It’s testament to the advanced design of the i3 that it picks up our Green Award for the second year running. BMW’s city runabout is at the cutting edge of electric car technology, with a host of advanced features showcasing exactly what the company’s engineers can do when given a free rein to maximise efficiency. But perhaps what’s even better is that the i3 is easily one of the most user-friendly electric cars on sale today.
The one-box design marks it out as unlike any other BMW, and clever packaging means there’s lots of space inside. The back doors are rear hinged so there’s a wide opening which makes it incredibly easy to get in and out. Driving is a simple matter of pressing the start button and putting the column-mounted shifter into drive.
The skinny tyres have been designed with efficiency in mind, so while the i3 isn’t as sharp as BMW’s sports models, it’s nimble enough for city duties. Plus, the batteries are mounted low to keep handling sharp. The i3 really is all the car you’ll ever need if you’re in town, but BMW also offers the option of the i3 Range Extender if you find yourself far from a charging point. However, plan your charging stops right and you may never hear the petrol motor fire into life.
Last year we claimed that driving an i3 is like driving the future, and this statement rings just as true today as it did 12 months ago.
i3 with Range Extender (£29,310 inc £5k grant)
The i3 range extender offers the best of both worlds. It has the same 168bhp electric motor and 100-mile range, and looks and feels as special as the regular car. But a two-cylinder generator kicks in when the batteries run flat. No range anxiety; no compromises.
The Plug-in Hybrid Outlander is a bit of a renaissance car for Mitsubishi. Its attractive mix of low-emission petrol-electric drive and a versatile SUV body is unique in the hybrid class. As a result, Outlander sales have gone through the roof, which has helped to attract new buyers to the brand.
Peugeot’s 208 BlueHDi is a testament to car makers who, faced with ever-tightening regulations, have gone to great lengths to clean up emissions. While electric hybrids lead the way, the 208 powered by the 1.6 BlueHDi diesel can still go as low as 79g/km, which is an astonishing figure.
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