#GoUltraLow BMW i3 review part 3


BMW i3 on lorry

I was gutted to hear the news from BMW. My BMW i3 review was over.

I called to find out what time they’d be passing by to collect the BMW i3 hoping they would be massively busy and maybe we could give it back next week? You know when your head goes into scheming mode: How can I convince them to let me have it a little bit longer?

But alas it wasn’t meant to be. Geoff was waiting in the street by 8.30am; a change of plans from the initial late afternoon pick up. I had barely showered let alone clean the car but that wasn’t a problem as MY beautiful BMW i3 was to be cleaned and sent off to another person from the press to review, *sigh*.

Can you believe it? Geoff told me some of these press people don’t even use the car. Madness….

Oh the shame of a decimal point!

Thank heavens for readers of BMW i3 part 2 who spotted I had misread my electric meter and missed the decimal point. I quoted an outrageous cost for recharging the car at home – something like £27.00 where in actual fact had there been more light I would have spotted my decimal point and quoted a much happier £2.67 for a full charge. Thank you to everyone who came and left a comment.

Bitter sweet last day

We spent our very last day with the BMW i3 testing out a longer journey as we’d been invited down to Butlins at Bognor Regis to taste the brand new Scooby Doo ice creams by Beechdean. A journey of approx 85 miles.

BMW i3 sat nav

I put in the postcode using the joystick on the central control unit between the passenger seats and up came our journey with estimated time arrival and current time.

The onboard computer is totally amazing and you can add all your contacts in plus a USB for any Apple product. I didn’t do this as I knew I had to give the car back and wasn’t happy sharing all my contacts on there. However I used the Sat Nav and enjoyed the touch buttons for the various radio stations and other features on it.

I set off with a full charge and a half tank of petrol, I knew at some point I would have to recharge and it would be the perfect opportunity to see how it worked.

Re charging at motorway services

I had been set up with an Electric Highway ecotricity account and on checking the website I noticed there was one just after Crawley at Pease Pottage so I made plans to stop there on the way down to fill up both the charge and the petrol tank and that would get me safely back home.

Please note that charging at these points across the UK is completely free of charge.

The eco charger came up on the Sat Nav too so it was very easy to find what I didn’t know is that the electric charging stations will never be found alongside the petrol pumps…. BOOM!

So if you do get one of these cars, look out for them closer to the services as they’ll be there.

What I didn’t know next is the lead of the plug isn’t that long so I had to reverse the car out turn around and reverse into my parking spot again to have enough slack on the plug to reach the car.

Then I had to work the machine out. I swiped my card and chose AC charge as the DC charge wouldn’t have fit the car and sadly (and very annoyingly) I discovered that the AC charge was unavailable.

I was unable to test this part out and it did make me wonder about the service all over the country, luckily I could rely on petrol but if my car was a 100% electrical vehicle I would have been stuck.

I then made my way to the garage to fill the petrol tank.

Re fuelling at motorway services and garages

The BMW i3 fuel tank cannot be opened from the exterior of the car as per normal, there is a release button on the inside to allow the pressure in the tank to come to a normal level so when you open the flap you don’t get covered in petrol. Then fill as per normal.

Luckily for us a full tank of petrol and the rest of my charge would suffice for our journey.

Cost of full tank of petrol = £10 ish.

Pro Eco mode

En route to save charge and fuel I changed the driving mode from Comfort to Pro Eco. I noted that the car’s performance changed, the speed was deliberately kept down and a picture would come up on the computer showing me which parts of the car were affected by this change.

There is a third setting ECO mode to use in emergencies which I didn’t use as it completely shuts down the air con and it was an incredibly hot day.

bmw i3 at butlins

We arrived at Butlins with ample time to spare and had a wonderful Scooby Doo inspired day.

I had to recharge with fuel once again on my journey home just to be sure I made it and in fact when I handed over the keys the next day you can see the electric charge is empty (Geoff told me not to bother charging as the car goes on a van to go back to base) but the petrol tank was still looking very healthy.

bmw i3 total usage

Please also note that in 6 weeks I had clocked up 851.9 miles. I recharged three times (£2.67 x 3) and filled the tank 3 times too (3 x £10 ish)

Total cost for 6 weeks  = £38.01

Things I wish I’d known

I have learnt that to charge every day rather than let the charge run out completely is a much better practise.

