Category Archives: i3

BMW i3

New BMW i3 the best electric car this side of a Tesla

Not cheap, but charming, fun and with seriously practical performance and range.

It’s funny how perceptions change. When I was young in a sepia-toned world the drivers who were on the receiving end of most abuse were those behind the wheels of BMWs. Arrogant, aggressive and antagonistic with an addiction to tailgating was the accepted caricature of this firm’s car owners.

Times have changed though. BMW, for all its massive sales success in Ireland in the past 15 years, now has a slightly less combative image, one of classiness and desirability with a little less of the disdain from those unable to afford one.

BMW i3
BMW i3

With the i3, there is the chance for BMW to slip seamlessly into full-on caring and sharing mode. The little electric car has been around since 2014, but had failed to make much of a dent in Irish buyers’ collective consciousness, mostly down to a combination of being small, with a big price tag and, well, electric.

For all the talk of Ireland being a perfect test case for the introduction of electric motoring, few brave souls have taken on the mantle of early adopter. A combination of cost, lack of infrastructure and that ever-present spectre of range anxiety has held people back.

Fortunes

Well, BMW has answered that in part by boosting the range of the i3 to a much more acceptable level. While the lithium-ion battery pack hasn’t been made physically larger, it has increased in capacity, to a very healthy 33kWh (up from 22kWh) and the i3’s part-carbon-fibre structure, light but strong and costing BMW several fortunes to develop, was always there to make the most of any extra range.

In fact, one-charge range climbed to 300km on the European NEDC (New European Driving Cycle), but cognisant that the official test has been thoroughly undermined in the public eye, BMW says 200km is a more realistic day-to-day figure.

So it proves. A writer must write of what they know, so I can only speak of how the i3 performed on my own regular driving cycle, but it is significantly improved.

I was testing the ‘REX’ version, the range-extender, which uses a tiny two-cylinder moped engine and a seven-litre tank of petrol to keep the batteries alive should you run out of charge with mileage still to go to get home. It adds, generally, around 100-120km of extra range, easing many the furrowed brow.

Read more: Irish Times

Untethered and Tethered Charge Points (Image: POD Point)

Choosing a Charge Point

When buying an electric car it is nearly always worthwhile to get a dedicated charge point installed at home.

It’s more convenient than an ‘occasional use’ or ‘granny’ (13 Amp) charge cable because you don’t need to reel it up and put it away each time.

Home Charging a Renault ZOE with a Dedicated Charge Point (Image: Charging Solutions)
Charging a Renault ZOE with a Home Charge Point (Image: Charging Solutions)

It will also be significantly faster because a dedicated charge point can provide more power without the risk of overheating. Also some electric cars, such as the Renault ZOE, don’t come with such a cable and buying one yourself can be very expensive (£500+).

The good news is that the installation of domestic charge points is subsidised by the UK government.

There are 3 decisions to be made when selecting the type of charge point for your car:

  • Tethered or Untethered
  • Connector Types
  • Power Level

 

Tethered or Untethered

There is usually the choice of a ‘tethered’ cable (it is fixed to the charge point) or an ‘untethered’ cable (it plugs into and can be removed from the charge point).

Untethered and tethered charge points (Image: Chargemaster)
Untethered and Tethered Charge Points (Image: Chargemaster)

Untethered has the advantage of allowing different cables to be connected (for example you can use the same charge point for a Nissan Leaf and a Renault ZOE). However, most people choose tethered because it avoids the inconvenience of connecting a cable whenever you need to charge (usually daily). It also reduces the risk of the cable being stolen.

A charge point with a tethered cable will usually cost more than an untethered one (typically about £50 more) because of the cost of its cable.

Untethered and Tethered Charge Points (Image: POD Point)
Untethered and Tethered Charge Points (Images: POD Point)

If you choose untethered you will need to use your own cable to connect to the car; it is the same cable that would be used to connect to a public charging point. It may come free with the car, for example the Renault ZOE or the Nissan Leaf with the 6.6kW charge option come with one. Otherwise you will need to buy one (we can advise you on suppliers).

 

Connector Types

All untethered domestic charge points supplied in the UK come with a Type 2 socket on the charge point, just as all public charge points now have (or at least officially should have) Type 2 sockets. Similarly all charge cables have a Type 2 plug at the charge point end.

If the cable is tethered then you need to tell the installer the type of plug you want at the car end. This will depend on the car:

  • Type 1 socket: Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Kia Soul EV
  • Type 2 socket: Renault ZOE, BMW i3, VW e-Golf and Hyundai IONIQ

The Type 2 or ‘Mennekes’ connector is the official standard in Europe and should eventually replace the Type 1.

