BusinessCar Awards 2016: Green Model of the Year - BMW i3
26 January 2016
The i3 may be no spring chicken but the small electric vehicle has secured the Green Model of the Year award for the third year running.
It boasts zero emissions (at least in pure-electric form), futuristic styling and an engaging driving experience that doesn't sacrifice behind-the-wheel satisfaction in pursuit of lower emissions.
Despite being launched as long ago as 2013, the i3 looks no less radical than it did then. Meanwhile, the prospect of up to 100 miles of real-world range from the pure-electric version makes it a usable everyday machine for many fleet drivers. Performance from the electric motor is also strong: it goes silently and rapidly from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds.
That's quick enough to see off the potent 67.3mpg diesel Golf GTD. The inclusion of a range-extender version in the line-up (it packs a 650cc, two-cylinder petrol motor underneath the boot floor) adds to the fleet appeal of the i3.
It bumps up the typical 'customer range', as BMW calls it, from around 100 miles to 186 miles, with half of that possible using electricity alone. The extra weight of the petrol motor does dent acceleration somewhat, with the 0-62mph time increasing to 7.9 seconds. However, considering that a Nissan Leaf takes 11.5 seconds for the same sprint, the i3 still feels very much like a BMW.
Emissions, meanwhile, are just 13g/km, and the official economy figure is 470.8mpg, reinforcing the fact that users who can charge at home or the office should be able to drastically slash their fuel bills.
While the i3 can't match the real-world range of the mightily impressive Tesla Model S, and will cost fleets more than the similarly sized Nissan Leaf to purchase, what it does do is present a highly desirable zero-emissions option that must offer the greatest feel-good factor per pound.