This weekend was our turn to host the travelling BMW i3 – there is one car that is going between BMW Centers, it stays 3 days at every dealer for our clients to see. BMW explicitly forbade driving the car – it goes from dealer to dealer on a flatbed truck, and they take a photo of the odometer between dealers to make sure we don’t drive it. But we did get to play with the car, push buttons and get a general feel.
I was able to record a short video, but it is kind of rushed, so I am adding a few photos and descriptions.
Overall the car makes a very positive impression. It is spacious, futuristic and comfortable. The official story is that i Brand is very sustainable – carbon fiber used in the car is made in a factory powered by water energy, and the assembly plant is fully powerd by wind. On the car itself you can see pieces of recycled plastic, leather looks different because it is dyed with olive oil instead of chemicals, wood trim is made of bamboo, which grows faster and with less water:
Also on this photo you see the new key design – thinner than current fob, but slightly wider.
Navigation screen is huge, and it floats in the air with space below it – like a shelf.
Display and graphics look better than the latest iDrive, the functionality is similar with additions specific to electric powertrain.
I wasn’t able to see navigation graphics because the nav code hasn’t been inserted.
Driver display is basically a smaller iDrive display:
Shifting column is attached to the steering wheel together with the start/stop button:
The car we had had the range extender, which is a 2 cylinder gas generator. It is not connected to the drivetrain, so it is not rated for horse power. The electric outlet is where normally the gas cap would be, and gas cap opening is in the front left panel:
The window line is a bit weird, but I think it will help a lot with blind spot visibility:
Overall, the i3 looks like a great entry into the electric car market for BMW. It is not Tesla – i3 has a much lower price point, it is shorter, and it is more utility. It is not Leaf either – it is built as an electric car from the ground up, and it has a much more upscale feel. It is more practical than Volt, and it should beat it in performance. Based on the estimated production numbers – the demand will be higher than supply at least for the first year.
Here is a full Imgur album
Stay tuned for video test-drive!