BMW i3S: Living with an electric car

first_imgBMW i3S: Living with an electric carWith a lot of talk veering towards electrification these days, Yogendra Pratap spends about a month with one of the very best of them, in the form of the BMW i3s. Not only do we drive it in the city but also take it for an inter-city drive, putting the range of the city car to the extreme test.advertisement Next Yogendra Pratap New DelhiMay 13, 2019UPDATED: May 13, 2019 17:06 IST BMW i3s is yet to be launched in India but the company is ready to do so when the conditions are right and there is demand in the market for electric cars.HIGHLIGHTSThe first thing that catches our eye is the green number plate of the i3sThe BMW i3s has range enough to do the office commute ten times over and still have range to spare.For the daily office commute and the occasional work trip from office, the BMW i3s is more than adequate.We have driven a number of electric cars over the years. Very few in India – actually just the one and its derivatives over the years in India and a wide variety of electric cars overseas. So when we got the opportunity to not only do a test drive of another electric car but also live with it, experience and use it for wide ranging commuting requirements, we grabbed the opportunity with both hands. We are no strangers to the electric city car from BMW but wanted to try it out in the routine driving that one does with city cars in India.Now we are no strangers to the BMW i cars and also to the i3. We drove it in Amsterdam when it was first launched and then drove it in Europe again when it was given a mid-life face-lift and the i3s was launched. The car is yet to be launched in India but BMW is ready to do so when the conditions are right and there is demand in the market for electric cars, sufficient infrastructure for them and a government policy that is conducive to the adoption of electric cars. So we are no strangers to the electric city car from BMW but wanted to try it out in the routine driving that one does with city cars in India – the daily office commute followed by the weekend shopping trips around the Delhi NCR region including a quick excursion to a nearby suburb and the occasional family trip to the nearby hill resorts.advertisement The neat uncluttered cabin of the BMW i3s with plenty of practical storage spaces and nice wood finish.The first thing that catches our eye is the green number plate of the i3s as we park it in the office basement parking area. That we discover is standard for all electric vehicles or BOVs, the official term for electric vehicles in the eyes of the registering authority. The next is to ensure that the car is recharged and ready to go in the evening, and for that we have to install electricity sockets in our parking area and we plug the car in to charge – which by itself creates a spectacle that draws all the bystanders – as the surround light grows blue and finally green as the car is fully charged. High seating position and great visibility up front coupled with a very agile set-up and direct steering make for a very suitable car for Indian roads.The daily office commutes are a breeze as the distance is not too much. Even if it were, the i3s has range enough to do the office commute ten times over and still have range to spare. What is interesting is the difference the driving modes make to the range. What we see is that the top speed gets limited and some comfort features become unavailable and we would realize the big importance of both as we discover more about the secrets of electric cars. The start-stop button on the stalk with the drive selector knob.This is a city car with a unique setup that seats four people in a lounge style layout and despite being just about 4m long there is plenty of space on the inside. The layout is clean and uncluttered and the material used tells you that this is a green car as much of the trim is from recycled materials. Of course the iDrive is there as are many of the other BMW design cues, both on the inside and outside but we have already described the car during the first drive so we will skip to living with the car. But before going there, driving the car always takes you by surprise. The overwhelming acceleration with the entire torque available from the word go translates into an exhilarating drive experience and the i3s with wider tyres and extra grip is able to handle the torque well besides going into corners more like a sports car than a city commuter. iDrive as always on a BMW.To start off with we installed 15A normal wall sockets in our parking and decided that the car would be charged during office hours.For the daily office commute and the occasional work trip from office, the i3s is more than adequate. First few days we were charging the car every day and then every other day and then as and when required. It does take close to 12 hours to get fully charged using this socket but we were never in a situation where we were charging the car from empty. So we usually had more than 50 per cent of the battery remaining when we were putting it on charge. The range available usually depended on how the car had been previously driven but the pictures on the previous spread illustrate the indicative average range – starting from 228km in Comfort mode to 243km in Eco Pro plus mode.advertisement Door trim made from recycled material.Over the weekend we decided to put the car to good use and went to Gurugram from Noida, drove it around the southern suburb of Delhi before returning to Noida with over 100km on the clock. The next day we again took the car out shopping and when we got back to office on Monday morning, the car had been driven for over 150km and still had a range of 90km in the most economical mode. What we were beginning to realise was that the best range would be on slow driving and the crawling traffic on the way to Gurugram in fact helped maximise the range and if we had driven similarly, we would have logged on nearly 250km. 20in wheels on a small city commuter? Just great!However, when we started for our inter-city drive to demonstrate the capability of the car we started off with a range of less than 200km despite a full charge and that was because the vehicle had been driven all over Delhi NCR for photography, and without any doubt, at a rapid rate. And when we drove as we would normally on Indian highways, overtaking slow moving commercial traffic but at a rapid rate to not be involved in the procedure for any significant amount of time. eDrive not only displays all the information of the usage of energy but also analyses the driving patterns.By the time we got to our midway charging station, we had barely enough range to go another 50km. That meant a lengthy early lunch break as we let the car charge for just over 4 hours to get enough range to get to Dehradun. A small 260-litre boot just over the drivetrain.On reaching Dehradun we put the car on charge and went for a shoot early next morning with the battery again at 100 per cent charge and discovered to our horror that the range was below 200km. We soon found that the range was showing very low was due to the heating being turned on in the car as the temperatures outside were much below the 22 deg C that we had set in the car. As soon as we switched off heating the range rose by over 50km. The surprisingly spacious cabin but access to the rear is through small suicide doors that can only be opened with the respective front door open.After photography and putting on a full charge we headed back to Delhi but this time driving sedately at about 70kmph and lo behold, the range kept increasing so much that we could have made it to Delhi, about 240km away in a single charge. However to be on the safe side we charged the car at the midway point for about an hour and then heavy traffic getting into Delhi meant that we arrived back in office without using up the entire charge. In fact we had about 50km of further range left. Moral of the story is that the range of electric city cars is directly dependant on speed, and even a city car like the i3s can be used for the occasional outstation trip.advertisementALSO READ | 2019 Hero Maestro Edge 125 bookings to open on May 16; Hero Pleasure+ 110 can be booked from June first weekALSO READ | Hero Maestro Edge 125, Hero Pleasure Plus 110 launched in India; price range starts at 47,300ALSO READ | 2019 Bajaj Avenger Street 160 launched in India, price starts at Rs 82,253Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byVarun Singh Tags :Follow BMW i3sFollow BMW electric carFollow New BMW electric carFollow BMW i3s reviewFollow New BMW i3slast_img