BMW i3 & i8
BMW i3
Is the BMW i3 an EV or a PHEV?

We were lucky enough to have a quick test drive of the electric BMW i3 at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  Find out how BMW’s third electric vehicle fared.

Three is the lucky charm?

BMW is now delivering a full electric vehicle to the public, the i3.  However, as many of you know, this isn’t the first electric vehicle, EV the company has worked on.  There was the BMW Mini E, which we test drove many years ago.  The Mini felt more like a test platform than a fully fledged everyday car.  Nonetheless, it showed potential.

The Active E bad boy.

Then came the Active E, where BMW boldly slapped on an electric drive on a series 1, the fruit the company’s results with the Mini E.  Why a bad boy?  Because this EV finally got much closer to what BMW is known for, performance.  Our initial test drive of the Active E had all the DNA of a BMW.  However, the  EV felt a little on the heavy side, something the i3 corrected.  With all Active Es ready to retire, there is quite a commotion online.  More to follow on this tomorrow.

Here is a quick video of the test drive.

Finally, BMW introduced its first, designed from the ground EV, the i3.  We took it for a quick spin around Los Angeles.  It will have taken BMW no less than three tries to nail its true EV, this time available to everyone, no leasing this time.

The i3 is an interesting EV.  It’s not an entry-level electric car at $41,350, but it boasts very decent performance.  How serious is BMW about electric cars?  It seems very much, considering it bought it’s very own carbon fiber company in order to develop this incredible resin carbon tub, that not only lightens the chassis but makes the car stiffer.  The true work went into tuning the rolling components.

The i3 handles itself impeccably in traffic, jumps from lane to lane with ease and enough torque to surprise many.  In fact, a man caught up with us to say the i3 surprised him at the traffic light.  Although the i3 sits pretty high, the battery weight keeps the center of gravity low.  The regenerative braking will make you smile if you are a performance driver.  The car comes to a stop by depressing the accelerator, which makes it perfect for city driving.

The interior is spacious enough for four, and five for short trips.  It has a definite modern feel with a touch of European flair.  The trunk has a lot of space for an EV and should accommodate most families.

What we liked.

What we liked about the i3 is that BMW didn’t muffle every sensation in it.  This EV acts like an electric BMW with frank accelerations, good cornering and simply a fun little car in traffic situations.  As we mentioned about, its powerful regenerative braking will bring the car to a complete halt, which makes for fun driving.

Overall, we liked driving the BMW i3, and find it is reasonably priced for a modern electric car.

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Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart

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