 

Power Level

A dedicated charge point can provide higher powers than a typical occasional use charging cable which will run at 10 Amps, equivalent at 230 Volts to 2.3 kilowatts. The charge will take place at the highest power that both the charge point can provide and the car can use.

There are two common power levels:

  • 16A = 3.5kW: This is the maximum charge level of the Nissan Leaf 3.3kW, the Mitsubishi Outlander and the VW e-Golf.
  • 30A/32A = 7kW: This is the maximum charge level of the Nissan Leaf 6.6kW, BMW i3, Kia Soul EV and Hyundai IONIQ. The standard Renault ZOE can use this level, in fact anything up to 22kW.

The higher power reduces the charge time so a typical EV battery will charge in about 8 hours at 16A but in about 4 hours at 32A.

It may be best to install the highest power charge point you can afford; even if your current car can’t use all the power, the next one almost certainly will be able to.

Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Europe – January 2017 (Image: InsideEVs)

Europe: 31% More Plug-Ins Sold In January 2017 – Renault ZOE In Charge

Europe began 2017 with solid growth of plug-in electric car sales, up 31% year-over-year according to the EV Sales Blog report. In total, roughly 19,000 units were sold, which is not only the best January ever, but also one of the better months ever.

Renault ZOE took an early lead with 2,602 sales (up 80 percent) after securing 1st place in 2016.

Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Europe – January 2017 (Image: InsideEVs)
Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Europe – January 2017 (Image: InsideEVs)

In second place was the BMW i3 (1,818), which gives us one way to compare sales of different battery sizes. Renault is seeing better sales of the new 41-kWh ZOE, while i3 continues to sell the 33-kWh i3. Obviously, these cars are quite different, but with EVs, range does matter. And, if BEV sales are so tightly connected to battery pack capacity/range and price, we are eager to see the Opel Ampera-e later this year.

Nissan LEAF keeps seeing strong sales in Europe, taking 3rd place in January with 1,386 sales (up 29%). This EV’s battery increase – from 24 kWh to 30 kWh – wasn’t all that dramatic, and the Japanese manufacturer needs to do more soon. The top three BEVs sold in Europe totaled 5,806 units, which was 30.5 percent of all plug-in car sales. Tesla sold some 819 Model S (#7) and 586 Model X (#11) EVs.

Read more: Inside EVs

BMW i3 Wins Best Electric Car 2017

BMW continues to make headway with its flagship ‘i’ range, with the BMW i3 94Ah having recently won the Best Electric Car in the £20,000 – £40,000 category at the What Car? Car of the Year 2017 awards. The annual awards are the UK motoring industry’s highest accolades, demonstrating just how far the BMW i concept has come since its establishment in 2013.

The BMW i3 94Ah was praised for its 50% improvement on range between charges – now a maximum of 195 miles – as well as for its interior quality, sustainable production values and usability.

The ethos of the BMW ‘i’ range is sustainability to its very core. From renewable energy used in the making of its interior carbon fibre, to the recycled materials used throughout its construction, the BMW i3 spearheads the carbon-free car market.

On a practical level, the BMW i3 now comes with direct current (DC) rapid charging as standard, allowing it to be fully charged in less than 3 hours [edit – this is obviously wrong, BMW mean 40 minutes – the writer must have got confused! Trevor]. With a 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 93mph, the BMW i3 continues to make its mark on the electric car market.

Visit the What Car? Best Electric Car award feature here.

Source: BMW.co.uk

One of the new RRVs which is being trialled by North West Ambulance Trust

Electric paramedic cars could save millions for North West Ambulance Service

A MOVE to electric vehicles is set to save ambulance bosses millions of pounds.

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) will be one of the first ambulance services in the country to introduce electric cars as part of its fleet and is expected to save £2.5 million in fuel costs over the four year lease period.

RRVs are cars that have been converted into emergency response vehicles.

One of the new RRVs which is being trialled by North West Ambulance Trust
One of the new RRVs which is being trialled by North West Ambulance Trust

They are designed to be able to attend emergencies quicker than regular ambulances because they are smaller and can get through traffic more easily.

Although they don’t generally carry patients to hospital, they are staffed by a paramedic who is able to administer life-saving treatment at the scene of an emergency.

Neil Maher, assistant director service delivery support said:

“The trust relies heavily on rapid response vehicles to be able to attend patients as quickly as possible.

“The introduction of these electrically powered cars will not only provide huge cost savings for the trust, it will also have a huge impact on our carbon footprint, reducing the carbon contribution from our RRVs from 1379.28 tonnes to 100.8 tonnes, a reduction of 73 per cent.”

The trust believes maintenance and lease costs will also be reduced with the introduction of the new RRV model, with an overall expected annual saving of over £4,300 per vehicle.

