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Story by JOE LEARY

In earlier times, electric vehicles were positioned as the ‘Car of the Future.’ Cue in this decade and the electric car is now. The future has never looked brighter. With an ever-growing customer base, all too willing to find alternate forms of driving machines, the BMW portfolio of hybrids and the forthcoming fully electric vehicles is second to none.

I had the distinct pleasure of taking two of the PHEVs (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles) for a run: the BMW X3 and the BMW 530e. When considering state-of-the-art technology, the initial reference point lies within existing automobiles. The electric experience was simply unmatched. Utilizing the ability to seamlessly alternate between electricity and fuel, the BMW Hybrids add a whole new dimension to driving. While we eagerly await the arrival of the first fully electric BMW vehicles to the west coast, the BMW technology has been in existence for some time. “The first ever electric BMW car was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013, when BMW produced a subdivision of electric hybrid vehicles,” said Abdel Awwad, Sales and Marketing Manager, Brian Jessel BMW. “That was the i8.” The aim of the BMWi project was to create eco-friendly urban electric, sustainable vehicles. The line was launched two years before that, in 2011, and the team managing it was tasked with the manufacture of plug-in electric cars.

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The anticipation of the new BMW i4 (shown) and iX series is big, with features like the easy-to-read e-drive dashboard screen, and the wireless plug-in unit as an alternative to the E-charging device.

While concept versions of the i3 and i8 were displayed in Frankfurt back in 2009, production began in earnest in 2013. BMW released two vehicles: the i3, an all-electric car, along with the hybrid, i8 plug-in version. The all-electric iX3 SUV was scheduled for release by late 2020, while the iX SUV and the i4 all-electric sedan launched in 2021. The BMW X3 xDrive 30e is the first conventional plug-in hybrid and one of an ever-increasing number of model options from the iconic brand. The 530e showcases a four cylinder fuel engine alongside an electric motor. The powerful horsepower is palpable and the car offers the next level of ‘zoom.’ The growing interest in BMW electric vehicles is significant. “Now that globally, the world is going more to electrification, BMW is one of the leaders in the sector,” said Awwad. “We’re moving forward with electrification in most of our models — in 2020 we introduced the iX and the i4, based on the platforms of the X5 and the 4 Series. We are going to have unique, futuristic vehicles coming to the Canadian market in 2022.” Not surprisingly, demand is high. “We have already started receiving pre-bookings for the iX as of June,” he said. “The anticipation for this car is huge. It looks futuristic and it’s fully electric.”

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BC’s quickly growing network of charging stations, constantly expanding into more and more rural areas, makes driving electric the easiest and most practical way to Explore BC. BC drivers can find public charging stations with apps like PlugShare, ChargeHub, and BC Hydro EV.

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