wattEV2Buy’s BMW i3 Driving Report – The Good, the Bad and the Awesome.

Driving the BMW i3 REx was everything and more of what I expected from a luxury EV. It is slightly more challenging to write a test report for the BMW i3 because it can’t be directly compared to a combustion vehicle. For instance, if you evaluate for luxuries such as keyless entry you must take into consideration that it would use energy from the battery, and therefore most probably excluded from the design. One can pick up many little design tweaks’ to save weight and energy in the i3. I wrote a lot about the power, speed, and handling of the BMW i3 in my previous articles on the i3 and would therefore not delve into it in this BMW i3 Driving Report, but just focus on comforts and pains.

The Good

  • A spacious interior feeling, especially from the driver’s perspective. There is a meter or more’s space between the driver’s position and the windscreen, adding to the comfort of the vehicle.
  • A tight turning circle. The big front-cabin gives you the illusion of driving a long nosed sedan making the tight turning circle even more surprising.
  • The high driving position allows you to cope with the traffic on our SUV filled roads.
  • Run-flat tires, which for some is not a positive. On other BMW models, such as the 3 series you find steering with run-flats difficult, but not in the case of i3. I suspect the reason being the large wheels, which are deceptive as they are biscuit like. The large wheels add to the appealing design of the i3.

The Bad

  • Your selected drive setting needs to be reset on every new trip. It will have been much more efficient if the vehicle remembers your preferred drive setting.
  • Although the doors are mega cool, they are unpractical when two people need to enter the vehicle when you are parked next to another vehicle.
  • Since the vehicle is rear wheel drive it has limited boot space at the back and unlike the Tesla where you can fit a surfboard in the car the BMW i3 does not compensate by providing front storage. The small storage space that is available is used to store the charging cables.
  • Which brings me to the charging cables, which could be stored much neater through some clever design than having to try and fold it every time you recharge the car.
  • For all the technology in the vehicle, a rear camera would have been a worthy addition.
  • The position of the gear selector is very cool, placed as a lever on the steering column. The negative about it is that it is difficult to view your gear selection, which BMW could quite easily have presented on the main console.

The Awesome

  • The use of carbon much of the vehicle’s interior and structure.
  • Lots of visibility, the illusion is created that the roof floats on a wall of glass.

I can conclude that if I look past the cost of the vehicle and that much of the functionality related to operating an electric vehicle such as the fast charger and home charging system are not included in the price, I would seriously consider the BMW i3 REx as my next vehicle. The BMW Plug-In Hybrid EV is most properly the best first step for any person that would like to cross over to electric vehicles. For me the biggest plus is just the fact that BMW actually has a true EV product available in most markets, making it a member of a very elite bunch.

Wynand Goosen

Wynand Goosen

Contributor

Wynand studied his MBA in San Francisco where he was exposed to the fields of Service Science, Gamification, and Renewables, which he combined to create wattEV2buy and the award winning web app Ekoguru. Wynand is an energy storage expert and has modeled, designed and presented various solutions utilizing lithium-ion and other electrochemical technologies. In his spare time, Wynand is the author of a children’s book series and started a new project called “Career 180”.

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