Home' Motoring Plus : April 22nd 2015 Contents THE NELSON MAIL Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — 11
3 YEARS FREE SCHEDULED SERVICING
FORD FIESTA TREND
FORD ECOSPORT TREND
FORD FOCUS TREND
*Offer valid on all new Fiesta Trend, Ecosport and Focus Trend purchased from MS Ford between 1/4/15 and 30/6/15.
As per scheduled servicing.Vehicle must be serviced at MS Ford only. Not in conjunction with any other offer.
157 Haven Road, Nelson | 03 548 9189 | msford.co.nz
with the BMW i3
❚ Continued from page 10
So-called coach doors make for easy
access to the BMW’s rear seats. Left:
friendly electric hatch now on sale in
The BMW i3 also retails for
$83,500 in New Zealand, which is a
lot of money for any car with an
operational range that essentially
restricts it to urban use with only
short-haul forays out into the
countryside. All i3s sold in New
Zealand are the range extended
models, which means that if I
owned one in my home city of
New Plymouth I would be able to
use it for normal everyday use
and for return journeys to places
anywhere around Mt Taranaki.
But anywhere further than that?
I’d probably have to stay
overnight at a motel somewhere
and use its electric power source
to recharge the car.
But this is not being critical of
this BMW – it is simply stating the
situation as it exists today. The i3
is a very impressive motor
vehicle that I would love to own.
It’s just that I would need to also
own a more conventional vehicle
for use on longer trips out of town.
And the situation will improve,
too. As the takeup of electric
vehicles increases in future years
there will be more EV charging
stations provided, and vehicle
range will also be improved. So as
I said at the start, with the BMW
i3 the motoring future is here.
So what’s the car like to drive?
In short, it’s great.
The BMW eDrive electro-
synchronous engine in the car
gives it 125 kilowatts of power and
250 newton metres of torque, and
as is the case with all EVs all that
torque is instantly available. So it
is possible to accelerate to 100kmh
in just 7.9 seconds, which BMW
takes great delight in reminding
us is within 0.3 of a second of the
time able to be recorded in a
turbocharged BMW 320i.
The car might be considered a
compact hatch, but its design is
such that there’s a lot of room
inside. Access to the back seats is
particularly easy thanks to the
backwards-opening ‘‘coach’’ doors
BMW prefers to describe them
as part of a Comfort Access
System. These rear doors can’t be
opened without first opening the
The passenger cell itself is
made from carbon fibre-
reinforced plastic, and it sits on
top of an aluminium platform that
houses the batteries and electric
motor. All of the materials used
for the interior are made of
renewable materials, for example
the door panelling is made from
cotton, seats and floor coverings
are wool, leather has been tanned
using olive leaf extract, and wood
panelling is eucalyptus.
Once you are belted into this
environmentally friendly interior
and started the BMW – even
though you don’t hear anything
because it is an electric car – the
driving experience is a
combination of familiar and
unfamiliar. What is familiar is
that you still have to put a
transmission into Drive and steer
the vehicle, but what is
unfamiliar is what happens when
you take your foot off the
In typical EV fashion the
electric motor acts as a generator
when decelerating, re-charging
the on-board lithium-ion battery.
But with this BMW it does it quite
aggressively, slowing the car
down almost as if you have your
foot on the brake pedal. But after a
short time you get used to it, and I
found I was almost able to drive
from South Auckland, through
the city’s CBD and over the
harbour bridge to North Shore
without relying too much on the
brakes, using the pedal only to
bring the i3 to a complete stop at
places such as traffic lights.
At this stage only a small
number of favoured few will get to
experience the BMW i3, primarily
because it is highly priced for
such a compact hatch, and also
because it can be purchased
through only one dealership. But
that will all change soon enough,
and it is easy to envisage a future
in which the i3 and other electric
cars will be whirring their way
along New Zealand streets and
In fact we’re already seeing it.
Already there are the traditional
petrol-electric hybrids such as the
Prius who go halfway towards full
electric operation, and the
extended-range electric vehicles
such as the Mitsubishi Outlander
PHEV which are three-quarters
there by using petrol engines to
either generate more electricity
or to combine with the electric
motor to act as a hybrid. The
BMW i3 goes a little bit further
than that again because it is
100 per cent electric, using its
little petrol motor only as a
generator to extend its range.
The challenge now is to extend
that electric range even further.
You can guarantee that it won’t be
long before that happens.
Links Archive April 8th 2015 May 6th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page