well, hello there, little electric car!

That's right: We got an electric car! BMW had a half-price lease sale late last year on a tricked-out i3, and we dove in with the car showing up a few months later just before my mid-February birthday. The car has been a trip: very spacey and futuristic and, thus far, wonderful.

The i3 sports all the benefits of an electric: seat piercing acceleration and smug upper chinning when passing by petrol stations. It also sports all the limitations of an electric, namely limited range. The 140-mile range this puppy gets is plenty for tooling around town, but anything longer than 70 miles away from the house (60 to be safe) will require an off-site charge, and that can be challenging (haven't done that yet, but soon...). You can get an i3 with a range extender, an on-board gasoline-fueled generator, that buys you 40 extra miles of range, but we went all electric. An extra 40 miles didn't seem practical and worth the extra weight (and lower electric range). If you're going to go electric, you should go all the way. Consumer Reports rates the i3 as the car with highest mileage on the market.

Really digging the design of the i3. It's a little goofy, but appropriately so. It's made out of carbon fiber instead of metal, and the designers architecturally reveal that structure in a number of places, some prominent, some not. Consumer Reports describes the interior as Scandinavian Modern, which seems accurate.

The biggest surprise so far is that we may be able to get by with just a 110-volt charger. I can easily accomplish a week's worth of commuting on a single charge and then plug the i3 in for a Friday evening and lazy Saturday to recharge the batteries.

One regret on the house is not installing a 220-volt plug in the carport. Not sure what we were thinking. (Actually, I do, because we put a 220-volt plug in the garage thinking that by the time we went electric we'd prolly park in the garage. Wrong.) So getting by on 110 has been a pleasant surprise. We've lined up an electrician to spec putting in 220 to the carport. We'll probably press pause on that and see how things go.

The upticks in electric usage on this circuit are from charging the i3. It pulls 1.4 to 1.7 kW when plugged.

Here's a close-up of the charge last night as well as from Thursday night.

We got a three-year lease with plans of purchasing an electric by the end of the lease. One option will be to buy this car from BMW (definite possibility; really pleased with this thing). We also have a Tesla Model 3 reserved (and are counting on Elon being late with delivery). Regardless of what we do, there will surely be many more electrics to choose from in three years.

Top and bottom photos by me; all others lifted from BMW's web site.


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