The BMW i3. It makes sense now.

I drove the BMW i3 for the first time today.

When I first saw the car on paper, I think I just rolled my eyes. This strange looking thing seemed just alien, perhaps too futuristic, and nothing like a real car. But having given the little carbon built rocket ship a chance, I see there’s actually a lot of sense to it. BMW’s designers have made a powerful statement to the world: ‘combustion engines are over — this is the future, and it’s here now’.

The chap who delivered it for a long-term test drive this morning (not for me) asked me to run him back to the train station. Naturally I obliged — somehow, something strongly compelled me to give this strange looking domestic appliance a run down the road. The moment I departed the driveway, I felt somehow unable to drive the i3. Regenerative braking felt so very strange, the lack of engine vibration made me feel out of place, and the sheer non-existence of gear breaks left me hanging. Immediately it felt miles distant from the VW Golf I drive day-to-day.

As I neared the A27, it suddenly clicked with me, and I felt back in place. The sheer silence, broken only by road noise and the motor whine as the pedal met the floor was actually pretty cool. And now, having had a little time to reflect on driving it for a few hours, it makes a lot of sense — vehicles of this ilk are the future. Why am I — are we — driving around in ice-cap-melting, polar-bear-killing, dinosaur-juice-guzzling combustion engines, when instead this silent…thing…can take me from 0–30mph quicker than a 3.0L BMW M4? Yes, the engine song of that wonderful petrol with a twin-turbo is beautiful, and yes, overall the M4 is utterly nuts — but who honestly, day to day, as a commuter or travelling worker needs a car of that capacity?

The traffic lights hit green. “Come on, give it the beans!” Richard shouted from the other side of the impressively roomy cockpit — so somewhat hesitantly, pulling away from a standstill, I did. I think my face fell off. It just goes, and goes, and keeps going. The moment you have to let off the accelerator pedal as you hit the speed limit is a moment of sadness; you just want to continue accelerating. Considering it’s size, and sheer efficiency to run, it is unbelievably quick. You may argue — ‘but I don’t need that. I don’t want to go fast. I’m driving on the road and I do so sensibly’ — and I stand with you with that very view. But having the sheer ability to overtake Norris descending the motorway sliproad at a paltry 45mph with the gentle push of a pedal, without becoming concerned about whether you’ll overtake safely and in time to join, is simply brilliant.

Naturally, something like the i3 isn’t going to fit everybody. That’s for sure — and a world where we were all driving the same would be really quite horrible somehow. But this is developing technology — this is the future. Whilst driving the i3 today, I spotted another three i3 drivers, all of whom gave me a nod of ‘you get it, don’t you. So do I.’ — and I do. Combustion engines are over but for the select few situations. Electric is on it’s way in, and it’s a vehicular revolution. Viva la i3. It gets my approval every time.

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