I have learnt that if you hammer the hell out of your beautiful BMW i3 to test it’s performance your charge will be consumed more quickly.

I have learnt that for local short trips it would be better to use Pro Eco rather than Comfort and that would save charge too.

Hindsight eh?


Would I invest in an ULEV?

The answer is YES.

I would look for one that first fits our family needs and for that as I mentioned in the last post’s comments we would look for an EV that can tow our caravan. I didn’t think  there was one but I am wrong there is the Mitsubishi Outlander as Mike kindly noted.

#goultralow comment

So the prospects of change for us become even more exciting.


I haven’t been the only blogger to take part in this campaign, five different models were handed out for the same period of time and the conversations happening around these cars is really interesting. Please take a look at these models too, each blogger writes three posts during the 6 weeks so lots of information.

Actually Mummy drove a Renault Zoë

Mummy Barrow drove a Toyota Prius

Geekmummy drove a Nissan Leaf

Juggle Mum drove a Vauxhall Ampera


Lastly an enormous thank you for the Gravesend Reporter picking up on my review and spreading the #GoUltraLow campaign even further. I hope to see more of these cars on the road very soon. One last photo of my BMW i3 being packed away forever

bmw i3 lorry


  1. August 7, 2014 / 11:01 AM

    Would you hate me if I told you that Toyota have invited us to keep ours for an extra month? We have also been scheming. We even wondered about moving house so they couldnt find us. We are thrilled that we get to play with it a bit more because we are LOVING the ULEV scheme. We even took it to France with us and whilst we couldnt charge it over there, since ours is a hybrid the fuel consumption was still still lower than it would have been in our Merc.

    We are also off to put it through its paces on a proper test track to see just what a hybrid can do. I am super excited about that!

    We are going to seriously consider buying one too when we next change a car. 2p a mile is not to be sniffed at. Glad you loved your BMW as much as we loved our Prius.

    • August 11, 2014 / 8:14 AM

      LUCKY you!! Go Tanya. Of course I hate you for that. I’m really interested to hear about your trip to France because I think we all feel ‘safe’ now in the UK but abroad?
      Also wow to the test track opportunity, you’ll be taking over Top Gear next ;)

  2. August 7, 2014 / 2:11 PM

    Do you know I had imagined electric cars to be far more fiddly than that but actually doesn’t sound too bad. Sounds like you really enjoyed it!

    • August 11, 2014 / 8:15 AM

      LOVED it and not at all fiddly actually I’d go as far as saying it was idiot proof, as in driving and fuelling was so very simple to do. I got all worked up about it for no reason at all.

  3. August 7, 2014 / 5:25 PM

    Wow, I can hardly belive that under £40 got you over 800 miles, I’m really interested to find out more about these cars now. I had always just dismissed them before. Thanks, Mich x

    • August 11, 2014 / 8:16 AM

      It’s utterly amazing isn’t it. It most definitely is the future that’s for sure

  4. August 7, 2014 / 7:48 PM

    That is such amazing value, what an amazing car. I really do think this is the future for all of us with cars. We have just bought a new Citroen and even though it is. Diesel car, even that is far more economical than any other car we’ve had. I would seriously consider one of these though and I love BMW anyway.

    • August 11, 2014 / 8:17 AM

      I love BMW too, it was an amazingly smooth drive

  5. August 7, 2014 / 8:13 PM

    I would LOVE an electric car, I really would, and even more so after reading these reviews.

    • August 11, 2014 / 8:17 AM

      Me too Emma, I know we’ll be considering one when it comes to changing our current car

  6. August 8, 2014 / 8:35 AM

    I’ve really enjoyed your reviews and would now seriously consider one of these cars as my next car purchase as they look like amazing value for money x

    • August 11, 2014 / 8:19 AM

      I know, saving money is such an important part in a family that it’s silly not to look at these cars as an investment for the future not only economically but financially as well

  7. August 8, 2014 / 7:58 PM

    This has been a brilliant project to witness and I’m seriously considering swapping my Focus in the future… I fill it 3 x a month at £80 a go which is madness in comparison! x

  8. August 11, 2014 / 8:18 AM

    I say give it a year and the charging network will be even better placed to support longer journeys so definitely keep it in mind

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