Wednesday, December 19, 2018


If you follow DRIVING & LIFE you will know I am really a rev-head dinosaur, not yet ready and willing to surrender and embrace new tech, and that my biggest complaint about BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) in Australia, is that we re-charge them via a coal-fired electricity grid – ergo, no real environmental benefits Down Under.

However, I like to keep track of BEV development, after my brief road test of a BMW i3 ( – 8/12/2016).

I quite enjoyed the driving experience, and technically speaking the only real technology news, was that almost all of the vehicle was constructed using carbon-fibre.

I guess that helps to explain why the i3 is so expensive.

Well it seems like the Gnomes of Munch├źn have had a big re-think, because the 2019 version of the i3 almost completely eschews carbon fibre.

BMW has announced that next year’s car will be built using more conventional materials like aluminium, high-strength steel and some alloy castings. There’s not much difference in the weight, but the cost of manufacture has dropped considerably.

I wonder if that will be reflected in the normal customer-gouging approach in the BMW AG accountancy division, which sets the retail prices? I was dreamin' - probably not!

Moving down the road from Munich to Wolsfburg comes news that the 2016 VW I.D. EV concept is to become a reality in 2020. Now doubt it will be announced at the IAA in Frankfurt in September next year.

There are few details, but VW says it will have a range of about 550km, and cost about the same as a Golf Diesel. It will be built on VW’s ‘MEB’ platform and it is likely to be badged as the ‘NEO’.

The NEO will come with two battery pack options – a 43kWh and 111 kWh, with top speed limited to 157km/h; because EVs lose a lot of battery life when driven continuously at high speed. Not sure how VW will cope with its German customers’ penchant for max speed on the autobahnen!

The concept looks interesting, but expect to see the rear ‘suicide doors’ ditched on the production version.

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