LEADING EDGE | Westcon
BMW i3 - Innovation at its best
BMW i enjoys ever increasing success and market share. The BMW i3 wins World Urban Car Award 2017. World leader in alternative drive systems in the premium segment - Munich / New York. Most recently, the all-electric BMW i3 (94 Ah) was crowned the winner of the World Urban Car Award 2017 presented at the New York International Auto Show.
The above mentioned statements, summarises it all.
While, I was personally was not impressed when I attended the launch of the BMW i3, as it did not measure up to my preconceived expectations. I now have a totally different opinion after living with the BMW i3 for a whole week.
None of the launch niggles experienced manifested in the test car and I really got to use the car for its real purpose, travelling between office and meetings and even from Pretoria to Johannesburg and back. It is amazing how, when making use of all of the options available, one’s view of a car can change.
The exterior of the i3 is modern, lightweight and strong. I like the modern look and I enjoy getting in and out of the vehicle as it is higher off the ground than the normal sedan. The “semi suicide doors is a blessing when you have a grandchild like me that wants to open and close everything while travelling with grandpa. The interior takes a bit of getting used to but I love the alternative material used and found the i3 to be much cooler in hot weather. I also enjoyed the view around the car and the usable space was an added bonus. Although the i3 is higher than sedans its road holding abilities around corners are very good and the ride comfort is also to my liking.
I have surprised many a vehicle next to me when I accelerated, without sound and then cruised without any interference of engine noise.
Let’s go to what the BMW i3 is all about.
The i3 combines a vehicle concept developed from day one to provide pure-electric mobility in urban areas – featuring a passenger cell made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) – and powerful BMW eDrive technology with an extremely powerful high-voltage battery to increase the car’s range by around 50%. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) fuel consumption in the NEDC combined cycle is: 0.0 l/100 km; electric power consumption combined: 13.1 – 12.6 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km.
The BMW i3 complies to the specific demands on personal mobility in urban environments as well as the restricted availability of road and parking space, plans to reduce the emissions generated by road traffic present vehicle manufacturers with challenges that only innovative vehicle concepts can hope to address. World Car Vice-Chairman Mike Rutherford noted how the BMW i3 had demonstrated that such models can be classy and attractive, and also very enjoyable to drive. With its compact exterior dimensions and 125 kW/170 hp electric motor, he described the BMW i3 as “among the best value‐for‐money products on the market”.
Since it was launched some three-and-a-half years ago, the BMW i3 – with its steadily rising registration figures – has been a constant presence at the top of the sales charts for premium compact electric vehicles both in Europe and around the world. Evidence of the i3’s leading role in the development of electric mobility can be found not least in the fact that, in many markets, it now has a significantly higher share of the electric vehicle market than its parent brand BMW can claim in segments for conventionally powered models. In Germany, for instance, the i3 now has a 22% share of the market (BMW overall: 8%), in Norway it tops the statistics with 27% and Europe-wide the figure is 17%. The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car has also contributed to the international success of the BMW i brand. With its unique and enthralling blend of driving pleasure and sustainability, it has risen to become the world’s most successful hybrid sports car.
Through the extensive transfer of technology to the other BMW Group brands, BMW i has also been a significant factor in the company’s outstanding market success in the field of sustainable mobility. Since March 2017, the BMW eDrive drive-system technology originally developed for BMW i models has found its way into six BMW model ranges and been introduced for the first time in a MINI. Since the start of 2017, BMW has led the way in the premium segment not only in Germany, but also across Europe and around the world with its BMW iPerformance Automobiles. In Germany, it has a 28% share of the plug-in hybrid market, and BMW iPerformance Automobiles have a worldwide market share of 20%.
Fuelled by the burgeoning popularity of its BMW i and BMW iPerformance Automobiles, the BMW Group has spearheaded progress in the field of sustainable mobility. The overall picture of market segment coverage and sales figures shows that the company is now the leading provider worldwide of vehicles with electrified drive systems. Offering models in nine different vehicle classes, the diversity of the BMW Group’s vehicle line-up is beyond that of any rival, and the company currently stands third for new registrations in the global electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle market overall. In 2017 alone, the BMW Group is on course to sell more than 100,000 cars with all-electric or plug-in hybrid drive systems. Based on its constant increase in sales, BMW Group is expecting around 15-25% of its worldwide sales in 2025 to be powered by an all-electric or plug-in hybrid drive system. * Source: Polk/HIS Report, 13 April 2017 issue
As well as enjoying continuing sales success, the BMW i brand has also been an increasingly prolific accumulator of awards for its products and all-encompassing approach to sustainable mobility. Among the highlights of recent months have been winning the ‘Goldene Lenkrad 2016’ award in the ‘Alternative Drive Systems’ category. Back in 2013, the BMW i3 won the ‘Grüne Lenkrad’ award in the same competition, making it the first model to earn the distinction – presented by ‘Auto Bild’ and ‘Bild am Sonntag’ in recognition of exceptional environmental performance – for the second time. A few weeks later, the BMW i brand was presented with the ‘Premium Pionier Elektromobilität’ international editor’s award in ‘Auto Zeitung’ magazine’s ‘Auto Trophy’ competition.
The BMW i3 (94 Ah) also won over the ‘Car of the Year’ jury in Great Britain at the start of 2017. The i3 topped the poll organised by ‘What Car?’ magazine in the category for electric vehicles priced between £20,000 and £40,000. And not long afterwards, the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car (fuel consumption in the NEDC combined cycle: 2.1 l/100 km [134.5 mpg imp]; electric power consumption combined: 11.9 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 49 g/km) added another trophy to its collection, winning the ‘Auto Bild Allrad’ magazine readers’ poll in the all-wheel-drive hybrid car category.
About BMW i and BMW iPerformance
BMW i is a BMW Group brand focusing on connected mobility services, visionary vehicle concepts and a new understanding of premium strongly defined by sustainability. BMW i is represented in 54 countries with the BMW i3 electric car for urban areas, BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car and plug-in hybrid BMW iPerformance Automobiles. BMW i is also associated with enterprises including DriveNow (car sharing), ReachNow (car sharing 2.0), ChargeNow (easy access to the world’s largest network of charging points), ParkNow (straightforward location, reservation and payment of parking spaces), BMW i Ventures (investment in start-up companies), BMW Energy Services and the Centre of Competence for Urban Mobility (consultancy for cities).
Although it is still not possible to travel with ease between Gauteng and other provinces or without waiting a bit longer to charge than to fill your vehicle with petrol the BMW i3 is unbeatable in the urban environment as its cost per km is minimal.
Will I drive from Gauteng to Cape Town?
Yes, I will, as the ride is comfortable, ‘filling stations’ are being established on all major routes and as the ‘filling time at such stations will be around 20 minutes, I will be able to relax around every two hours ensuring that I will not be stressed or tired. Looking at the figures quoted it will not be expensive to charge your i3 at home. Yes, the purpose made home charger is expensive, it is still worth the cost.
The BMWi3 is one of the most innovative vehicles available to the broader public and the advances made by BMW in the i market will reflect in the future models.
The BMW i3 is available in two models being the i3 94Ah at R606 800 and the i3 94 Ah REX at R638 600 at time of writing.
5 Year/100 000 km Motorplan, non-contributing service and maintenance contract BMW On Call (outside South Africa, On Call is supported in Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland) 8 Year/100 000 km High voltage battery warranty.