BMV i3 review: Cut costs and plug into the future
Research suggests that 26% of car buyers think electric cars are more expensive to run than conventional combustion-engined cars, but that may not actually be the case.
The Go Ultra Low study revealed the average annual maintenance costs for a petrol or diesel car are around £400 — as well as this essential work keeping the car off the road for two days.
Yet the average annual servicing costs for an electric car come in at a more modest £94.
With fewer moving parts and also fewer consumables such as engine oil and spark plugs, electric cars spend less time off the road.
A previous study by Go Ultra Low also revealed that electric cars cost a sixth as much to run — 2p per mile versus 12p — giving a saving of £750 based on 7,500 miles a year.
Then we were set an even more frugal challenge - was it possible to enjoy a trip out, travelling by electric car, and spend less than a fiver?
That's how we found ourselves cruising down the M5 in BMW's eye-catching i3 electric car. It's an intriguing prospect inside and out, looking like nothing else on the road and a project of the near future rather than now.
With a fully charged battery costing less than £2, the i3 promised a range in excess of 90 miles, more than enough for our 40-mile journey.
It's also up to you how you drive. In full Eco Pro mode the i3 will encourage you to keep your speed down in order to extend the range, but there's nothing to stop you from hurrying along at 70mph or more. The truth is the experience is more pleasurable at lower speeds, as the silent powertrain does its thing.
The cabin is just as smart as the exterior, with a free-floating dashboard and big glazed area creating an airy cocoon, with gadgets you'd find in any other premium car; satnav, heated seats, climate control - all taken care of.
Thanks to its compact dimensions, parking was a cinch. Better still, charging points are popping up everywhere, with a number of stations dotted around towns and cities and in major car parks allowing you to top up while you shop or enjoy some leisure time.
You can cut and thrust with the best of them - the i3's acceleration is surprisingly strong - but that misses the point.
A less hurried approach is good for you and the environment, and that's a bonus of electric cars that should be embraced.