Nissan and BMW are the only vehicle manufacturers who sell electric cars in the country.
Nissan has the Leaf and BMW has the i3. I will be test driving the i3 for the next seven days.
The real world test will include daily commutes and trips around the city in order to test the usefulness of what beemer considers to be the ultimate urban car.
Amongst other things we will be putting through the test, are the claimed range of 130 – 160 KM's per full charge; the length of charging time; and of course what Eskom has to say about it.
Will load-shedding have an impact on my mobility? We hope to answer this question and many more in the next seven days.
BMW's first electric vehicle arrived in February and has received positive reviews internationally.
The i3 and the electric sports car, the i8 represent BMW's vision for future mobility – the ‘i' program.
The i3 is offered in two models: the base model with an all-electric 125kw engine, and the i3 REX which adds a two cylinder engine to charge the battery while on the move and extend the range of the car.
It’s not cheap. At R525,000, the base model i3 costs about R40,000 more than the Nissan Leaf, while the BMW i3 REX costs R595,000.
The most interesting part of this challenge will be to see what kind of charging infrastructure exists in the country.
Although charging points are limited to a few dealerships at the moment, recent news that BMW and Nissan SA are planning to roll out a charging grid are welcome.
Jo’burg’s Parkhurst Residents and Business Owners’ Association is also rolling out a solar powered charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
More importantly…. Will the i3 survive my three year old toddler? I can't wait to find out.