BMW'S BRIGHT SPARK
BMW has officially unveiled its revolutionary i3, a luxury-grade electric car with zero emissions – available to order now for under £30,000.
Billed by BMW as the world's first premium car to be powered by an electric drive system, the striking i3 has already won top-level praise from Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin at an official unveiling in London recently.
The i3, available to test drive from its launch on November 16, comes in two models: standard, at £25,680 on-the-road, and Range Extender, at £28,830 otr, backed up by excellent car and battery warranty packages.
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Take one look at the i3's headline statistics and it's clear BMW's expert engineers have created a sporty, agile, yet space-efficient and comfortable premium car for an urban environment.
Its motor generates an impressive output of 170hp, with peak torque of 250Nm on demand instantly.
This allows the BMW i3 to sprint from zero to 37mph in a just 3.7 seconds and zero to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds.
Anyone with range anxiety on electric vehicles has little to fear with the i3. Its lithium-ion battery, which is included in the price, gives a range of at least 80-100 miles in everyday driving, more than enough to cover the average daily commuter journey of around 25 miles. The i3 Range Extender's engine increases the car's maximum range in day-to-day driving to around 180 miles.
The i3's running costs for both private and business users are minimal and so low that BMW says its cost per mile would equate to running a diesel engine achieving over 400mpg.
The i3 is eligible for a host of government-backed grants and tax breaks. In addition to the government's Plug-in grant that reduces the on-the-road cost of the vehicle by £5,000, both versions of the i3 also benefit from a zero road fund licence charge.
For corporate customers, businesses benefit from 100 per cent capital write-down allowance and very low levels of National Insurance taxation, while drivers will pay significantly less (in the case of the standard i3 zero per cent) Benefit in Kind taxation.
As you'd expect from BMW, there's no compromise when it comes to the car's interior, which features materials such as sustainably-sourced wood, natural fibres and naturally-tanned leather.
The i3 is also packed with the latest technology, but two innovations stand out.
There is a brake and an accelerator pedal but it is possible to drive without using the brake pedal in normal driving conditions. The moment the driver takes their foot off the accelerator the electric motor switches from drive to recharging mode, which has the side-effect of generating a precisely-controllable braking motion, thus the car brakes itself.
The i3 also has unique connectivity with the outside world with its BMW Connected Drive services including a state-of-the-art navigation system, fitted as standard. Drivers can also use the BMW i Remote app to share information with their car at any time using their smartphone.
What's more, charging the i3 couldn't be simpler. It can be 80 per cent charged in as little as 30 minutes with DC Rapid Charging, available at public locations in the UK. It takes three hours with AC Fast Charging and an optional BMW i Wallbox, while occasional charging can also be performed using a pre-supplied cable, fitting a standard household socket at 2.4kW, and takes 8-10 hours.