Read more: Lancashire Telegraph

The Pleasure of Public Charging 2

Although our last long trip went well, I was a little nervous yesterday driving from Northampton to London and back as it was to an area, Hammersmith, where I hadn’t charged before. We were headed to the Odeon for an Elbow concert.

I did some pre-planning on Google Maps and Zap-map and spotted parking with charging very nearby at the Novotel hotel, with a couple of alternative locations slightly further away. If all else failed I could always do a rapid charge at a motorway services on the way home; however I wasn’t keen to have to stop if I could avoid it.

Charging the i3 in the Novotel car park (Image: T. Larkum)
Charging the i3 in the Novotel car park (Image: T. Larkum)

I drove the 85 miles down the M1 and along the M4 in EcoPro+ mode to maximise range, using the cruise control set to 60mph. This worked really well and we arrived in the Novotel with the car promising 140+ miles from the charge.

There were no signs for the charge points so we had to trawl the car park for them. We found two on a  wall, with adjacent parking spaces. However there was an Audience A3 e-tron charging in one, and a dino-juice Range Rover Evoque blocking the other.

Reaching the charge cable past the Range Rover to reach the i3 (Image: T. Larkum)
Reaching the charge cable past the Range Rover to reach the i3 (Image: T. Larkum)

Fortunately the i3’s ‘python’ cable was long enough to reach from the next space. We plugged in and with the help of an old Polar RFID card we were soon charging.

Five minutes later we were at the Elbow gig. That was a great success and it felt like a privilege to be there. They put on a fantastic show – with ‘One Day Like This’ in the encore, naturally – and a good time was had by all!

Elbow giving a great performance (Image: T. Larkum)
Elbow giving a great performance (Image: T. Larkum)

After the show we returned to the car to find it almost completely charged (98%). It had cost the usual £3.50 per hour to park, but just £1.20 to fill up the car.

Going home was a blast – with just 85 miles to go and 140 miles range predicted it was nice to put it into sport mode and race home, showing a clean pair of heels to all the fossil-fuel vehicles on the road. Confirming to me, once again, I could never go back to a piston car.

Total fuel cost for the 175 mile journey? About £4, including the charge in Hammersmith.

Selfridges Green Free all-electric BMW i3 Chauffeur Service

Selfridges boosts it’s green credentials with free all-electric BMW i3 chauffeur service

BMW has loaned a fleet of all-electric BMW i3s to Selfridges in Manchester for the next three months as part of the department store’s Material World initiative to encourage consumers to think more sustainably when shopping. Customers can choose to be chauffeured with their shopping free of charge by a BMWi Genius or get behind the wheel themselves.

The store is also celebrating the permanent installation of charging points within their car park as London looks to improve the charging infrastructure in high footfall locations plagued by poor air quality across the city.

As air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate around the world and cities like Paris, Milan and Rome impose driving bans during the worst periods, Manchester is now also being urged by officials to implement similar rules with the possibility of introducing a congestion charge.

Big brands are now taking steps for change including the likes of leaders in sustainable innovation, BMWi and Selfridges. In recent months BMW’s all-electric i range has been used in a range of initiatives across the city to encourage sustainable driving solutions with the likes of DriveNow – the brand’s car sharing service, London’s police force and now as part of a complementary chauffeur service to Selfridges in London and Manchester.

Read more: Female First

BMW i3 in Fluid Black (Image: BMW.co.uk)

New BMW i3 Business Contract Hire Prices

BMW i3 Business Lease Offers

We have new deals available from 22 February for businesses looking to lease the new longer range BMW i3.

BMW i3 'Stormtrooper' (Image: BMW)
BMW i3 ‘Stormtrooper’ (Image: BMW)

We are offering a BMW i3 (94Ah) auto hatchback on 3 year BCH (Business Contract Hire – effectively a long term rental) with either 3 or 6 months of upfront payment on a 3 year term (so ‘3+35’ or ‘6+35’ respectively). As these are business leases, there is no Fuel Included service as standard. However, you do get the usual free car tax (for the BEV version) and congestion charge exemption as well as often free public parking and charging.

These are the current prices (with the lowest ones highlighted):

Battery Electric (BEV)Range Extender (REx)
Payment Terms:6+353+356+353+35
6,000 miles paTBC£279TBC£310
8,000 miles paTBC£286TBC£317
10,000 miles paTBC£294TBC£327
12,000 miles paTBC£306TBC£340
15,000 miles paTBC£317TBC£353
20,000 miles paTBC£340TBC£378
Contact Us

 

The i3 is a very exciting car – arguably the most advanced in the world being 100% electric and the only mass production car made with a carbon fibre frame (plus aluminium chassis and plastic body panels). We have selected news and reviews (and blogging about our own i3) to read here.

