Put the Pedal to the Wind
  Jul 23, 2019     Smart Electricity, research, Sustainable Transport, News, general, GreenCape, greentech, green economy

GreenCape has recently partnered with BMW South Africa to arrange a year-long paid-for lease of a BMW i3 electric vehicle (EV).  By replacing one of the three leased vehicles in the company fleet with the BMW i3, we hope to explore the new world of EVs, identifying some of unexpected positives and challenges in this fast emerging sector in South Africa.

Keen observers are welcome to follow our journey both here, and on twitter (@thegreencape) where we will be posting updates on our EV using the hastag #FollowourEV.

As part of the process, we've asked our staff to write down their thoughts following their first experience of driving the EV and we will periodically be publishing these. 

We thought that there was no better place to start than with the man who brokered the deal himself. A maverick of past vehicle related madness (or genius?), one of our senior energy analysts, Ian Scrimgeour. These are his thoughts:


I arrived at BMW to pick up the vehicle feeling rather bullish and consequently nearly dismissed an enthusiastic unpacking of the cars specs and abilities by the friendly Ion, from Dongard BMW in Stellenbosch. It was a good thing I didn't because there was a lot to take in - from the BMW connect drive app, wireless cellphone charging, climate management, pre-set charging options, SOS call buttons, regenerative braking, eucalyptus dashboard and 0-100km in 7s..

Climbing into the car felt like a shift between two operating systems (ios to android) or getting a new cellphone upgrade, I had to understand all the gadgets and options immediately. So much so I veered across the white line once or twice trying to zoom in and out of the NAV options, whilst using the surprisingly simple controller on the console.

But enough about the gadgets and “blade runner” aesthetics, the acceleration is childish. Every time you put your foot on the pedal you return to your youth and then quickly jump back to the present with the bewildering technology of regenerative braking. The sheer punch that this little vehicle delivers gives you just a glimpse of what battery and electric motor technology has waiting for us in the next decade.

Many have their reservations about the exterior aesthetics, but I think it is a statement, which opens the imagination to the change we are going to see. So before you dismiss the experience because of your infinite wisdom, knowledge and preconditioned taste, take the i3 for a spin and listen to the wind pass you by.


~ Ian Scrimgeour, Senior Energy Analyst.