The BMW i3 was recently awarded the Game Changer of the Year award at the annual Cars.co.za Consumer Awards.
Game-changing products can have a significant impact on the new vehicle market in a variety of ways, including: increasing sales volumes, introducing new technology, improving brand perception or simply representing a vast product improvement. Judges selected the finalists in this category from all the new vehicles that were launched in the South African market during 2015. The BMW i3 won the category despite going up against the Volvo XC90 and Ford Everest, both of which were strong contenders.
Why did the BMW i3 win?
The BMW i3 is not the first electric car to go on sale in South Africa, but it could be the EV that jolts the electric revolution into motion. With its revolutionary architecture, futuristic design and overall quality, the i3 has captured the public's imagination. The newcomer's quick off the mark, remarkably refined and, given the desirability of the BMW brand, the i3 represents a convincing trailblazer for the age of the electric car.
Unlike some other EV offerings, the i3 is not based on the platform of an existing internal-combustion powered vehicle. Instead, the LifeDrive architecture is based on a flat floor (incorporating the powertrain), with a super strong passenger cell mounted on top and made from advanced materials such as carbon-fibre. Instead of hiding its unique construction, BMW celebrates it by leaving many of the most important details exposed – such as the carbon fibre weave, which is visible in the door sills.
BMW and Nissan have teamed up to develop the electric car charging infrastructure in South Africa. This crucial move should accelerate the acceptance of electric cars in South Africa.
The single-minded pursuit of efficiency and eco-friendliness is also evident inside, where the minimalism is celebrated by the use of excellent materials – KENAF, for example, is a member of the cotton family and very sustainable. Then there’s the fact that the factory that builds the i3 is 100% powered by electricity generated from sustainable sources.
Opinions from the judges
“Right now I would say the BMW i3 is the single most important car I’ve driven in 15 years of doing this job. I can’t give it higher praise than that. It is exactly the type of car that is needed to break down barriers to greater electric car acceptance. And the design… well, that actually plays a big part in its desirability. It is extremely bold. Very confident. And I like it very, very much” Hannes Oosthuizen
“Perhaps it's the radical choice of materials - much of the interior is recycled and the textiles are bamboo - that inspired the i3's designers to break so drastically from convention, but the i3's interior is the freshest I've seen in a decade. It feels like a concept car that escaped from the design studio before anyone could make it dull. The i3 offers is a wonderfully modern, comfortable cabin to commute in, and hopefully all BMWs (and cars in general) will look and feel like this in the future...” Ciro de Siena
BMW i3 driven and reviewed in South Africa: Why it's so good