Up until now I’ve always seen electric vehicles as worthy work horses, but not necessarily very practical and not very aspirational. I love the idea of electric vehicles, but I’ve not been convinced that an electric car would work for us on a practical, day to day level. Technology has been moving on apace though and the infrastructure to provide you with top ups on the move is really developing fast now.
Being a city dweller, my idea of a car is one that looks good, that’s responsive, easy to park, easy to drive and one that is comfortable even if I get stuck in heavy rush hour traffic. BMW have an enviable reputation and they can build a car that delivers that sort of performance and comfort, so the idea that there is now a BMW electric car is very appealing to me.
BMW i is BMW’s new concept focused on delivering sustainable mobility. Think of electric vehicles with inspirational design and vehicles that deliver premium comfort and performance with strong sustainability credentials. And it’s exciting too with innovative cars like the fully electric BMW i3, designed with urban motoring in mind, and the BMW i8 Concept, which represents the future of the sports car in a sustainable world.
As you’d expect from BMW they haven’t just considered how the car actually moves and is powered, but they have looked at the whole design to create cars that embrace premium sustainability. The passenger cell is made from carbon fibre, which is 50% lighter than steel and 30% lighter than aluminium, compensating for the extra weight of the battery in an electrically powered car. It’s good to know though that this change doesn’t impact on passenger safety, in fact it provides a higher standard of protection because of its resilience. In fact, the cars are made from two modules: the life module and the drive module. Keeping the two parts separate means more room for passengers because the transmission tunnel doesn’t run through the cabin space, plus it lowers the centre of gravity giving you the sort of driver experience that you expect from cars in this class.
That’s not the only design feature that is aimed at providing a great, sustainable driving experience. With electric motors you have all the torque available almost instantly from a standing start, then that uninterrupted acceleration is maintained right up to the maximum speed.
A lot of attention to detail has gone into developing an ultra-powerful high-voltage battery, alongside a cooling system that maintains the ideal operating temperature, so boosting battery life and performance so you get more miles every time you recharge. Recharging at home is really easy and I love the idea of not needing to go to the petrol station again. You can recharge at home whenever it suits you. Public recharging is on the up too and through the ChargeNow service you can get access to a pretty comprehensive network of recharging points. I did a quick check on my postcode and found 3 points with a 5-10 minute drive. It’s easy to know how much charge you have, you can even have an app on your phone which will tell you how far you can drive before next recharging.
I don’t go on many journeys that wouldn’t be easily covered by a BMW i car, but I love the fact that BMW Access can offer tailored solutions for extended journeys. BMW Access lets you choose from a selection of BMW Group vehicles if you need to make a journey beyond the range of your BMW i3, for example for special occasions or when you simply would like to drive another vehicle within the range. In fact, BMW I seem to have thought of just about everything.