Stories to fuel your mind


The Electric Car versus the Combustion Engine

Share the story

Story by Joe Leary

Given the ever-increasing proliferation of electric vehicles on the automobile landscape, divisional lines of preference between drivers are being drawn. And the choice lies between the traditional gasoline-driven combustion engine and the current trend toward electric vehicles (EVs). Brian Jessel and managing partner Jim Murray voice their preferences and, not surprisingly, they too are somewhat split:

Brian Jessel

As a longstanding, self-proclaimed gearhead, Brian Jessel sticks with the traditional.

“I like to hear the sound of the motor,” he says of his stated preference in vehicle type. I like the feel of a gas car.

The electric cars don’t have transmissions in them and I like to work with a transmission, whether it’s a standard, or even on the automatics now, you can select the gears and different ranges to run the cars.

In the BMWs we have everything from ‘economy’ to ‘sport plus,’ so you can choose exactly how you want your transmission to operate. That’s a feature that just gives the car a whole different feeling of how to handle it and how it performs. You just don’t get that with an electric car.

Related Articles

  • King Fisher
  • EON Group
  • Designs By AKS
  • Golf Burnaby

That’s not to suggest that Jessel doesn’t appreciate the trend towards EVs. I mean, you’ve got full-on torque right away, he notes. I get it—they’re really fast—but there is just a different soul in a gasoline car. As for his first test drive in a BMW Electric vehicle, Brian recalls being immediately impressed. The first electric I drove was an i3, which is a very small car; not much bigger than a MINI.

But the torque and the speed of this vehicle, for a small economy car, was sensational. And I still like driving an i3. We have one in our collection that I drive quite often, probably once a week, and when you have many other vehicles to choose from, that’s a lot! I like the handling and the size, but again, it’s like just go—that’s it.

Jim Murray

Also, Jim Murray decided that I need to drive an iX M60, and I have to admit that I really like this vehicle, Jessel adds. So now the iX M60 is my everyday driver.

While Brian Jessel prefers the tried and true, managing partner Jim Murray leans electric, and has become quite a fan in the process.

If truth be known, I had a Pontiac Firebird with a 350 small block,” says Murray of his first ride, back in the day. “But I’ve made the switch and I enjoy electric cars now. I didn’t really think that I would, but they’re fun. I also didn’t think that they would handle like a BMW enthusiast would expect. But they do.

Murray admits missing the sound of an engine at first but conceded that what EV’s lack in “vroom vroom,” they more than make up for in performance.

It’s instant power and the power doesn’t fade, he says. It doesn’t diminish at all over the course of the acceleration. Off the line it’s instant power; there’s no gear changing. It just goes.

And while there’s no differentiation in the size of engine as in combustion vehicles, there is a difference in battery sizes.

“The iX is a different car. It doesn’t look like anything we have and it doesn’t drive like anything we have; it’s in a totally different space.”

For example, in the iX series you can have an iX 40, iX 50 or an iX 60. As for the difference between them, two words: power and range.

Ironically, the IX50 has the most range and 500 horsepower while the IX60 has higher horsepower but a little less range,” says Murray.

Unlike a gasoline engine, where the bigger the engine, the more gas it takes, it doesn’t quite work the same but the power bands are similar.

With a full range of vehicles available in both combustion engine and electric, are customers drawn more towards the vehicle or is it what the vehicle contains that attracts them?

I think there are two camps, and most people have a sense of which way they’re going to go when they come into the showroom, he says.

First of all, some of our vehicles don’t look any different, despite being gas or battery power. The new i7 is pure electric while the 760i is a pure petrol engine.

The two cars look the same except for the badge, and they drive very similarly, too. So then it’s just a choice between the two formats. It’s a case of if you like the car, what platform do you choose to drive? Other people come in attracted to battery or gas.

The iX is a different car. It doesn’t look like anything we have and it doesn’t drive like anything we have; it’s in a totally different space.

So they could like that vehicle—and it’s also electric, or they can just like it because it is electric. I think that most people have already made a decision when they walk in. They’re coming in and are looking for an electric vehicle or they’re looking for the traditional gasoline engine.

The hybrid is the in-between; designed for someone who’s not quite committed to full electric and doesn’t yet have the charging capability.

Either way, both Brian Jessel and Jim Murray agree that there’s a BMW fit for everyone.

Related Articles