Road test: Joel Feder takes the BMW i3 electric car for a spin (video)

BMW i3
Screen capture Youtube

The nice people at Green Car Reports got their hands on a BMW i3, and took it for a drive. Their road test review is, in my opinion, the most interesting one of this EV that I've seen, and I encourage you to check it out (below) and to read their piece.

One notable thing about the i3: with an EPA rating of 124 MPGe, it's the most efficient car sold in the U.S.

The BMW i3 is powered by a lithium-ion battery. BMW claims a real-world range of 80 – 100 miles (130 - 160 km) in everyday driving, something that can be increased by up to approximately 12% in ECO PRO mode, and by the same amount additionally in ECO PRO+ mode.
Here's the full list of tech specs:

-170-hp, 184 lb-ft hybrid-synchronous electric motor with max. revs of 11,400 rpm.
-80-100 mile real-world EV range.
-22-kWh lithium-ion battery, which weighs 450 lbs.
-650cc gasoline powered Range Extender optional; holds charge, doesn’t power wheels.
-0-30mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-60mph in approximately 7.0 seconds (preliminary).
-Top speed of 93 mph, electronically limited to preserve efficiency.
-BMW’s signature, near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution.
-Ultra-tight turning radius (32.3 ft), which is ideal for city driving.
-Macpherson strut front and 5-link rear suspension set up.
-Single Pedal Driving Concept with Brake Energy Regeneration, which feeds power back into battery.
-3 drive modes: Comfort, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+.
-3 hour 220 V @32 amps charging time.
-Optional SAE DC Combo Fast Charging allows for 80% charge in 20mins; 100% in 30 mins

Warning: A bit of a rant...

The i3 is a bit of an oddity, in my opinion. It suffers from a syndrome that most established carmakers suffer from, and it's 'nicheitism'. They look at electric cars and think "oh, that's a nice little niche. Let's put something cute together! These eco-minded people like small, weird cars, right? Let's give them exactly what they want."

Thinking like that is a mistake. The attitude that they should have instead should be: "Electric cars are the future. They're more efficient, more powerful, quieter, have simpler drivetrains, etc. Batteries are getting better and cheaper every year. If you look at the trend, at some point gasoline won't be able to compete, so we need to get started right now to make the transition successfully." This would lead them to throwing everything they have at making the very best car that they can possibly make, which would just happen to be electric, appealing to the largest number of people.

So BMW might make an all-electric 3 or 5, and Nissan might make an electric Altima, Ford an electric Fusion, etc.

I don't mean to be too negative. I like that BMW took a chance and built an EV from the ground up, and there's a lot of really forward-thinking in the i3 (including the fact that there's a drop in range-extender). But I would like to see more EVs aimed squarely at the mass-market, rather than at small niches (or worse -- compliance cars made just because regulators, like California's, require them).

© 2014 BMW i3 electric car

For more on the BMW i3, check this out.

And for a second opinion, check out this early drive of the i3 back when it first came out:


Tags: Electric Bikes | Electric Cars


treehugger slideshows