History is littered with cars that supposedly arrived before their time, commercial failures not because they didn’t excite people but because they were ahead of the curve, often too clever or simply too expensive to be appreciated. The BMW i3 is anther to add to that list.

Recent decades have provided ample examples for apologists to consider, many having put environmental considerations at their heart long before enough people cared about such things.

Examples include the Audi A2 (176,000 sales over six years), notable for its use of lightweight aluminium to maximise efficiency if not build and repair costs; the original Mercedes-Benz A-Class (1.1m