The first time I drove the BMW i3 was rather interesting, because it’s such a new concept to me and it was also exciting because, now how do I explain to my mother that I have to charge my phone and my car at the same time? The idea of charging a car is new to us, but it’s the future that we will have to deal with sooner or later. I am a fan of Tesla and what the brand represents – disruption, and I believe that Millennials and Gen-Z’s, it’s a car that they relate to as well. Another thing about millennials is that they want to belong and they are open to new brands, so for the first time in a long time legacy brands’ biggest competition, are indie (new) brands – think Netflix, Uber, Apple and Facebook. BMW has been at the forefront of adapting to electric vehicles before its competitors and I’m talking cars that were available to market and they were new models. The i3 was available to market in 2013 and the i8 available in 2014, at first you thought the i3 comes from the future and that was the idea really, the interior, the suicide doors… were something that looked like what the future looked like. Whether people were ready for this future or not that was another conversation all together.
This is the updated version of the 2013 release, the previous model did about 100km on battery and 160km on petrol which was a hybrid, now this one is fully electric and it does about 250km to 300km on one battery charge. You can go as far as Vaal University and back on one charge from Johannesburg which is not bad. Now what the BMW i3s does is that it helps you drive better as well, because depending on how you drive then it determines how long the battery lasts. If you drive 90km/h you will be fine and the energy will be distributed well, which means you can drive for longer. Now if you gonna switch it up and go up and down between 100km -130km/h it will use more energy, which means you will use more energy for a shorter distance trip, which is not good. Another thing you will experience while driving an electric car battery anxiety,which forces you to drive better, because it’s not like you can stop at any garage and charge your car, if the battery runs out – it’s out. You are always checking your battery gauge and consumption, especially if you are doing longer trips out of town. What I found interesting is that when you drive well, and you have the aircon on, it doesn’t consume as much energy, one would think the aircon would do much damage to the energy consumption, but it doesn’t.
The interior is made out of recycled materials, overall, 25% renewable raw materials and recycled plastics were used in the interior of the BMW i3. The textile upholsteries are made of up to 100% recycled polyester, produced using 34% PET. A further 25% recycled plastics are used in the exterior. The interior infotainment system is still old and nothing like any updated BMW models, I think this would’ve been a good opportunity to introduce some interesting updates, I’m not asking for a lot, but something like a bigger screen, touch screen and voice control.
The standard i3 has 125 kW and 250 Nm, while the sportier i3S has 135 kW and 270 Nm. BMW claims its i3 can hit 100 kph in 7.3 seconds, while the i3S is even brisker at 6.9 seconds due to the additional weight of the onboard engines, the REX models are a touch slower at 8.1 and 7.7 seconds respectively. Top speed is rated at 150 kph for the i3, while the i3S is capable of 160 kph. The key differentiator between the i3 and i3S is not limited to just engine power increase, but there’s also a sportier suspension with sporty steering, giving it a slant towards enthusiastic driving.
3 120Ah R658 500
i3 120Ah REX R740 700
i3s 120Ah R716 900
i3s 120Ah REX R799 100