2014 BMW i3: Fits My Current Lifestyle
August 3, 2015
Naively, I once thought electric cars would never fit my lifestyle. But that thought occurred in my pre-parent days, back when I used to drive long distances (places like Montana) on a regular basis.
Now I pretty much only go to work, the grocery store and the playground, and I'm finding our long-term 2014 BMW i3 quite practical for those activities. Its slightly elevated ride height helps me prevent back injury while getting my kid and kid accessories in and out, and its gargantuan interior storage slots make it even more endearing.
Also, it turns out there are a lot of places to charge near my home, so if I owned one, I wouldn't necessarily need to get a 240-volt charging unit installed in my garage.
Using the BMW i Remote app to find those charging locations was a fool's errand, though. I don't know if the iOS version is any good, but the Android version of this app crashed every time I tried to pinch-zoom on the map. Then I installed Plugshare. I guess I've been living under a rock, but what a great app. It works beautifully.
That's how I found this charging unit at Whole Foods in Pasadena. Nissan apparently pays for four 240-volt units in the store's parking garage. Unfortunately, they're part of the Volta network rather than Chargepoint, so we won't be able to track electricity usage.
However, I did get my shopping done while the i3 charged, and the wild-caught salmon was on sale. Coincidentally, a black BMW i3 backed out of this spot right before I pulled into it. On my way into the store, I spotted a Volkswagen e-Golf charging in another spot. This is EV territory alright.
One more note on practicality: With its narrow footprint and surround-view camera system, BMW's entry-level EV is also extremely easy to street-park.
The reverse-opening rear doors are a slight disadvantage when unloading passengers from the driver side on narrow streets (with two-way traffic) like this one. You have to open the front doors before you can open the rear doors, so everything sticks out farther. As a result, I got a few chilly stares while trying to get my daughter out of her car seat. It turned out we were in the thick of a mini rush hour because, gads, the nearby farmers market was about to close.
I dashed off to buy some peaches.
Erin Riches, Deputy Editor