Matthias Horx  Futurist

Future Perfect - Future Products

Here we write about products, services, design and experiences that have beamed us into the future.

Our Electric Car Evolution - From the Think to the BMW i3

By Oona Strathern

BMW i3

As electric cars go, we have moved a long way up the evolutionary chain since we moved into our Future Evolution House. Our very first was the bubbly Norwegian "Think" which looked so cute we nearly gave it a pet name. We then progressed to a great zippy little Mitsubishi i-Miev, then on to try what my family called (not without a certain amount of humour) a typical ladies’ car – the smoothly designed Renault Zoe. While I gloated about how I could sneak smugly into tiny parking spaces, the men (my husband and two boys aged 17 and 21) preferred the long Opel Ampera (a range extender with approx 30km electric range) with it’s sexy low slung body.

But everything changed when the new BMW i3 electric car arrived. The family said to me very firmly, "Don’t drive it, you really won’t like it, it’s not a women’s car". Now I have driven it I know why. They want it to themselves. For the first time, we are actually fighting about who is allowed to drive when we go out together. If our dog could talk, she would probably be petitioning to take the wheel too!

It was not quite love at first sight – more like, love at first fright. It looks strange, but in a good way. The kind of way, that when you are driving about people stare. At first it was a bit disturbing driving down the street and noticing that every 2nd (male) person was turning to look at the car. But now I wonder what is wrong with them if they don’t turn to look! Once while I was waiting in a dark garage for a friend I noticed people were circling around the car like sharks not sure if they wanted to take a bite. They were so curious that they didn’t notice me, and I heard all sorts of strange remarks.

Once when I was parked on a street a boy of about 10 came running towards the car, exclaiming to his father, "look it’s the electric BMW i3". His father wasn’t convinced and certainly not impressed. Not until I showed him the carbon fibre body, the fact the back door opens the other way, the roomy interior with its cool fibre recyclable panels, and gushed about the acceleration and range.

Thanks to the car I have had more talks with complete strangers in the last few months than at any other time in my life. It is, without doubt, a car to win over the e-car skeptics.