Electric cars are the way of the future, and BMW, always on the forefront of what is coming next, plans to be a leader in that future with their “i” series.
The i3 initially hit the consumer market in 2014. Back then it was already making advancements in electric car technology. Now, the 2017 model of the i3 is stepping up the game. At first glance, many think the vehicle looks too quirky, but it is the technology inside, and the effort to make it environmentally friendly, that really make it stand out.
Most of what makes the i3 a remarkable piece of machinery is intrinsically linked to its claim to fame as a sustainable vehicle. Following are the most impressive attributes that contribute to it’s environmentally low-impact design.
- Carbon fiber woven with plastic keeps the body of the i3 light so that the least amount of energy possible is needed to accelerate down the road.
- Active deceleration not only turns stopping into energy for the battery, but also makes it so the entire ride can be controlled by how much pressure you put on the gas peddle. No braking needed.
- With the upgraded battery in the 2017 series, the i3 can now travel over a hundred miles on a single charge. Get the version with extended range, and the two cylinder generator will get you an extra 80 miles.
- Eager to save weight and to be as sustainable as possible, BMW has even gone so far as to use Eucalyptus for the wood accents on the interior of the vehicle. It has a great coloring and is much more sustainable to grow and harvest than the usual hardwoods.
- Never one to cut corners, BMW manufactures the i3 in facilities run entirely on renewable energy.
Don’t let all that talk of sustainability lull you into thinking the i3 isn’t exciting to drive. It gets from 0-60 in a mere 7 seconds, the handling is superb on city roads, and the programmed soundtrack to alert the pedestrians around you that the car is coming has a delightful hum to it.
Unfortunately, for all the great engineering showcased in the i3, there are still some downsides.
There are two major complaints from consumers when it comes to the i3, and surprisingly the looks are not one of them. Apparently, lots of people find its bulbous hatchback design somewhat endearing.
- Tires: The tires on the i3 were designed specifically for the vehicle to decrease the amount of energy needed to move the vehicle. This means the tires are quite thin, which leads to issues with controlling the vehicle at high speeds or when driving on grooved roads. There have also been many reported instances of the tires going flat or bursting. Since they are specific to the i3, you can only find them at the BMW dealer, so make sure your local dealer has plenty in stock.
- Charging Time: Though it only takes 45 minutes to get an 80% charge, to fully charge the battery for a 90-100 mile run takes a full 4.5 hours. Make sure you’ll have something to occupy you, cause it will be quite the wait.
If you are the type of person who is worried about your carbon footprint and living sustainably than the i3 is the car for you. It’s clear that BMW just got together a team of engineers for this car and gave them one parameter: make this vehicle as sustainable as you possibly can.
It’s not just for the sustainably minded though. If you are a daily commuter who travels less than 100 miles each day, then purchasing the i3 guarantees that you will never have to purchase gasoline again.