The i3 proves that for a car that ducks and dives around a city or cruises at dual-carriageway speeds, electricity can feel like a beautifully appropriate power source.

Of course, the lift is attached to the mains by a cable. A car doesn’t have that luxury (unless it can replace the mains by an onboard generator such as a range-extending engine or a fuel cell). So range for a battery car is a huge issue. The BMW has some mighty clever tricks to extend its range. Most of them revolve around lightness and reduced resistance to the air, and so you feel them the moment you drive.

Getting going is blissfully simple. A little horizontal drum sprouts from the steering column, with biggish rocker switch marked D-N-R, plus a button (start-stop) and another button (park). Funnily enough the engineers call that rocker switch the ’gearlever’, even though it’s not a lever and it does nothing to do with gears. All it does is switch the motor to run forwards or backwards. The transmission is a fixed single-speed reduction gar between the motor and the diff.

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DRIVEN: BMW i3 Gets Run Through The Paces By Top Gear

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