BMW i3: Electrifyingly yours

But the material that makes up the shell looks as if it belongs to a car that has no engine in front, space for two people in the middle, and a massive engine right behind the seats. The material is proper carbon fibre. A material that’s so light, so strong and so expensive, you only find it in race cars, hypercars or crazy motorshow concepts. Not in an electric car that’s been made to save the planet and be useful around town.

By which time it comes to light that apart from London, the i3 is simultaneously being launched in New York and Beijing as well, with a satellite linking the three cities. You must have seen pictures of the car by now. And you must have already formed your opinion on the looks. It’s everything between beautiful, ugly and outright radical.

As an electric car, the i3 isn’t particularly radical. It’s a fully electric engine. You charge it by plugging it into a wall socket. With a high-powered socket, it will take three hours for a complete charge, about seven-and-a-half with a normal electric point. And 80 per cent of charge is achieved in 30 minutes. Depending on whether you are in Comfort, Eco Pro or Eco Pro+ mode, the i3 will give you a range of 160km, 180km and 200km respectively. If you don’t think much of that, you could opt for a range-extender – a two-cylinder petrol motor that generates electricity to feed the batteries to keep you going for 300km.