will have a charging point installed in their house we couldn’t and so had to rely on a plug socket. Naturally the plug socket was too far away and so for the last two weeks we’ve actually been solely charging the car using what’s available around the city.
The i3 is a superbly built car. It feels and behaves in every sense like a product that is at the top end of what BMW is capable of. The interior build-quality is second to none while the enormous windscreen at the front gives it perfect visibility for city driving.
Its electric motor is powerful and responsive and while the ride itself is a little hard the seats are incredibly comfortable.
The i3 doesn’t feel like an experiment any more, it is simply a BMW that’s electric. Most of this is down to the car while the rest is absolutely down to the fact that we finally have a substantial charging network here in the UK.
Read more: The Huffington Post