In the beginning battery electric cars (BEVs) were strange things, with a range of about two kilometers and a charge time of two days. They were not fast. They simply existed as an alternative to the internal combustion engine (ICE).
The Focus then went on to improve the range and the race was meant to offer 300km with a single charge. Next was the 500km mark, while more mainstream models were coming online.
Savings in petrol or diesel consumption was still a big driver, but the performance factor was starting to climb the wants and needs charts.
Nowadays, at least in South Africa, for a BEV to catch your eye, that’s all it needs to be. Affordable, offering long range, quick charging and be embarrassingly fast when out on the road.
BMW is leading in all these areas and has invited us for a quick drive in its new i4 M50i and iX3.
BMW i4 M50i
The BMW i4 M50i is the first BEV to be produced under the M banner and has driving dynamics and performance at its core.
This high-performance model uses an electric motor on the front axle and another on the rear axle.
A cool feature is that when you do a large amount of power demand for more than 10 seconds, a system called Sport Boost is triggered and gets 400kW of power and 795Nm of torque, which is brain-fast. Feels like speed.
The claimed 0 to 100 km/h is in just 3.9 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 225 km/h. The range between charges is 510km.
Did I get a chance to stretch the BMW i4 M50’s legs during our drive to return it? not even close. Pin this car for just 10 seconds and you’ll run very close to top speed before traveling far beyond 400 meters of urban and very public tar.
And it translates into a big bribe or some prison food in and around Midrand. I am eagerly waiting for my Gerotech test day.
a class act
All modern performance electric cars go like hell in a straight line, but because of the extra weight of the battery they have to lug around to power those electric motors, their handling is at best.
Also Read: Volt-Up, All-Electric BMW i4 and iX3 Priced
But this is BMW, and the center of gravity is 53mm lower than that of the BMW 3 Series sedan, ensuring even weight distribution, a torsionally rigid and weight-minimizing body and optimized aerodynamics, as well as a longer wheelbase and wider track. Makes that the handling is just as good. As this class has to give anything.
The adaptive recovery gives efficiency and an added boost with the choice of open road onshore work, as well as high, medium, low brake energy regeneration settings in D, and maximum level of recovery when in B for that specific Is. -Feeling the pedal BEV.
The BMW i4 M50 is sold locally with a complimentary Wallbox charger and free charging at any BMW Group-branded charging station.
The BMW i4 M50 you will pay attention to; The iX3 isn’t that much, even with the standard M Sport package that offers 20-inch M aerodynamic wheels and adaptive LED headlights.
It’s a BEV X3 that won’t cost you a fortune to fill up at the petrol station. And none of it is bad at all.
The BMW iX3 offers a highly integrated drive system with electric motor, transmission and power electronics in a single housing. Driving with only the rear wheels, you get 210kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
On the road, it’s one of the more general-feeling SUVs I’ve experienced. It’s still fast, with a 0 to 100 km/h of 6.8 seconds and a limited top speed of 180 km/h, but it won’t want to throw off your passengers after running up some acceleration or when you snap bad Aunt Mabel’s neck. Do pull over the traffic light.
The 80kWh battery offers a claimed range of 460km, and an overnight charge at today’s power prices, would only cost me R240.
Assuming a diesel averages around eight liters per 100 km, an oil-burner would cost around R1 000 to do the same mileage.
In South Africa the BMW iX3 is sold with a complimentary Wallbox charger and charged free of charge at any BMW Group-branded charging station.
For more information on these models, visit the manufacturer’s website.