The automobile industry is facing a paradox of sorts regarding where to fund its insatiable appetite for energy in the future. Oil, let’s face it, won’t be around forever and while the jury is out on whether electricity can take over the mantel, it hasn’t stopped everyone from trying. If indeed electricity is the future of the automobile then how different would luxury motoring be considering electricity goes beyond the realms of conventional yardsticks on how we judge a car.
Thus to find that out, we took the BMW i3s for a spin as it is a significant car that bridges the past, present and the future of the luxury automobile. The i3 was started out as a blank canvas on how to make a modern day luxury automobile with electricity at its core DNA. With the i3, BMW entered the electric mobility space way before its rivals and was one of the first to dip its toes into the world of EVs.
However today electric mobility is on the cusp of being mainstream and there is no doubt that disregard for the environment and sheer opulence will not cut in the modern age as luxury with a conscience is the way to go.
Thus a car like the BMW i3s when viewed through the prism of sustainability shows how luxury can be done with the environment being kept firmly in sight. For example its interior combines natural leather tanned using an olive leaf extract with a wool-based textile material. Plus it uses recycled plastics, renewable raw materials, natural fibres and open-pored, unbleached eucalyptus wood. Over 80 percent of the surfaces visible to the passengers are made from recycled materials or renewable resources.
Yet the interior looks unlike anything else and since it has been designed from the start to be an EV, there is no transmission tunnel or even a B-pillar! Hence those suicide doors not only add to the sense of occasion plus are also useful for a graceful ingress and egress. That fresh ideology can also be sensed with the way the i3s drives.
It can be argued that utmost luxury can also be equated with completely removing oneself from the sensation of driving and that is where an electric power train makes a case for itself. You are ensconced in silence as the i3s goes about its duty with complete nonchalance. With an electric motor there is instant thrust and that gives a smooth and relaxing driving experience.
As far as luxury motoring goes that is indeed aces.
But along with that, the way the i3s approaches the concept of driving is what endears to me the most. It is a complex in theory but simple in execution. It is compact in size yet feels airy and commodious inside. There is a buzzing energy about it’s sharply cut lines and the fact that it wears its EV credentials proudly on its sleeve rather than try to blend in. It looks unlike anything else.
Thus the i3s brings in a new layer of desirability to the luxury automobile in a way no conventional automobile has done. It shows the future of mobility and sustainability can indeed co-exist with luxury. So yes the luxury car in safe hands but expect things to be a bit different, that’s all.
|Engine||Electric Drive System|
|0-100 kmph||7.2 Seconds|
|Safety||ABS , Driveline Traction control, ESC|
|Price, ex-showroom||1.0 Cr*(Mumbai)|