The BMW i3 arrived in Australia in 2014. With its Carbon Fibre body this is a new venture for BMW in eco driving and materials. The i3 is a pure electric but you can get a version with a petrol engine range extender – the little 650cc petrol engine housed in the rear of the vehicle does not propel the car – it produces electricity for the electric motor. With the range extender version the i3 overcomes range anxiety and it can be used for those long distance trips – however you will be stopping fairly regularly for fuel as the capacity is a mere 9 litres. This car has all the hall marks of BMW – advanced technology, quality build, plush interiors and from all reports an excellent driving experience (at MEC we can’t wait to get a test drive). Some have said the looks are a bit ugly but we think it has beautiful lines which emphasise a new breed of vehicle.
BMW to their credit are lobbying the Australian government to provide incentives for people to make the switch to electric cars. At MEC we of course think this is a no brainer – it makes not only environmental sense but also economic sense and the sooner Australian federal and state governments wake up to this fact the better for us all. It must be mentioned that Nissan and Mitsubishi have also tried to get incentives in Australia but their pleas have landed on deaf ears. Seeing as economic minnows like Greece (the European basket case of the GFC), Estonia and Romania have incentives in place it baffles us why Australia is not following the trend of virtually every other developed nation on earth.
The i3 looks quite spectacular and we are hoping it will not attract that peculiar Australia Tax that so many goods and services coming to our shores tend to suffer from. This vehicle sells for $56,000 in the UK. Let’s hope BMW don’t see fit to slug Australians any more than this.
One criticism of the vehicle if you’re planning to use the rear seats are the rear coach doors – a bit awkward if you’re doing the school run as the front door has to be opened before the rear door can be. Costing quite a bit more than the Nissan Leaf which is currently selling for just under $40,000 in Australia, the BMW i3 will no doubt have it’s own set of followers who want the BMW experience. As a city car we feel this will deliver all that they wish for.