Born Electric: Meet Ross from The UK

BMW i | March 22nd, 2014 by 5
i3 curb

This article first appeared on bmwi3blogspost Hello, I’m Ross from The UK and I was Born Electric on Saturday, March 1st, 2014. Why an i3? …

This article first appeared on bmwi3blogspost

Hello, I’m Ross from The UK and I was Born Electric on Saturday, March 1st, 2014.

Why an i3?

I will start this blog by saying that I am totally obsessed by cars.  I love cars, I always have, and the cars that find their way into our household are usually of the performance variety, ranging from TVRs to Hondas with even the occasional 4×4.  To be perfectly honest, electric cars had never really appeared on my radar.  I was aware of them obviously, but had never considered owning one.  My view was that most of them were slow, couldn’t go very far and generally a bit dull.

Born Electric: Meet Ross from The UK

However, one of my favourite websites is Pistonheads, and I happened to read their review of the new BMW i3 back in October.  Wow!  This sounded like one exciting little car.  So, at this point I started doing some more research, reading every i3 review I could find.  At this time, my car was an E92 M3 and my wife was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee.  This meant that we had two cars that were pretty expensive to run.  Both had annual road tax of £490 and not so great fuel consumption.  So, the i3 was beginning to sound attractive as it was fun, funky and cheap to run.  That the electric only version could be run as a company car with zero benefit-in-kind was the clincher.

So, it came to be that I ordered an electric only i3 without seeing or test driving one – with the proviso that I could cancel my order if I didn’t like it when I test drove it.  I had to wait about 3 weeks till the 16th November before I could get my hands on one.

Is it a real BMW?

I have owned three BMWs previously, an E46 330i (saloon), an E91 335i (touring) and the E92 M3 we have now. My wife had also owned two minis, a Cooper S and a Cooper S JCW. So we had high expectations. Before getting our test drive, we had an opportunity to have a good look around the showroom car. The consensus from all the family was that it was larger than expected and that from the outside the overall appearance was ‘funky’. Inside the i3, it was even better; the interior feels really modern especially with the large central nav screen.

i3 curb.jpgWe were blown away on the test drive. Putting your foot down just elicits a huge grin. It is such a hoot to drive. The instant and rapid acceleration takes a bit of getting used to but is addictive. Also being able to drive with just one pedal is great and it only takes a few moments to become accustomed to it. We were sold!

It really does drive like a BMW; the way it handles the road and the feel of the steering all felt familiar. Since taking delivery of my own i3, I have also taken it to a local sprint circuit. The circuit is only 600 metres in length but over 3 laps the i3 was great. It really surprised most of the people there and I was posting times that were quicker than two MX5s, an MR2 and and an E36 328i. I have also since discovered that the i3 is compatible with the ///M laptimer app. That said, don’t buy one as a track car! The range was down to just 43 miles on the day including driving there and back on a dual carriageway. The M3 is much better suited to track work.

The Options

For anyone considering the purchase of an i3, the options list can be a bit daunting. I chose laurus (laurel in the US) grey which I am really pleased with and the standard interior because I liked it! Suite was a consideration but at £2,000 I felt it was too expensive. I have recently discovered that the mood lighting with colour change is not included with the standard interior – this isn’t mentioned in the brochures or the website. I was lucky to get the Pro Sat Nav free as I placed my order early and I think everyone should consider this as it really suits the interior of the car. I ordered the heat pump option as BMW erroneously told me this was required to preheat the vehicle – it isn’t. Supposedly this gives better range in cold weather due to more efficient heating, but as I have nothing to compare it too I have no idea how effective it is. The Harmon Kardon hi-fi option is utterly brilliant and I am really pleased that I added that to my spec. In my opinion the standard wheels are awful, and the 428 alloys I ordered receive very positive comments. The heated seats are the fastest / hottest of any car I’ve owned and therefore a must.

I’ve had the car for just over two weeks and already done more than 900 miles. Range anxiety really hasn’t been an issue although I have got home a couple of times with only 3 miles left. It’s a great car and it seems that for the distances we generally travel it is going to meet most of our journey needs. For those occasions when it doesn’t I will just have to put up with that howling V8…

  • Tommolog

    My favorite lines from this are:

    “It really does drive like a BMW; the way it handles the road and the
    feel of the steering all felt familiar. Since taking delivery of my own
    i3, I have also taken it to a local sprint circuit. The circuit is only
    600 metres in length but over 3 laps the i3 was great. It really
    surprised most of the people there and I was posting times that were
    quicker than two MX5s, an MR2 and and an E36 328i”

    Electric doesn’t mean slow! :)

    • CDspeed

      My favorite lines in this were “Range anxiety really hasn’t been an issue although I have got home a couple of times with only 3 miles left. It’s a great car and it seems that for the distances we generally travel it is going to meet most of our journey needs”. In these two sentences he sums up what most people find hard to grasp, until they either experience an electric car first hand or take the time to work out their average driving needs. And I agree electric doesn’t mean slow, the i3 is a lot faster then it looks, with instant torque I think electric cars are sporty by nature.

      • good review!

        “Since taking delivery of my own i3, I have also taken it to a local sprint circuit. The circuit is only 600 metres in length but over 3 laps the i3 was great. It really surprised most of the people there and I was posting times that were quicker than two MX5s, an MR2 and and an E36 328i.”

        I think that line is very important for enthusiasts, even though he states right after you shouldn’t be tracking the i3. The fact that it can perform well and even better than some MX5s (arguably one of the best autox/track cars due) is something to behold. This separates the i3 from other EVs, including the Tesla. There’s a reason you only see Tesla videos of it at the strip. For all intents and purposes, the Model S is the “muscle car/Nascar” of EVs. I’d rather have the “GT” of Evs because there’s more to life than going straight as or veering left as fast as you can.

        • CDspeed

          I’ve driven the Model S, its no “muscle car” it drives better then most GT cars. And the P85 version of the Model S can also be had with the Performance Plus package that includes a high performance handling setup.

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