Top Gear’s James May Is Buying A BMW i3 REx

3 years ago by Inside EVs Staff 29

Perhaps May Is Intrigued BY How Well The I3 Performs On The Track

Perhaps May Is Intrigued BY How Well The i3 Performs On The Track

Top Gear’s famous host, James May, says he is considering the new BMW i3 electric car.

Top Gear Purposely Made The Tesla Roadster Fail Back In The Day.  We're Glad Top Gear Presenter James May Has Come Around To Realize That EVs Are More Than Capable Of Going The Distance

Top Gear Purposely Made The Tesla Roadster Fail Back In The Day. We’re Glad Top Gear Presenter James May Has Come Around To Realize That EVs Are More Than Capable Of Going The Distance

Part of a team which has traditionally taken great pains to paint electric cars as slow, boring, expensive and impractical, this comes as a surprise. May is said to be looking more specifically at the BMW i3 REx variant.

Quoting May:

“We’ve known for a long time that the electric motor is the ideal way to propel an electric car.  We’re discovering that there’s a different sort of pleasure in motoring in an electric car because of the smoothness, the silence.”

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG.  Check it out by clicking here via TransportEvolved.

May also touched on some of the challenges with EV cars. He admitted charging infrastructure is still the weakest point.

“In terms of technology, the electric car works perfectly well,” May said. “The problem is still electricity, the difficulty in charging, the difficulty in storing it.”

“You do still have to think ahead.”

Yet May still wants to own an EV — and he’s buying a BMW i3.

“I sort of want to be part of the ‘experiment’. I don’t know what the answer is — or if a car like the i3 is the long term future of the car.  It’s not that small. It’s actually quite roomy inside. It’s almost a small people carrier.”

May went ahead to reveal that he is looking at the BMW i3 REx, short for Range Extender, a model that aims to help buyers with driving range anxiety.

“It’s called a range extender.  It really ought to be branded ‘pure cowardice,’ because that’s what it is and that’s why I’ve got one.”

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29 responses to "Top Gear’s James May Is Buying A BMW i3 REx"

  1. David Murray says:

    That is quite a surprise.

    1. kdawg says:

      Not to me. I knew once there was a BMW version these guys would say “EVs are grrrrreeeeaat!”

      Heaven forbid they drive an American product.

      1. no comment says:

        it sure seems that way. i mean, it’s not as though he is priced out of the market for the Tesla Model S; and if he really is concerned about range, it would seem that he should go for the 86kWH version. instead, he appear to have a “preference” for the BMW i3, which has a kind of “upscale” cheap look of cars half the price. furthermore, why is he announcing that he is “considering” the purchase instead instead of just buying the thing?

        it all seems kind of suspicious to me…

    2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Not really.. If you think about it, the i3 really is just the refined version of the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust.

      Highly, highly refined.

  2. Anon says:

    Um… Cars ARE people carriers. That’s kind of the point of them.

    As for May going i3, meh. I would be far more shocked if he’d bought a Tesla Model S.

    1. mustang_sallad says:

      from watching Top Gear, you get to learn the british names for different types of cars. “People carrier” is their name for a minivan.

  3. Evil Attorney says:

    If you had as much money as May, would your first EV be an i3? Either there is some serious hate towards Tesla still or May has some type of promotional deal with BMW.

    1. mustang_sallad says:

      Keep in mind that his current car is a Fiat Panda.

      1. Spec9 says:

        Wat? Doesn’t the BBC pay these blokes big bucks?

        1. Anon says:

          The show is underwritten by Shell Oil, so the purchase of a gas-burning “electric” does not ban him from his contractual obligations promoting the combustion of oil for mobility. 😉

          Again, I would only be shocked if one of those guys bought a BEV, Tesla or otherwise.

    2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Methinks the BBC would have an issue with such endorsement deals?

      I rather think Musk may have put them all on a do-not-sell list 🙂

    3. Mikael says:

      Anyone living in a big city would prefer an i3. He lives in London so the choice would be easy.

      The Tesla is great, but not for everyone and not all the time.

      1. QCO says:

        Actually I believe James May lives just inside the Congestion Zone, so he really does have to have a small urban EV of some kind to make getting in and out practical.

        The BMW i3 really would be his best choice, infinitely better than a G-Wizz.

        And recent Top Gear viewers will note that even Jeremy Clarkson is smitten with performance hybrids, like the Porsche one. Time moves on….. Besides, the Roadster really was primitive compared to the Model S and other more modern EVs, so best to just leave that episode to the archived past.

  4. Big Solar says:

    Reminds me of FOX news when they were like Tesla bad, then 5 weeks later Tesla good.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      Yeh, that’s a good one. Add the WSJ to that list also.

      Oh well that’s what we need. If you get the Repubs solid behind this EV movement then it makes us even stronger.

    2. Open-Mind says:

      Since we’re completely off topic…

      Reminds me of MSNBC when they were like you can keep your health plan and doctor, then five years later they’re still repeating that same lie. 😉

  5. Alaa says:

    Strange! Was not the Americans that saved the British? And now you buy German!

    1. alainl007 says:

      LOL Funny!! Good one!! ;-))

    2. Mikael says:

      The russians were a bigger help. Shouldn’t all the British drive Ladas?
      Oh, wait. Maybe they want top quality instead.

      1. Alaa says:

        It looks like the Prince of Wales will soon speak Ruskiii.

  6. islandboy says:

    Not really a suprise. May has always been the more thoughtful, eco-concious of the three. He actually gives some thought to environment and sustainability issues unlike Hammond and Clarkson who just want to burn it up as fast as they can.

    He also appears not to be too fond of the kind of attention one gets when driving a Ferrari and far more curious about new, radical technology than the other two. He may well buy a Tesla at some point but, regular viewers of Top Gear would know that rapid acceleration and high speed driving are not usually associated with “Captain Slow”.

    1. pjwood says:

      It was Hammond who was given the oven mitts, in the event his new 991 GT3 burned like the others.

      http://forums.rennlist.com/rennforums/991-gt3/802143-top-gear.html

    2. Steve says:

      I agree. Out of the 3 it was always going to be May that turned first. He is a fan of small economical cars. He is also the only one that shows he has a science education too.

  7. Nix says:

    Sounds like a tease for a future episode.

  8. Spec9 says:

    He should buy a hair cut.

    1. scoops says:

      Nothing better to contribute?

      1. George B says:

        Spec9 seems to be on a roll today.

  9. vojtech says:

    “the electric motor is the ideal way to propel an electric car” what else??? :-)))

    1. Anon says:

      Yeah, a number of self-evident statements here… *blinks*