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. 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.