So a funny thing has happened to my family since getting our 2017 Volt. We've been car enthusiasts for a long time and have had a plethora of mid-performance vehicles from GTIs and MINIs to various BMWs. Most recently, our daily drivers have been a BMW M235i coupe and a Porsche Macan S.
My job requires me to drive around from school to school in the district and pays me for my mileage. I've wanted an electric car for a while and decided it made sense to swap the 2 for the Volt. I average about 30 miles a day and the 2's fuel economy in town was kind of ridiculous for such a small car. Not to mention its performance capabilities were just woefully wasted on the streets of our little town. Well, not always wasted, actually sometimes a nuisance. The 25 mph speed zones around the schools were laughably easy to accidentally break in a tiny car with 322 hp, as evidenced by an official warning from Russellville's finest.
So we made the decision to part ways with the 2 and get the Volt, and the realities of driving an electric car started to take hold. I drove for two weeks straight without using a drop of gas. At my local electrical rates, I've done a back-of-the-envelope calculation and figured that since I use about half the car's charge for a typical daily commute, I spend about $0.22 per day in electricity. The district pays me $0.42 per mile to drive, so there's a win.
My other half, excuse me better half, has been using the Macan as his daily driver. While that car is audibly rewarding and the fit and finish is second to none at that price, it just started becoming more and more obvious that the 17 mpg in town he was getting compared to my 'infinite' mpg was maybe not so worth it. So we started toying around with the idea of getting a second electric car. Initially we thought it would be best to wait for the Bolt but we decided it would be best to get something with a range extender like the Volt. Arkansas is called 'The Natural State' for a reason. Lots of instances where trips can be long and civilization can be far between.
The problem is, range-extended electric cars are...well....quite limited. The Prius Prime was a nope from the moment I saw the new generation. Ick. Ford's C Max was also a nope, kinda for the same reason. We've been Bimmer fans for a long time and that brought us to the i3.
Now in the exterior looks department, it's kind of difficult to give the i3 any accolades. The Volt has a sleek, aerodynamic design that is visually appealing. The i3 is kind of the antithesis to that. Blocky, upright, weird. But getting in and driving it made the decision for us. Acceleration produces giggles and the interior is like stepping into a modern artsy apartment.
So earlier this week, we said goodbye to the Macan and hello to the 2017 BMW i3 REx. She'll do around 100 mi on a charge, and up to 180 mi with the range extender. Unlike the Volt, the i3's range extender (being a 2 cylinder) isn't capable of producing enough energy for the battery to keep it running at interstate speeds, but it is more than capable to keep it running at normal highway speeds. So the Volt will become our longer distance cruiser, and the i3 will more or less be for shorter journeys.
Now we're day-dreaming of a few years from now when we can install a large solar array in the field behind the house to provide all the electricity we need for home and transport.
Before getting the Volt, I would never in my right mind have imagined getting rid of a car like the Macan for something like the i3. But really, driving a car like the Volt can change a person.