BMW i3 Inside A Library?


The CGI is not what you would call Oscar-worthy, but we get the idea behind BMW’s latest ad.

There’s a new ad to show off what BMW describes as being the i3’s “silent performance.”

As demonstrated in this CGI-heavy commercial, the zero-emissions hatchback is small enough to squeeze inside a library, but the ad is not actually about its footprint. BMW wants to show that – like with every other EV out there – the i3 in the pure electric version can be driven in silence since it does not have a combustion engine. Truth be told, it’s not entirely silent as you can still hear a whining sound coming from the electric motor, though the most obtrusive noise is generated by the tires screeching on the shiny waxed wooden floor.

BMW i3 In Library

The idea behind BMW’s latest ad is to highlight the i3 is not only emissions-free, but it’s also good in the sense that it doesn’t generate noise pollution. Its nearly silent operation can make our lives more relaxing during the daily commute in a crowded city packed with cars. We should point out the i3 does make an artificial sound to alert the nearby pedestrians about its presence and reduce the risk of an impact. Such a system will actually be mandatory on all new cars sold in United States beginning with September 1, 2019 as per a rule issued late last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As a refresher, the i3 was updated last year when the EV received a bigger 33-kWh battery increasing range to 114 miles (EPA) or 300 kilometers (NEDC). A Life Cycle Impulse has been in the works for quite some time and it should be out later in the year, although we are not expecting any big styling changes considering the hatchback’s avant-garde appearance still feels very fresh.

Rumors of a performance-oriented i3S persist, so we might see it right away together with the standard facelifted car. BMW could decide to introduce the revised i3 as soon as September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Categories: BMW, Videos


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17 Comments on "BMW i3 Inside A Library?"

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The whirring electronic motor sound is addictive, I love it. Sounds like a little jet engine. I often stomp on the throttle just to hear the sound and feel the thrust (without annoying FWD tire squeal). Sometimes I actually wish the motor whine was about 10x louder at the touch of a button!

Love the sound of it too…

I love it too!

The first time I took my brother for a ride he said it sounds like a starship going to warp.

I like the driving.
Excellent Skilz.

Hey, that was with Real People too.

Hm… I remember a commercial with a woman high heels in a library. People complained about the sound her shoes made, so she drove between the isles with some kind of car. Was it an electric Smart? Can’t remember that, but I liked it more than that.

Sneaking in on people and scarring the s*** out of them…just another perk of driving electric.

I love the whine, too. So futuristic…But it is actually the controller, not the motor that produces the whine.

I like the basic idea of the commercial, but I would have preferred it if they’d actually driven a BMW i3 around a library instead of just done CGI of it.

Of course, after September 2019, in accordance with the NHTSA regulation, the vehicle in this commercial will have to emit an obnoxious “BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!”

EVs in the US already generate a sound at low speeds. That’s the whine you hear. It’s supposed to be between 45 and 60 dB and depends on the speed. The ambient noise in a library is about 45 dB. So, it’s neither obnoxious, nor is it a beep. I’ll side with the NHTSA on this. Noiseless cars in city environments are stupid.

The NHTSA rule (which was the result of a legislative mandate) goes into full mandatory effect for vehicles manufactured after September 2019, although some manufacturers have already voluntarily installed noisemakers. There is very little evidence there are increased pedestrian injuries because of quieter hybrids/BEVs. We’ll see how wise the rule seems in a few years when every new Prius and BEV is busily chirping away every time they are under 30kmh. Now if only the NHTSA could stop phones from being useable when pedestrians are walking, perhaps a much larger number of them might be saved from collisions with cars, walking into fountains, etc…

You clearly haven’t been following the science. In states that track accidents by VIN (i.e. you can tell what kind of car was involved), hybrids have been shown to be twice as likely to hit cyclists. This data is still only looking only at able-bodied individuals. There is no way for a blind pedestrian to know a silent car is approaching. It will take one lawsuit under the ADA act to shut your party down. Your choice.

I just looked at the 2017 NHTSA study, which includes data through 2011. There were a total of 125 hybrid and pedestrian/cyclist low speed HEV crashes (with no indication of severity/injuries/causes) included from 2000-2011 in all the data. How many of these involved blind people? Probably none, or one or two. People over age 55 are more likely than those younger to buy hybrids (2013 Experian data cited by Forbes), so to what extent do the statistics for increased HEV-pedestrian/cyclist collisions reflect differing driver skills? Aside from all that chirping to come as hybrids/BEVs hopefully become more common, the new rule isn’t the end of the world, but the statistical support seems pretty slim rather than conclusive. On the other hand, I daily see sighted pedestrians with ear buds in and texting with seemingly minimal awareness of their surrounding environment.

You’ve essentially offered two statistical fallacies in one comment!

“What you see on the road everyday” is anecdotal. It cannot be used to drive policy. Secondly, the population of EVs and hybrids is different from the population of ICEs. So, in order to compare the 125 crashes with that of the larger population of crashes in general, you need to divide it by the number of cars that are hybrid and non-hybrid. It’s called normalizing your data.

If this is a commercial, I imagine that it aired in Europe, because I’ve never seen a commercial for an electric car in the United States.

I saw this commercial on TV this week in the US, although I don’t recall what show I was watching (possibly Angie Tribeca…)