As you’ve probably realized by now, the automotive industry is taking steps towards an electric future. Here in SA, we already have electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3, Tesla is a big one but unfortunately the brand owned by South African born Elon Musk doesn’t have us on its import list.
Brands like BMW that do have a local presence are moving ahead with their EV ideas, and to add to the existing i3, the German firm is introducing the i4 and iX electric cars to Mzansi and it’s only a matter of time before they arrive. BMW Group has stated that they want to have a 50% global share of the electric vehicle pie by the year 2030, and so it makes sense that they should get started ASAP.
If you’re not familiar with the BMW i4, allow us to give you a rundown of what it is. At first glance, it looks like the current 4 Series, with BMW’s new rabbit teeth grille dominating the front. The difference here is that the i4 is a gran coupe with four doors instead of two, everything else including the rear lights is the same as you would find in the 4 Series.
The i4 is a fully electric car with a twist. BMW says a heavy focus has been placed on its driving dynamics and that the first variant to land in SA will be the first electric M car, called the BMW i4 M50. Interesting, isn’t it? So how does it work? Well, from what we know the i4 M50 will run on two electric motors, one at the front feeding those two wheels and the second will be responsible for the rear wheels. The combined output here is an electrifying 400 kW and 759 Nm of instant torque, allowing the German car to do the silent 0 – 100 sprint in just 3.9 seconds. Look, it doesn’t have to be completely silent because BMW has partnered up with renowned film music composer, Hans Zimmer to create what they refer to as “an extremely energy-charged soundtrack”. It will consist of various sound effects that are funnelled into the car through the cars audio system as you drive.
Running the entire operation is, of course, a battery. This high-voltage battery is said to have the latest battery cell technology. According to BMW, when compared to the battery used in the i3, the new unit has 20 per cent more gravimetric energy density. Which is a fancy way of saying it can store more electric energy than the old one. It is a smarter battery too – at a high-power charging station you can get up to 140 km of range in just 10 minutes, which is enough time to grab a coffee or make a quick dash to the loo. Whichever one really, or both. The BMW i4 comes with a BMW charging card and a Flexible Fast Charger, allowing you to plug your car into just about any socket with an electric current.
As we mentioned in the beginning, the BMW i4 is headed for South Africa, it’s just a question of when? According to the firm, the i4 and the polarizing iX will arrive here and go on sale from the first quarter of 2022.