Video: EV/BMW Newbie Drives BMW i3 – Is Shocked By Its Performance


We must admit that we love all videos that are like this one you’ll see here.

BMW i3 on the Highway

BMW i3 on the Highway

An EV newbie getting his or her first go in an electric is almost always an eye-opening experience.

Here, an EV newbie (BMW newbie, too) samples a friend’s BMW i3.

To says he’s amazed would be an understatement.

There’s definitely EV grins throughout the video (some wow-related chuckles, too).

For i3 fans, the comparison made is that the electric BMW performs on par with a Cooper S, which is a remarkable machine in its own right.

Category: BMWVideos

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22 responses to "Video: EV/BMW Newbie Drives BMW i3 – Is Shocked By Its Performance"
  1. David Murray says:

    I wish the Leaf and Volt could subtract about 1-2 seconds from their 0-60 times. Right now they are considered “fast enough” for daily driving, but not really fast enough to impress anyone in their 0-60 times. Performance does actually sell cars.

    1. Suprise Cat says:

      The worlds most sold car models don’t have faster acceleration.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Both Corolla and VW Jetta/Polo are faster than the LEAF in 0-60mph which takes about 10 seconds.

        Even the Prius is faster than the LEAF.

        Volt is only slightly faster than the Prius at 8.5s – 8.9s in 0-60mph which can use about 1-2 seconds improvement…

        Most midsized family sedan today are in the sub 8 seconds range in 0-60mph with V-6 engine.

        Volt would need a much larger battery to achieve that since peak power is potentially 10C discharging rate….

        1. Open-Mind says:

          Am I doing this calculation wrong?

          16,500 W-hours / 370 volts = 44.6 Amp-hours

          44.6 Amp-hours * 10C = 446 Amp max discharge rate

          446 Amps * 370 Volts = 165,000 W = 165kW = 221 horsepower

          That would seem to agree with this DOE analysis:

          Figure 5 of that PDF shows pulse power rates of 150kW=200HP (near empty) to 300kW=400HP (near full).

          Scaling this, I think that means the current Volt only allows a 7C discharge rate. If that can be safely scaled to 10C, then it should be possible extract 220HP from the existing battery.

          But I’m new to these battery calculations, so I might be missing something. 🙂

          1. Open-Mind says:

            While researching the above, I also stumbled across this:

            A Volt software mods that allows it to go 0-60MPH in under 6 seconds.

            I suspect that voids the hell out of your warranty, especially if big-brother-Onstar is watching! 😉

          2. Brian says:

            Your numbers are correct, but there’s a much easier way to do this calculation:

            16,500 Wh * 10C = 165,000 W (165kW)

        2. Suprise Cat says:

          No. VW Polo Trendline 1.0 3 Cylinder, 44 kW, 5 gears: 0-100 km/h: 15.5 s
          VW Polo Comfortline, 1.0 3 Cylinder, 55 kW, 5 gears: 0-100 km/h: 14.3 s

          Toyota Corolla
          1.3 l 4 Cylinder, 73 kW, 6 gears: 0-100 km/h: 12.6 s
          1.4 l diesel, 4 Cylinder, 66 kW, 6 gears: 0-100 km/h: 12.5 s
          1.6 l, 4 Cylinder, 97 kW, gear-free automatic, 0-100 km/h: 11.1 s

          Of cause, you can choose higher powered engines, but this are the most sold standard configurations.

      2. Mint says:

        It doesn’t matter. If you want to stand out and take on the giants, then you need a hook, and performance is perfect for EVs.

        Induction motors need way less raw material than an equal power ICE. They’re so efficient that cooling systems can be spec’d to handle an order of magnitude less heat (e.g. a 200kW EV will waste maybe 50kW at most, while a 200kW ICE needs to dissipate ~600kW of heat). $500 of IGBTs will get you massive power handling in the controller.

        Make an EV go 0-60 in 6s and $30k will look like a steal compared to $25k for a 9s 0-60. Look at how much more an Evo costs compared to regular Lancer, or STI vs Impreza. Look at a M3 vs 335i vs 320i. It’ll probably only need $1000 more in parts/assembly.

  2. DocDragon says:

    “… it may be not the most beautiful car…” *LOL*

    I still keep thinking that BMW missed a great opportunity to manufacturer a typical BMW-looking EV car — and they would have had a no-brainer on the market that could have blown away the competition in this price range! I wouldn’t mind the “futuristic looks” of the interior, but what sells is the first impression when you look at a car — IMHO.

    1. Tim says:

      Totally agree.

  3. Suprise Cat says:

    btw detailed new car registration for Germany out now.

