|The 'fun' BMW i3 on electric charge|
When I first got behind the wheel, I shrieked to the nice BMW employee who dropped it off, "My goodness it's just like driving a go-kart!" It glided forward on a soundless wave of electrical power. Looking back, I am not sure all those BMW engineers (who have no doubt ploughed countless man hours into designing the i3) would have welcomed my analysis. It got the kids excited though. My 11-year old daughter, having honed her karting skills at Odds Farm, was desperate to have a go.
Are we nearly there yet?
The nub of the matter for us was how far the i3 could take us before the electrics ran out. Fortunately for novices like us, this particular i3 model included a 'range extender', which provided the option of using a petrol engine to charge the battery so that the car could continue to drive electrically.
|Imagine everyone driving one of these...|
All in all, it felt good to be running on clean fuel, particularly after reading about the health-harming pollution in Oxford Street caused by diesel fumes from buses and taxis. I couldn't help wrinkling up my nose at the acrid belch from our Volvo XC60's exhaust the other day when my husband left it running on the driveway.
Ownership of an electric car becomes quite compelling when you combine your sense of moral superiority with all the financial incentives (no road tax, no London congestion charge, cheap running costs and government subsidies). Our family + galumphing dog probably needs something more rugged than an i3, but if the right car came along I think we would be prepared to make the switch to electric in the not-too-distant future.
Bear in mind...
- ideally you would need a driveway where you could install a 'Wallbox' to charge your car in under three hours (rather than seven hours from a conventional household socket).
- a road-trip from London to Edinburgh, for example, would be possible but only with multiple pit-stops along the way to re-charge (and fill up on petrol if using a range-extender).
- pedestrians don't necessarily hear you coming...
FURTHER READINGThe One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
A single mother sets off on a road trip to Scotland in a top-of-the-range Audi to ensure her quirky and brilliant daughter can study maths at the local private school. On the way, she falls in love with the Audi's owner, a disgraced software millionaire.
Please note that I was not financially incentivised to write this blog.