Electric car dreams: test driving the BMW i3

BMW i3 electric car

BMW i3 electric car


The interior uses a range of recycled materials, and seats four.

We went for a test drive in Brisbane on Saturday, and came away totally dazzled – by the BMW dealership (great coffee, valet parking), the sales service (knowledgeable, enthusiastic, but not pushy), and mostly the car, just wow. :P  It looks so cool inside and out. I got a surprise seeing the tincy-wincy boot, but can now understand why it is so tiny – the engine is totally concealed underneath the boot. The use of the carbon fibre for the passenger compartment was so interesting to see – it is stronger and lighter than aluminium.  Eucalyptus wood was used for the graceful curved dash panel, and the instrument panels/screens have a floating appearance.  The amount of connectivity/fancy screen options was overwhelming, and like the Nissan Leaf, various aspects such as car charging can be controlled by a smart phone when not in the car.
Driving it was so neat, with a turning circle that felt like spinning on a dime, and the oomph and powerful regenerative braking impressed. The exterior quiet hit me when I stopped for some pedestrians crossing the road as I turned into a street, as I could see they hadn’t heard the vehicle at all and were walking along oblivious – a bit of a potential hazard of electric cars, really. Another feature is the thermoplastic body panels which are resistant to car park dings and scratches. At the launch of the car during the G20 meeting in Brisbane last November, a police horse kicked the demo car, but no damage was done!
So, heaps of fun, but not a practical car for our five-person family, and at $70 000 +, just too dear, but seriously impressed. My husband and I decided that there may be a second-hand i3 in our future post-kids.
The salesman said that the Brisbane dealership had sold eighteen of them since the launch in December, with some buyers choosing the model with a petrol range booster, and others pure electric.  Perhaps this will be the car to really help EVs take off in Australia.

About EmpowerRepower

I’m a teacher, former teacher-librarian, ex-volunteer breastfeeding counsellor and mother-of-three living on the Sunshine Coast. I’m concerned about climate change, and feel that the necessary changes to prevent the worst outcomes will rely on action from all sectors of our economy. I’ll be trying to share, promote and encourage that action by finding positive examples in our local community.
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One Response to Electric car dreams: test driving the BMW i3

  1. John Murray says:

    Love the website. Agree with all you say regarding the i3 – My wife and I are fortunate enough to be able to purchased one (kids left home). After 6 months and almost 10,000km this car remains truly exciting to drive. We have taken drives from Brisbane to Sunshine coast, Ipswich, Brisbane Valley, Mt Glorious and are venturing down to Northern NSW for a day shortly via the new Level 2 chargers at Burleigh. But mostly it is just perfect for our around town travel – 95% our driving – powered by sunshine. I think when people buy conventional cars they ignore the back end costs of petrol and maintenance – the ‘Pecuniary Penalties of Petrol’ as I have labelled them used to cost us ~$5000 per year. We are still discovering little features, like the ease of leaving climate control running while you do some shopping – coming back to a perfectly cooled (or warmed) car.

    Regarding the small boot space, aside from folding the back seats right down, I discovered by accident recently that they can move up to be perfectly perpendicular (90 degrees) with the boot floor instead of reclined into the boot space. This means, a larger boot wherein I can fit both my rather large guitar amps without folding down the back seats. This car challenges so many assumptions about how a car should be. Almost every item of design seems to have a good practical purpose, with perhaps the exception of the suicide doors, that can be very useful in one way but awkward in small spaces.

    What is clear is that we will not be going back to the infernal combustion engine, with all their noise, harshness, vibration, expense, and pollution.

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