    BMW i3: 159
    i3 Rex: 70
    C-Cero: 2
    Focus EV: 5
    Soul EV: 2
    A-Klasse: 1
    i-miev: 3
    Outlander PHEV: 3
    Leaf: 71
    Ampera: 16
    Ion: 2
    Zoe: 48
    Smart ED: 106
    Prius Plugin: 10
    e-Up!: 109
    Volvo PHEV: 32
    Model S: 30
    Tesla Roadster: 1

    1. DaveMart says:

      Is that for January?
      I thought Tesla sold 31 in that month.

  4. James says:

    I remember stopping by a Toyota dealer on a whim to drive a hybrid.
    A Highlander hybrid, fresh off the truck sat in front of me with all the options.

    Putting my foot on the brake and pressing the “ON” switch was very
    new and strange to me. Even stranger and exciting, was driving through
    the lot full electric and when the salesman said – It’s on, just press the
    “gas” and go! The silence was deafening – I was hooked!

    I didn’t run out and buy a hybrid, but that experience was burned into
    my cerebral cortex. I remember telling people how neat it felt to be silently
    running around with zero engine noise and using no gas.

    Planting those seeds in me, reading daily news of how O.P.E.C. nations
    hated us, threatened us, and feeling like a puppet on a string ( also attached
    to my wallet ) – I knew I really wanted a hybrid, now how to tell my
    expecting wife a Prius would have enough room for two kids…hmmm.

    These videos are fun because it’s just like the times you and I first climbed into
    a BEV or EREV and punched it. There is no reference point to anything
    you’ve ever driven before – it’s a giddy, surreal experience. I bought a hybrid
    and now an EREV, and will buy the first Tesla that sells for a price that
    is not half that of my house.

    It reminds us how important it is to share the EV experience with friends,
    associates and family. They will not forget it.

    Watching YouTube videos for a few years now of people’s first ride or drive
    in a Tesla product. There’s tons of “whoa”s and “weeee”s and “wow!”s .
    This one was my very favorite of all time:

    It’s funny watching tried-and-true gearheads like Adam Carolla gush about how
    quick, fast and smooth the Model S is while going for a drive on camera.

    EVs are the future – we need to spread the word. When Volt first came out,
    I took folks for drives and all were impressed by the quicker-than-expected
    instant torque. Problem then as now, is the public perception that EVs are
    very expensive. i3 is very expensive, especially for an 80 mile BEV. Volt is
    no longer expensive, nor LEAF, iMiev or even FocusEV – especially by

    The next hurdle for us as enthusiasts and automakers hoping to make
    a profit from BEVs is to provide a quick, smooth, silent quality BEV,
    PHEV or EREV that isn’t in the luxury car price range.

    1. David Stone says:

      “reading daily news of how O.P.E.C. nations
      hated us, threatened us, and feeling like a puppet on a string”

      And the daily news neglects to qualify that with information on why they hate you and threaten you and that you are a puppet on the strings of western oil companies and western governments who fight alot to keep it that way.

  5. ffbj says:

    Exactly. Well Said!

  6. Nix says:

    Can’t wait for the aftermarket tuners to get ahold of one of these. Chop a second or two off the 0-60 and retrofit a bigger gas tank into one with a gas motor, and this will be an absolutely killer car.

    1. Open-Mind says:

      Already been done to the Volt, except they chopped 3 seconds off, giving the Volt sub-6 second times. See video above.

      I’m a bit surprised nobody seems to care. That’s an amazing improvement from just software tweaks! It’s not a commercial product, but there is a 20+ page blog describing all the details for the technical and brave.

      1. Nix says:

        Yea, I saw that, but it would have been much more impressive if he could manage to get it to work without it throwing a code and going into limp mode and cutting power. That is where the professional tuners come in. They can invest the kind of money and time and tools into putting out a professional tune that won’t go into limp mode.

        1. Open-Mind says:

          From the gm-volt blog I read … he is a professional tuner. He was just making these mods as an experiment/hobby on his own personal 2013 Volt. The limp mode he triggered was just some threshold he missed. Easily fixable … I think that’s why he chuckled when it happened. He was also working to improve the efficiency of the engine to increase mileage, etc. And he did all this in a few days.

          None of this will be a commercial mod, since there are not enough Volts to justify it. But it does show in explicit detail exactly what a “Volt SS” could do with just a few software tweaks from GM. In normal mode, it could be just as efficient and silent as today, yet in sport mode it could be a rocket. I”m sure GM applied some of these same tweaks to the ELR, but clearly GM could have taken it much farther.

  7. Mikael says:

    Haha… it’s kind of fascinating that the accent can tell you that they are from Sweden and more exactly from Stockholm (even before they start speaking swedish).

  8. zoe-driver says:

    The i3 is very good in driving, but verly slow in charging as well. And its very inefficient in charging. Users report 25%-30% losses. But acceleration is good.