BusinessCar Awards 2015 - Green of Model of the Year: BMW i3
27 January 2015
BMW's electric i3 has done it again, collecting our Green Model of the Year award after taking the prize last year. BMW's i sub-brand launched in late 2013 with this model, and its lightweight design and environmentally conscious production have made a big impact on the car industry.
The sub-brand recently expanded with the launch of the i8 eco supercar, but it's the i3 supermini that is more suited to company car lists.
It comes in two guises: full electric with a 125kW battery and good for 118 miles, or as a range-extender, with a 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine that sits above the electric motor (itself in between the rear wheels) increasing the range to 160-186 miles.
With zero-tailpipe emissions in full EV guise and a mere 13g/km as a range-extender, it's well and truly clean enough to qualify for this award category, which dictates that any entrant must emit no more than 75g/km of CO2.
The way the i3 is manufactured adds to its green credentials. The carbon fibre from which the body is made is produced using power generated by hydro-electric plants. It's renewable, green and cheap.
The car didn't pave the way for mass market EVs in the UK.
That accolade goes to the Nissan Leaf, and it's been joined by more competitors in the segment this year. But even compared with the likes of the Volkswagen eGolf and Kia Soul EV it's still the i3 that comes out on top thanks to its running costs, in part due to a better residual value performance. Its cost per mile of 51.3p can't be beaten by rivals in the market.
There is competition in the premium EV segment from the Tesla Model S, but the huge differences between the two cars (notably price and running costs) mean the i3 is still a clear winner.