James May Wants a Range Extended BMW i3

BMW i3 1 photo
Photo: BMW
The BBC’s Top Gear trio can do basically anything you could think of with a car except offer actual consumer advice on it. They probably think there are other formats out there better fitted to do that (like Tiff’s Fifth Gear, for example) or they just don’t care about ‘regular’ people any more.
That idea has been going around for years now and the guys seem to have embraced it. Furthermore, their episodes are more inclined towards showcasing the humor in their work and the relationship between three aging men that know a thing or two about cars.

Each of them has a particular persona they portray on the screen every Sunday night (when the show is on, of course), each addressing a certain demographic. While Jeremy is the ‘crazy about power’ dude, James May represents the more sensible side, the one that actually cares about future generations and not just obliterating everything in his way. That’s probably why he’s often called Captain Slow.

Well, you see, Captain Slow recently sat down with BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours Bank Holiday Monday Special and talked about the future of mobility. With such a subject at hand, electric cars couldn’t’ve been avoided and along with them neither could the BMW i3, the Germans’ first EV.

Speaking of the i3, James actually showed a great deal of interest in the matter, actually claiming that he’s buying one for himself in the future, one fitted with the Range Extender though, as he’s afraid of getting stuck on the side of the road, because of the still adjusting recharging infrastructure:

“In terms of technology, the electric car works perfectly well,” May said. “The problem is still electricity, the difficulty in charging, the difficulty in storing it. You do still have to think ahead.”

“I sort of want to be part of the ‘experiment’. I don’t know what the answer is — or if a car like the i3 is the long term future of the car. It’s not that small. It’s actually quite roomy inside. It’s almost a small people carrier,” May said about his purchasing of an i3.

However, his decision baffles us, especially since he admitted that the new car won’t be used for long trips. He has a ... Ferrari for that. Poor guy.

If that’s the case, a pure electric model would’ve made more sense from all points of view. The acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) is faster by 0.7 seconds (7.2 vs 7.9), the car is lighter by 200 lbs (90 kg) and has a greater range than its hybrid brother.

Even so, it’s still commendable that James decided to go this way. If we were to bet on who of the three would be the first to join in the EV game, our money would’ve been on him from the start, hands down. He is the only one of the bunch that has a ‘normal’ car after all (a Fiat Panda) and he’s also the only one that shows any sign of logic and reason throughout the show.
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