A battery upgrade for the BMW i3 sees range almost doubled
The new BMW i3 (94Ah) in the new Protonic Blue colour

A unique feature of the i3 is that it comes in two versions:

  • As a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) – the car just uses electricity from the battery to drive and you recharge it as necessary.
  • With a Range Extender (REx) – as an option the i3 can have a small petrol engine fitted under the boot which recharges the battery when it runs lows on charge.

In both cases we only provide the longer range version of the i3 battery known as the ’94Ah’ (which relates to the specification of the battery cells). Where the previous i3 battery had a range of 70-90 miles this new battery has a range of 120-140 miles. In the case of the REx version (with its engine and 9 litre petrol tank) the total range is over 200 miles.

The other offer terms are as follows:

  • Prices shown exclude VAT.
  • Prices are for a standard car (solid paint, options as listed) – ask us to quote for other options such as automatic cruise control and automatic parking.
  • Maintenance is not included.
  • You get free road tax for the BEV and congestion charge exemption for both versions.
  • While benefits for electric cars are changing, currently you get cheap charging on motorways and many public locations, plus free parking in many town centres and railway stations.
Contact Us
BMW i3 in Fluid Black (Image: BMW.co.uk)

New BMW i3 PCP Prices

BMW i3 Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) Deals

We have new deals available from 21 February for private buyers looking to buy the new longer-range BMW i3.

BMW i3 'Stormtrooper' (Image: BMW)
BMW i3 ‘Stormtrooper’ (Image: BMW)

We are offering a BMW i3 (94Ah) auto hatchback on 2, 3  or 4 year PCP (Personal Contract Purchase – like a lease you can give the car back at the end, but you also have the option of paying a lump sum and keeping it). To keep these prices low, there is no Fuel Included service as standard. However, you do get the usual free car tax (for the BEV version) and congestion charge exemption as well as often free public parking and charging.

These are the current prices for a 3 year term with a deposit of £1250:

Miles Per YearBattery Electric (BEV)Range Extender (REx)
8,000£380£411
10,000£389£421
12,000£399£432
15,000£413£449
20,000£437£476
Contact Us

 

The i3 is a very exciting car – arguably the most advanced in the world being 100% electric and the only mass production car made with a carbon fibre frame (plus aluminium chassis and plastic body panels). We have selected news and reviews (and blogging about our own i3) to read here.

A battery upgrade for the BMW i3 sees range almost doubled
The BMW i3 (94Ah) in the new Protonic Blue colour

A unique feature of the i3 is that it comes in two versions:

  • As a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) – the car just uses electricity from the battery to drive and you recharge it as necessary.
  • With a Range Extender (REx) – as an option the i3 can have a small petrol engine fitted under the boot which recharges the battery when it runs lows on charge.

In both cases we provide the longer range version of the i3 battery known as the ’94Ah’ (which relates to the specification of the battery cells). Where the previous i3 battery had a range of 70-90 miles this new battery has a range of 120-140 miles. In the case of the REx version (with its engine and 9 litre petrol tank) the total range is over 200 miles.

The other offer terms are as follows:

  • Prices shown include VAT.
  • Prices are for a standard car with solid paint, with or without REx – ask us to quote for other options such as automatic cruise control and automatic parking.
  • Maintenance is not included.
  • The excess mileage fee is 8p to 10p per mile, depending on contract terms.
  • You get free road tax for the BEV and congestion charge exemption for both versions.
  • While benefits for electric cars are changing, currently you get cheap charging on motorways and many public locations, plus free parking in many town centres and railway stations.
Contact Us

Jeremy Clarkson builds the case for electric cars

I was running late, but I finally caught up on the last episode of Grand Tour last night, and enjoyed the usual round of sheer irreverence and pointlessness. What I love about Clarkson is that I don’t have to approve of anything, I can just laugh.

However, as a lover of electric cars, I felt trepidation as Clarkson pulled out all the stops to take the mickey out of James May by setting up a petrol Vs electric test designed to make the electric fail (and fail he did missing the whole of the Roger Daltrey gig).

James May with BMW i3 (Image: www.bbc.co.uk)

On the plus side, it set me thinking. Clarkson has a good point which is that an electric car is not the best choice for all situations. It would be a bit like me setting up an off-road race between Clarkson’s beloved Lexus LFA and a Land Rover. The Lexus LFA is great but is just not going to perform across the muddy fields.

When choosing whether to go electric it is vital to think about how you use your car, and how to select the right car to meet your needs. I’d be the first to say that an electric vehicle isn’t always right, but for many cases it is a fantastic choice, and will serve you well and save you money.

So keep enjoying Clarkson – I know I will – but if you want advice on electric vehicles, don’t take it all from a celebrated ‘petrol-head’ playing for laughs. Instead, come and talk with us and explore how to make it work for you.

Please contact us for independent advice on electric and plug-in hybrid cars.