There may be disquiet about its gentle rate of climb, but the electric car has – at last, once and for always – taken off.
The presence of cars like the BMW i3 can no longer be ignored. Experts are already predicting the year when EVs will account for a million registrations around the world. While every motorshow suggests that the pace at which EV technology is progressing is off the charts, with the 2017 Frankfurt show already predicting battery ranges in excess of 600 miles and charging times that will rival the amount of time it takes to refill a conventional combustion engine, by the end of this decade.
A roll call of a few of the big introductions of 2013 shows seemed to be behind the big breakthrough, with the Renault Zoe proving that EVs can be cheap, the Tesla Model S that they can be grand and the Porsche 918 Spyder that they can be supercars. It’s as if every new example represents a significant step forward for the breed.
Fast forward four years and the market is awash with options from hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq, through to the Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Passat GTEs, Volvo's T8s and the Honda NSX. While the electric market has seen Tesla stretching its capability with the Model S and Tesla Model X, alongside the continuing development of the Volkswagen e-Golf, Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, while others are considering entering the market for the first time - as Jaguar are with the i-Pace.
But one of the first to the party, particularly from the premium segment's point of view was the BMW i3, the first battery-powered series production BMW. It is the battery car done with evident freedom, imagination and commitment and then draped in European premium-brand allure.