Electric car has a shock in store

CHARGED: The BMW i3. Picture by Liam Clayton

Electric Vehicle (EV) registrations in New Zealand have now reached 3000 and a handful of those are zipping around Gisborne.

The latest is Eastland Group’s BMW i3, and once behind the wheel of the electric hybrid, it is not hard to see why this five-door electric car beat the Mercedes C Class and the Mercedes AMG sports car to be named the 2015 New Zealand Car of the Year by the AA and the NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild.

Entered in the Compact Car section, the sprightly i3 would really be more of a “hot hatch”, and that’s borne out by the lightning-fast acceleration provided by the vehicle’s high-voltage lithium-ion battery which, like all electric cars, provides literally instant full torque. Coming from an almost silent motoring experience, that can come as a shock to drivers new to the electric experience.

But the lack of a traditional combustion engine under the hood is just what makes the car so sporty.

The BMW i3 accelerates from 0 to 60kmh in under four seconds and to 100kmh in only 7.9 seconds with help from the car’s petrol range extender. BMW says the car has a theoretical overall top speed of 150kmh and once you have driven it, that claim is very believable.

The lack of a traditional combustion engine means BMW i3 is relatively light, coming in at just at 1320kg with much of its body made up of carbon-fibre and recycled plastic panels.

Its batteries provide a range of about 150km, which is effectively doubled with a petrol range-extender on models sold in New Zealand.

Although the range extender is petrol-based, it is used merely to charge the electric battery.

The range extender (REx) for the BMW i3 makes an increase of the range up to 340km possible (in perfect and economical driving conditions).

The REx is a small, smooth-running and quiet combustion engine. This motor drives a generator which, in turn, charges the high-voltage battery so the vehicle can continue to drive electrically.

Another ingenious touch are the brakes, which start working to slow the car and simultaneously recharge the battery.

With an extremely tight turning circle and abundant grip on corners, the i3 is a perfect commuter’s vehicle, ideally suited for the flat streets of the CBD.

Electric Vehicle (EV) registrations in New Zealand have now reached 3000 and a handful of those are zipping around Gisborne.

The latest is Eastland Group’s BMW i3, and once behind the wheel of the electric hybrid, it is not hard to see why this five-door electric car beat the Mercedes C Class and the Mercedes AMG sports car to be named the 2015 New Zealand Car of the Year by the AA and the NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild.

Entered in the Compact Car section, the sprightly i3 would really be more of a “hot hatch”, and that’s borne out by the lightning-fast acceleration provided by the vehicle’s high-voltage lithium-ion battery which, like all electric cars, provides literally instant full torque. Coming from an almost silent motoring experience, that can come as a shock to drivers new to the electric experience.

But the lack of a traditional combustion engine under the hood is just what makes the car so sporty.

The BMW i3 accelerates from 0 to 60kmh in under four seconds and to 100kmh in only 7.9 seconds with help from the car’s petrol range extender. BMW says the car has a theoretical overall top speed of 150kmh and once you have driven it, that claim is very believable.

The lack of a traditional combustion engine means BMW i3 is relatively light, coming in at just at 1320kg with much of its body made up of carbon-fibre and recycled plastic panels.

Its batteries provide a range of about 150km, which is effectively doubled with a petrol range-extender on models sold in New Zealand.

Although the range extender is petrol-based, it is used merely to charge the electric battery.

The range extender (REx) for the BMW i3 makes an increase of the range up to 340km possible (in perfect and economical driving conditions).

The REx is a small, smooth-running and quiet combustion engine. This motor drives a generator which, in turn, charges the high-voltage battery so the vehicle can continue to drive electrically.

Another ingenious touch are the brakes, which start working to slow the car and simultaneously recharge the battery.

With an extremely tight turning circle and abundant grip on corners, the i3 is a perfect commuter’s vehicle, ideally suited for the flat streets of the CBD.

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Steinar - 2 months ago
"The BMW i3 accelerates from 0 to 60kmh in under four seconds and to 100kmh in only 7.9 seconds with help from the car's petrol range extender." The ONLY thing the range extender is doing is to charge the battery when needed, the pure electric i3 accelerates just as fast...

Jocke - 2 months ago
Stelnar you are right. When battery go low on charge the 36 HP engine go on. It never add power to accelerate. The pure electric i3 is half a sec faster to 100 due to lower weight.

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