Monday, October 28, 2013

I Test Drove the New BMW i3

Today, during lunch break, I headed straight from work to the Parly 2 Mall in Versailles, 10km away; I knew that the First stop of the BMWi i3 Tour was here, and wanted to take advantage of it and test drive this new promising EV

I did not know where it was, but after looking around the mall, I finally found them !  and registered directly for a test drive, almost right away

After a short introduction to this very new kind of vehicle for BMW, we are taken by small groups of two to the i3 s waiting outside in the lower level parking

Orange, White, Black, we have all kinds of colors here ...

In the meantime, I realized that two technicians are working on setting up Charging Stations (!) from 3-phase AC power cables, coming from this huge cable along the concrete column

It looks like they are EVlink Charging Stations, brand new, out of the box

I heard later that they will be used to recharge the i3 during this 2 days tour

Now let's go for a ride

Here is our i3

Small trunk, Turbo journalist was right

I get to drive first ...

Foot on the brake ...

and Press Start

The car handles very well, acceleration is great and I think it is better than the LEAF, it can, because there is more power - 130kW ! vs 80kW for the LEAF - and less weight ... a lot less, with almost 300kg gone ! This is a big +1 here for BMWi and their Carbon Fiber work ! - 1,200kg vs 1,500kg for the LEAF -

Like a Model S, as soon as you lift your foot from the accelerator, you get full regen and the car slow down quickly - even brakes - and you can get to a complete stop at the red light this way for example.
I do not really like this, but, with a little practice, it is OK, and can be nice to control the whole car with one pedal only - from the BMW person with us, this can not be adjusted, like it can on a Model S, but could be I guess, it is just a variable value in a program -

Seating high, much higher than in the LEAF, noise cancellation has been well done, but maybe not as good as in the LEAF - I can compare after 2 years now - especially on rough street pavement in the rear seats

Drivers' swap and time for my best shot of the i3 yet, even if I cut the back of it ... oh well

I get to go behind now, and got in without moving this front seat, just using the rear door opening; I then was told this lever, in the head rest, can be pulled to fold & slide forward the front seat for easier access

Nice Split Moon roof - probably another expensive option of this full options demo car -

I could at last film a little bit

There is decent leg room in the back

Square rear windows

The dashboard is very cool I think, but no touch screen here, all is controlled by BMW's round button / joystick

Front armrest and some cup holders under it

and it is the end of the test drive

back up camera ... I know this one ;-)

i3 from an i3

At my request, our BMW host popped the Charge Port open to let me see the type of plug to be used: Type 2 / Mennekes, the European Standard

Now back to work with my LEAF and this little souvenir on the passenger seat ...

Conclusion: this New - Carbon - Electric Car is going to be a hit I think :-) Very Good Job from BMWi !


Later at night, on my way back from work, I went there again to see the Charging Stations and realized all the cars were parked there doing nothing

It looked like the Charging Stations were ready to roll, but in horizontal position :-) !

Not used yet, maybe they are sleeping :-)

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