Saturday, December 1, 2012

Had a great time viewing the i3 Coupe in Los Angeles

As my mileage climbs towards 20,000 in the ActiveE, the joy of driving an electric BMW hasn't waned a bit...actually it continues to grow. As I've mentioned before, it's easy to become so use to the torque, instant acceleration and quiet, non jerky ride, you forget not everyone is having such a fun and exciting driving experience. During my recent scheduled service visit, I was given a 2012 128i. Almost 600 miles and a week later, I can say it's a very nice car BUT it's no ActiveE and I'm pretty sure if you gave someone each car for a week and asked which one they like better, most would choose the ActiveE.

With that said, it was wonderful to see the new i3 Coupe Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show this past Thursday. While it was a concept and the 4 door version will be available first late next year, it was exciting to see that BMW has yet another EV in the works. Some folks have asked why doesn't BMW just use carbon fiber to lighten up it's existing lineup of vehicles and kick out some conversions. While I believe BMW will increase the use of carbon fiber in it's entire line, I'm in the opposite camp regarding design. I love driving something different with it's own unique design....especially if it's not only cool looking but has a purpose such as flat floors, increased interior space, batteries under the floor, etc that a design from the ground up provides. You can't do that with a conversion. I have zero interest in driving a conversion. Here in Southern California, even with all the stickers on the ActiveE, I still tend to blend in. Folks who do ask about the car do so because of the stickers and or my license plate, KNOW GAS. I'm then able to express my enthusiasm about driving electric and hopefully get the person thinking about an electric vehicle. I consider myself an ambassador, spreading the joys of driving electric and love talking about the ActiveE every chance I get. On the other hand, I totally understand that some folks prefer a more subtle approach. Fortunately, there are conversions galore with the Focus, Leaf, RAV 4 EV and upcoming Fiat 500 Electric, etc.

BMW is taking a different, bold approach that hopefully will inspire Audi, Mercedes and others to kick their design studios into gear and get cars on the road too. As Oliver Walter, Head of Product Management BMW i3, mentioned at the recent Electronaut (ActiveE drivers) briefing, BMW can't do this alone, it's going to be a group effort. In speaking with Oliver directly, I was excited to hear him describe the i3 as The Ultimate Electric Driving Machine. He continued with...."the i3 is still a BMW and folks expect a BMW driving experience with 50/50 weight distribution, top notch handling, etc." Kudos to Oliver! I wish everyone at BMWi much success!

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