The Model 3 is the standout, Zen-of-zero-emissions electric vehicle that is meeting peoples hopes and wishes straight on. Even though I don’t have a Model 3, I’d agree with anyone singing Model 3 praises. I have ridden in one many times, and I’ve previously written about the expansive back seat experience in a Tesla Shuttle. The praise the Model 3 gets is well deserved.
Yet, I believe there is a wide energized diversity of other choices in electric cars — and some are high quality for the money if you look around. In fact, I find it difficult to believe I would want a Model 3 for any reason other than the larger range due to my perfect experience with the BMW i3 in the mountains of North Carolina. The i3 seems to me, and many others, the coolest EV out there, as confirmed by reactions and feedback from many a first-time rider in the passenger seat of the BMW i3 (or first-time i3 drivers in some cases).
I have been test driving electric cars for years, many versions of the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt, the Chevy Bolt, the C-Max Energi, and more. I drove a Nissan Leaf for 3 years and almost 36,000 miles.
There is just something that is uniquely perfect in the style and form of the BMW i3 for me. It is spacious yet compact, as odd as that sounds. The spaciousness is part of the perfect interior ambiance — the driver’s and passenger’s fortunate view (looking out), the generous deep windows of the i3, the recycled and flowing dash that dips down organically. One moves easily into the front seats with a moment of — oh, yes, this is so nice.
First-time riders notice and enjoy the class and high standards that BMW has offered for decades. Many knew nothing about the electric car value and only became interested due to the EV being a BMW.
Once inside the i3, the impact of their fresh electric car experience dawned on them suddenly and took hold, a wow moment. Silence, instant torque, the airborne sensation of the smoother EV ride. Some mentioned the i3 seems like an SUV. It’s not, but the feeling is understandable. The height, with the deep windows, make it seem larger than it is. Certainly, it you have a family, it is tighter in terms of room for everyone and everything. But for Grandma and a passenger — it is perfect.
All of this you may have heard before, as generally it is agreed — yes, the BMW i3 is a perfect around-town car. But people warn to think again if you are more of a traveler.
Curves are a constant, as the Appalachian mountain roads wind up, down, and around continuously. The BMW i3 seems made for these particular roads. The i3 smoothly hugs and swiftly moves with such agility through them — it feels that those curves were made for this sporty EV.
The roads from Hendersonville to the cottage out of town are not wide. They are simple two-lane roads with just enough for each vehicle to pass. Nothing more. Living a bit out of town, I find it is easy to access two cities, and will visit more in time. I am looking forward to trying out the i3 in Bryson City, Sylva, and Cherokee, where the steeper inclines become breathtaking and inner ears pop as with flight.
It is about a 30 minute drive to Asheville. The i3 seems to love the long stretch of backroads curving this way and that — flying while hugging the points of gravity. Aerodynamics! The i3 is so light that the range seems to decrease ever so slowly even while its movement excels.
In Florida, I was an exceedingly slow driver and made everyone wait for me, not going 1 mile per hour over the speed limit. Yet, in these hills, these mountains, I feel myself wanting to move more like the protagonist in an Italian film flying rapido! I feel so safe and can sense the fine control of the i3 due to its inherent agility and responsiveness.
The following video is exacting and similar to some experiences I have had high up in North Carolina. The difference is perhaps just Colorado vs. North Carolina mountain views and roads. Ours in North Carolina seem a bit shy in width of what is seen in this video.
Often times, as one gets higher, deeper up the Appalachians, our view is so blocked by trees. One can only guess if there is a guard rail around the corner, and how far the drop is. Certainly, the green of the trees is everywhere in western North Carolina. Winter will be another story. Some curves tempt one to fly — but caution is indeed needed, as the forests camouflage all points ahead.
I hope you enjoy Andre Smirnov’s style as much as I do. He is pleasantly relaxed and detailed while sharing information regarding the nuances of the BMW i3S, a sportier version of the i3 than ours, in another edition of “Electric Car vs. the Mountain.”
Images by Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica