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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Join Pauls New Car Adventure and you could Win an Apple Watch

Join Pauls New Car Adventure and you could Win an Apple Watch 

The decision has been made and there is no backing out - Paul Bulloch, Managing Director of Concept Vehicle Leasing will spend the next two years driving a BMW i3!

Thank you to everyone who voted and helped Paul choose his next car. The journey doesn’t end here however, this is just the beginning. We will be following Paul over the next two years to see what it really is like living with an electric car. We will track the power bill, the driving range and other aspects of living in the green lane - we suggested a holistic green lifestyle trial as well, but for some reason Paul wasn’t interested.

Paul has been in the automotive industry for a long time so naturally he has ‘spec’d’ out his i3 as much as he can. Usually used to the larger and faster Audi A6 type of vehicle it is safe to say he is trying to make it as fierce as he can and we have to say, it looks pretty slick, see below.

Pauls New Car i3 Spec’s

BMW i3 eDrive Auto with Range Extender

“The BMW i3 is a pure electric car and on a single charge, the i3 will travel up to 100 miles.  The ‘Range Extender’ model includes a small petrol engine, which works to ‘charge’ the battery and provides an extended total range of up to 186 miles and effectively means that you cannot run out of fuel.

I’m going for ‘Mineral Grey’ with BMWi Blue Highlight which is a Metallic, along with upgraded 19” BMWi ‘Turbine’ Alloy Wheels Style 428

The BMW i3 offers a range of modern and contemporary Interior World’s and I’ve selected the Suite which boasts full leather interior.”

Additional features: 

BMW Professional Media Package – an upgrade from the standard Business Navigation, which provides 3D Mapping and Real Time Traffic Information.  

“Real Time Traffic is essential for me – having had this on my Mercedes C-Class previously, it saved me from the worst traffic hotspots a number of times and proved invaluable.  I’m sure the BMW system is just as good.”

Sun Protection Glass provides darkened glass in the rear, providing additional privacy.
Electric Glass Sunroof provides a light and airy feel, and the added benefit of fresh air when the weather is warmer.

DC Rapid Charge Preparation enables the battery to be charged in under an hour via the public charging network.

Internet provides access to the internet whilst on the road

DAB Digital Radio

Remote Services you can lock and unlock the car from a smartphone or smart watch. See further details on this fantastic app below. 

LED Light Elements

Multi-Function Steering Wheel

Velour Floor Mats

Front Seat Heating

Extended Storage

Rain Sensing Wipers and Headlight Activation

Cruise Control

“I generally travel 18 miles each way from home to office every day, which means I’ll be able to do my daily commute without any petrol costs.  Plus the added benefit of the car falling into one of the lowest tax bandings for Company Cars at 7%, I’m looking forward to a significant tax saving in the next tax year.  

A 20% Tax Payer would pay just £531 per annum in Benefit in Kind tax for my car.”

- Paul Bulloch

Interested in Joining Pauls New Car?

If, like Paul, you would like to give electric transportation a trial then let us know. We can offer contracts from 30 days to 5 years on the BMW i3. If after a few years at the end of your contract you feel electric leasing isn’t for you, then simply go with another vehicle the next time around. 

With all the benefits of lower emissions, tax breaks and the savings on fuel that come with going electric, you really would be missing out by not giving one a go. Vehicle Leasing is your best answer to trialling this new trend, without a long term commitment, as electric is bound to become the transportation of our future. 

Win an Apple Watch when you order an i3!

For all our customers that want to join the Pauls New Car journey and place an order on a BMW i3 by the end of June 2016, you will go into the draw to win a brand new Apple Watch Sport! The apple watch is the only smart watch currently compatible with the BMW i Remote software. 

The BMW i Remote app enables you to have direct communication with your i3 at anytime, anywhere. Here’s what it does: 
• Displays the battery charge status and the available vehicle range
• Start charging, stop charging or program charging based on departure times
• Search for points of interest (POI) and locate charging stations
• Send address information including charging stations to the vehicle
• Access the Dynamic Range Map to check if locations can be reached based on charge status
• Remote Services for vehicle lock, unlock or pre-conditioning of interior temperature
• Measure the efficiency of previous journeys and share with the BMW i community
• Check on vehicle condition and servicing requirements

Why wait, the future of transportation is already here, you simply need to embrace it. The apple watch combined with the technologically advanced BMW i3 will give you a taste of what a life in the high-tech lane can be like. Don’t just move forward, move toward the future. 

Get your BMW i3 here, or call 0800 043 2050.

Competition Conditions: 
1. To be entered into our Prize Draw, you must place an order for a BMW i3 on either a Business or Personal Contract Hire agreement with a Contract Term of 24 months as a minimum by 30th June 2016. 
2. All qualifying Customers will be put into the draw and one customer name will be drawn at random on 1st July 2016.  The Apple Watch will be despatched within 28 days of the Draw.
3. Terms and Conditions for the provision of our service will apply to orders placed, which include a fee for Cancellation of Order once agreed.
4. Lease Agreements are subject to Status and Credit Approval.  Guarantees or Indemnities may be required.
5. Offer is subject to availability, and may be withdrawn without notice and entirely at the discretion of Concept Vehicle Leasing.
6. There is no cash or prize substitute.  
7. Prize Draw applies to the Apple Watch Sport, 38mm Space Grey Aluminium Case with Black Sport Band. Seen Here 
8. E & OE

Thursday, 17 March 2016

BMW, the ultimate driving machine, or the ultimate automobile design?

BMW, the ultimate driving machine, or the ultimate automobile design? 

To understand the modern day BMW in its current form you need to understand the man named Chris Bangle. Yes BMW has a rich history in airplanes and motorbikes but the modern day BMW owes its shape to the corruption of its traditional boxy and functional BMW shape by Bangle with his flame surfacing design.

Bangle has been ridiculed in the past for this radical change in BMW’s shape in the 90’s but over the past few years the box and the flame have merged into what in our opinion is some of BMW’s best looking vehicles.

Bangle of course was't the only great BMW designer but his philosophy on automobile design really resonates with us.

‘Cars are an avatar, they are an extension of yourself, if you feel sexy, the car is sexy.’
– Chris Bangle TED Talk. 

Bangle saw himself as a sculptor, only his medium was different to the typical artist. In this day and age the automobile is a sculpture, the effect that a new radical design has on the world is increasingly dominant as vehicles are widely available and used as a statement of class, style and culture.

The statement you make with a vehicle is often a subconscious decision, when you think of the car you want, the brand, the size and the engine are all based on the image you want to project, the extension of your style and culture.

The BMW i3 for instance is the ultimate electric vehicle for projecting the chic, sustainable and technologically advanced image of inner city prosperity. With a computer savvy and technology dependant generation on the rise, just the look of the BMWi range extends the impression of future progression and contemporary style.

The BMW X4 however cuts a completely different form of a dominant and striking figure with an undercurrent of impulsive performance. The sleek lines of this luxury SUV attract the eye with its unique aesthetics poured over a powerful engine that slips through the urban jungle with efficiency and boundless energy.

You have the ability to customise your BMW’s appearance, technology and multitude of comforts to enhance your avatar to just the right degree.  As Bangles philosophy above states, the car you choose to drive is an extension of you, or your companies, persona.

In an era of fast moving culture and technology it’s no wonder that vehicle leasing is on the rise. Keeping ahead of the game means keeping up with the current trend, being flexible and moving with the times. The typical vehicle life span of 10 years simply doesn't fit into this formula.

BMW are a prestige automobile who are always forerunners in the latest style trend and technology, call us today and we will can help you achieve whichever persona you desire, 0800 043 2050.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Paul's New Car

The Boss needs a New Car.

Actually he needed to order a new car several months ago, but he’s been dragging his heels and hasn’t made a decision yet.

So we decided to make the decision for him, with your help!

We have chosen 3 cars, for very different reasons. Now you all get the chance to vote on which car you think Paul Bulloch, Managing Director of Concept Vehicle Leasing should drive for the next 2 years!

We need to get the order in by Monday 14th March 2016 so you have until then to get your vote in. Vote via one of our social media pages, Facebook or Twitter using the tag #PaulsNewCar followed by your car of choice; Yeti, X4 or i3.

Or simply send us an email with your vote to:

The Three Choices: 

 The BMW i3 5dr Auto for £229.49 +VAT p/m

Lease a BMW i3 5dr Auto for £229.49 +VAT per month on a Business Contract Hire. Initial rental of £1,376.94 + VAT, followed by 23 rentals. 10,000 Miles Per Annum.
Enquire about this offer here

BMW X4 xDrive 30d M Sport 5dr Step Auto for £369.99 +VAT p/m

Lease a BMW X4 xDrive 30d M Sport 5dr Step Auto for £369.99 +VAT per month on a Business​ Contract Hire. Initial rental of £2,219.94 + VAT, followed by 23 rentals. 10,000 Miles Per Annum.
Enquire about this offer here

SKODA Yeti Outdoor 2.0 TDi CR SE L 5dr for £138.99 +VAT p/m

Lease a SKODA Yeti Outdoor 2.0 TDi CR SE L 5dr for £138.99 +VAT per month on a Business Contract Hire. Initial rental of £833.94 + VAT, followed by 23 rentals. 10,000 Miles Per Annum.

How do I Vote?

To cast your vote simply leave a comment on our blog with your car of choice; Yeti, X4 or i3. Or email you vote to: 

If you have any problems feel free to call us on: 0800 043 2050

Voting closes Monday 14th March 2016.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Why not a Skoda?

Why does no one want a Skoda? Last year Concept had on offer a Skoda Octavia 2.0 Diesel Hatch 5 door for £169.49 a month. The perfect company car for a business and a great sized car for a family. The price of this cars was a steal, there’s no other way to put it, a 2.0 diesel for under £170 a month! You would expect them to fly out the door, but they didn't. A few of our veteran fleet runners jumped at the opportunity seeing a good thing for what it was, but unfortunately they were the minority. So we asked our expert sales team, why aren't these selling?

The answer came with a slight smile and the simple answer, well it’s a Skoda.

It so happens that in the past Skoda had a pretty bad reputation as a car. It was unreliable and not very nice to look at. This old reputation seems to have clung to the brand like a bad smell, even though it was bought out by the VW group in 1991. The Skoda Octavia we see today was actually reinvented by VW in 1996 and built on a VW Golf chassis. The Octavia has gone from strength to strength under the VW brand but as a condition of the original contract the ‘Skoda’ name could not be changed and thus the smell still lingers to those who remember the sloppy image of the original brand.

The standard of the modern day Skoda Octavia is of a much higher quality than its predecessors, or so say the brochures and adverts. They are more reliable, made to the high VW/Audi group standard and they have a more pleasing visual appearance. But here at Concept we don’t take anything at face value, especially the shiny brochures, so over the holiday season we took one for a spin. We even tested it on some of the harshest conditions possible so we could be sure it really stood up to the test, we trialled it in Iceland.

Skoda in Iceland

In Iceland we had a Skoda Octavia Estate. The interior was fitted with all the latest gadgets, and as a must for travelling in a snow dusted country, seat warmers!

Space wise the vehicle is fantastic, but we've never met an estate that wasn't. Looks wise the Octavia has a bonnet that is slightly too sloped for our personal taste, otherwise the car is very generic looking. It doesn't have any distinguishing features and looks very similar to any other basic vehicle. This however isn't really a bad thing. Skoda’s are not made to stand out. The new brand focuses around quality and reliability. It is a nice car that looks practical and smart. 

Driving wise the car performed great, especially on the snowy, wet and icy roads. All vehicles in Iceland have winter tyres fitted as expected for the harsh weather. Being a rental car there were a lot of miles on the clock but the drive was smooth and consistent. It  was very responsive when driving under the 70k mark and had a lot of low level power, however when we opened her up on the odd clear strip of road the Octavia did take a few seconds to jump up to the higher gears. We also had a diesel manual that had a short shift gear box which some of our less experienced drivers found difficult.

Suspension and handling were good. They were neither outstanding nor poor, in our opinion the car was very reliable. We came across a few accidents during the trip but in our Skoda we never had any issues and always felt safe.

So why a Skoda?

There isn’t anything special about a Skoda, but there isn't anything wrong with it either. It is a good car. It runs well, it is reliable and you get what you expect. We believe it is the perfect car for a corporate fleet who don’t want to spend money on the big name brands. The car is classy and professional. It is a great sized car and offers every modern gadget you want to throw money at.
The high speed lack of power may look a bit of a draw back at first, but if you’re investing in a company car for an employee to drive then it’s probably best that they don’t have the ability to ‘hoon’ down the open road, as in the end its your investment their risking.

We don’t currently run the offer we had going last year, but Skoda’s really are a fantastic car so if you’re interested give us a call – 0800 043 2050 and we will see what we can sort out for you.
But next time a great Skoda deal comes along don’t let the brand put you off, as you could be missing out on the low cost corporate fleet you've always wanted. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Electric Vehicle Grant

Plug-In Vehicle Grant Drop & Price Cap Introduced

All good things must come to an end, and this is never more prominent than when the government is involved. The electric car incentive is changing and there will be three different grant levels based on the cars CO2 emission and battery range.

The new grant will come into effect from the 1st of March 2016 and stay in place until March 2017, or unless a prescribed number of each grant level has been met, whichever comes first. What this prescribed number of vehicles will be is a mystery much like the elusive night tube. In other words if you are considering a plug-in vehicle you better get in quick, or the best thing you may get by way of an electric incentive in the future is a polite ‘thank you.’  

“Plug-in Grants are only available on those vehicles which can be “plugged in” and charged by electricity. From March 2016 the Plug In Car Grant will break down as follows:

Category 1 - Published Emission figures of less than 50g/km with a zero emission range of 70 miles - £4,500

Category 2 - Published Emission figures of less than 50g/km with a zero emission range of 0-69 miles - £2,500

Category 3 - Published Emission figures of 50g/km to 75g/km with a zero emission range of at least 20 miles - £2,500

The monthly rental for a lease car over a typical 3 year period will then increase by roughly £15 per month for category 1, and approximately £70 per month for category 2 and 3! There is however a small portion of time before this change over takes place.

If you place an order by no later than the 29th of February 2016 you should still be eligible for the current grant structure, as free stuff from the government is generally few and far between we suggest you give us a call asap and order one now – 0800 043 2050
The current structure is as follows:

35% of the cost of a car up to a maximum of £5,000

20% of the cost of a van up to a maximum of £8,000

To encourage zero emission vehicles and maximise the number of everyday motorists who can benefit from the grant, a price cap for category 2 and 3 vehicles will come into effect from the 1st of March. Plug-In Vehicles in category 2 and 3 that cost upwards of £60,000 will no longer be eligible for the grant at all. Plug-In vehicles that fit into the cat 1 conditions – published Emission figures of less than 50g/km with a zero emission range of 70 miles – will NOT have a price cap.

Currently Eligible Vehicles

Category 1 Vehicles 

  • BMW i3
  • BYD e6
  • Citroen CZero
  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Kia Soul EV
  • Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
  • Mitsubishi iMiEV
  • Nissan e-NV200 5-seater and 7-seater
  • Nissan LEAF
  • Peugeot iON
  • Renault Fluence
  • Renault ZOE
  • Smart fortwo electric drive
  • Tesla Model S • Toyota Mirai • Volkswagen e-up!
  • Volkswagen e-Golf

 Category 2 Vehicles 

  • Audi A3 e-tron
  • BMW i8
  • BMW 225xe
  • BMW 330e
  • Mercedes-Benz C350 e
  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in
  • Vauxhall Ampera
  • Volkswagen Golf GTE
  • Volvo V60 D6 Twin Engine
  • Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine

Category 3 Vehicles

  • Mercedes-Benz S500 Hybrid
  • Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

When the total number of cars receiving a grant reaches 40,000 in cat 1 and 45,000 cat 2 and 3 combined, another review of the grant structure will then go under way. This will include cars sold prior to March 2016. In December 2015 23,000 claims had been made in cat 1 and 28,000 claims had been made for cat 2 and 3.

Confused? This basically means that half of the grants have already been claimed since the scheme came into place in 2011. The number of Plug-In car sales have been growing rapidly over the past two years so do not expect it to take another 5 years until the second half of the grants are claimed. Once the combined 85,000 trigger point has been reached a new review will reveal whether this scheme will continue.

So get your plug-in order in before the grant runs out as the governments concern for our environment will only last as long as the coffers are full. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Concept 2016

What's in store for 2016

This year Concept will be getting some brand new shoes! Well figuratively - we are polishing up our logo and rolling out a new design that we will launch early this year. The Concept brand will retain the same fantastic reputation but now with an updated look and feel. Watch this space.

Our sponsorship of Team GB and local Surbiton Hockey player Georgie Twigg will be very exciting this year as we follow her on her Road to Rio 2016! Keep up to date with Georgie as she gears up for the Olympics at – The

There are a lot of new models coming out this year which will be on offer through Concept. Our sales managers will be up to date on all the latest vehicles and technology and with the London Motor Show returning after an 8 year absence we predict a fantastic year for the automotive industry.

With a lot of changes happening in 2015 we are looking forward to a good year with a strong and enthusiastic team who are geared up to find you the best deal and offer our award winning customer service to each and every one of our clients – we look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Small Fleet Leasing Awards

Concept Vehicle Leasing is Best Small Fleet Leasing Company!

We are very proud to announce that we have won the Best Small Fleet Leasing Company Award - 250 to 1,000 vehicles sales category, in the 2015 Business Car Manager Small Fleet Leasing Awards. 

The awards are hosted by motoring magazine, Business Car Manager and are supported by the key industry funders, Alphabet, LEX Autolease, Arval and Network. Now in their third year, the Small Fleet Leasing Awards are designed to recognise the breadth and diversity of Leasing Broker offerings to the SME sector. We were originally short-listed from over 40 entries, the judges said;

“Concept Vehicle Leasing offer great customer care and are developing good products in a substantial package for continued growth.”

We were also short-listed for the Best Small Fleet Leasing Marketing Award for our innovative sponsorship of Team GB Hockey Athlete, Georgie Twigg, and narrowly missed out on the Best Small Fleet Leasing Company Customer Service Award.

Here at Concept we provide fully outsourced fleet management and maintenance, offering the full package to small businesses that do not have the resources for a dedicated fleet manager, so that our clients can concentrate on their business and not worry about the details of running their vehicles, from servicing right through to accident management. Behind our success this year is a new company framework with two new account managers to offer a fresh perspective, an experienced sales director and a new fleet and rental controller who has 10 years’ experience as a mechanic.

The awards were held at a prestigious luncheon at Corrigan’s Mayfair in London. Ralph Morton, editor of Business Car Manager who presented us with the award, said:

“It is clear that regardless of whether the client operates a fleet of 50 vehicles or is a private individual with a cash allowance, every single customer benefits from exactly the same experience with Concept. 

Concept's approach to technological advances is also commendable, both in the vehicle fleet - such as exploring the potential for major expansion of electric vehicles for the London area - and in company administration.” 

Winning a Small Fleet Leasing Award is something truly special for us as it means Concept have been independently recognised as “Best in Class” in our sector by key industry funders. Having now scooped 3 awards as many years, it demonstrates that we are consistent in our approach to business and our dedication to providing exceptional Customer Service.

We are really proud of what our team have achieved – it’s fantastic!

Winter Tyres

Winter Tyres: Revenue Stream or Safety Necessity?

At this time of year a lot of information fly’s around about winter tyres. Some people are heavy supporters whilst others think its money down the drain, but which is it really? No one wants to look like the chump who fell for the £500 rubber bank breakers, but then again no one wants the blame for not taking the necessary safety precautions in the event of an accident, especially if it involves family members.

In Germany and many other continental countries winter tyres are a legal requirement. However those countries are guaranteed a good slathering of snow, unlike the UK where some parts of the country won’t experience weather necessary of winter tyres at all. A large factor of this decision relies on where you live and how often you drive.

The advice goes that when the temperatures drops below 7 degrees you need to pop on your winter tyres as your breaking ability will drastically decrease and the car will have difficulty griping the road. Considering the predictability of UK weather this shouldn't be a problem right?

Winter tyres are made up of a special rubber tread compound with a high silica content which means they are still soft in low temperatures. They mould well to the cold and at times frozen road with a special tread pattern designed to assist breaking and traction. They do not however do well on the hot dry summer roads so although they have a thicker tread than normal tyres it isn't recommended to keep them on all year, even though legally they may be road worthy you should not use winter tyres without at least a 3mm tread.

A set of winter tyres will set you back upwards of £500 according to the AA estimates, however for those driving a new model this could be more around the £1000 mark. This will include the fitting and storage costs, as let’s not forget you will need to store this additional set of tyres whilst the other set is on if you don’t have a garage. This is a big sum to put down before the festive season, however most winter tyres will last roughly 2 to 3 winters depending on your mileage. We do not suggest winter tyres as a replacement Christmas present for the spouse however as that will definitely be detrimental to your health.

When it comes to safety the big issue is breaking distance. The continental breaking chart below explains how each tyre type reacts on different conditions.

Winter tyres are proven to be safer in winter conditions. They break and handle better in frozen and snowy conditions. Just because there isn't snow, it doesn't mean the road is safe, as ice can be very dangerous and is a lot harder to notice. There is the option of All-Season tyres, as you will see on the chart above, they are reasonably good all year around but are not the best performers in any season. Therefore we don’t consider them much of an option.

The AA advises; "winter tyres make sense if you live in a remote area where winter conditions are likely to be worse for longer. Elsewhere, it may be harder to justify the cost – though this has to be a personal decision. Lots of people decide simply not to drive in bad weather. Those living in urban or built-up areas may be able to use public transport instead."

Our consensus is that if you live remotely, get them, they will last a few years and they are worth it. However if you live urbanely, or in an area that very rarely sees the temperature drop below 7 degrees then they may not be necessary, we would however strongly advise you to check your tyre tread, if you are nearing the 1.6mm depth mark then it may be time to get a new set of tyres. Even if it’s not legally required, driving with tread at least 2mm should provide you with greater handling and breaking ability this winter season.

But most importantly if you are a nervous driver or you find the changing winter elements quite tricky then bite the bullet and get winter tyres, piece of mind goes a long way to driving confidently and knowing you and your passengers are safe.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Why do cars depreciate in value?

Vehicle depreciation and what you can do combat it...

We’ve all heard that cars depreciate in value as soon as they are driven off the forecourt, but what does that actually mean? Well, the depreciation of a vehicle is quite simply the difference between the value of the car when you first buy it and the value of the car when you decide to sell it. All cars depreciate over time and on average a car will lose 40% of its value in year one.

By the end of year three, most cars will have lost 60% of their value. But what causes this depreciation?

We have highlighted some of the main reasons below.

Dealership costs

One of the main reasons a car depreciates as soon as it leave the forecourt is because the buyer has paid extra costs to the dealership above the value of the car. The dealership obviously needs to make a profit on the car, but they also need to pay their staff and other overheads, therefore an additional cost is added to the car. Once you have purchased the car, these costs are no longer relevant to its value so it decreases instantly.

Age of the car

As your car gets older, the value decreases, just as it does with anything you buy. The best way to avoid depreciation by age is to buy an older car. A 5 year old car will depreciate much slower than new one and most cars will have finished depreciating by the time they are 8 years old.

Usage of the car

The higher the mileage of your car, the faster the depreciation. If you drive your car for over 10,000 miles a year, it is likely to depreciate more rapidly than a car which gets less use.

Condition of the car

If your car has scratches, dents or damage when you go to sell it, it will be worth less than an undamaged car. Also, if you have internal damage this will lessen the value, so try to drive sensibly! Getting your car serviced regularly will help to maintain the value of the car.

High fuel efficiency

There is a higher interest in cars which have a better fuel efficiency, therefore a car that uses a lot of fuel is less desirable and will therefore depreciate quicker.

Model updates

Cars are constantly being upgraded with innovative new designs and technologies to make the driving experience a better one. If your car model has been out for a while and a new model is going to be released soon, you can be sure that your car will depreciate faster.

So what can you do?

There are plenty of ways to slow down the depreciation of your car. Keeping your vehicle in a good, clean condition, keeping mileage at a minimum, getting servicing done when appropriate and keeping your service record as well as swiftly attending to any repairs necessary will all help to slow down the depreciation process.

If you’re wondering what your cars level of depreciation is, you can find a car depreciation calculator here.

If you want to avoid depreciation costs altogether, contact one of our team members today about leasing a car.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

BMW i3, the future of urban mobility

BMW i3, the future of urban mobility – or so it calls itself.

The big fancy booklet that comes with it talks about change and innovation, the general theory is that sustainability is here to stay and it’s time to get on board via the BMW i3.

We are weary of mentioning the giant VW shaped elephant in the room but the fact is since the recent emissions debacle the green movement is only going to gain more traction. We aren’t biased here at Concept on our choice of engine but electric was one area we weren’t entirely clued up on. So what better way to learn more about electric cars than to drive one for a week, and here are our thoughts:-

Do I look fat in this?

The first thing anyone ever notices about a car is the look and size. Our office all had mixed opinions, some good, some bad, this all comes down to personal preference but it is defiantly small and modern. The interior is taken up largely by the front two seats which very nearly touch the roof, they can be adjusted up and down but the height of them is similar to a sports car. This being said, they are extremely comfortable. Not too soft, not too hard, fantastic height for resting the head, if goldilocks could get her hands on one she’d never leave.

Once seated the interior of the car is quite spacious. The twin sun roofs for the driver and passenger give the illusion of more space and for a person of 6ft there was ample leg room when the seat was fully back. The back seats would fit a few small things, be it boxes, children or luggage, but other fully grown members will find it a bit tight on drives longer than 15 minutes.

The boot however is limited, you can get in all your groceries and the back seats can be folded down but we expected to find more space back there. The ‘suicide doors’ were also a matter of contention in the office so this feature comes down to personal preference. The way they function mean the back doors are hinged at the rear of the car as there is no central column, which means that the front doors have to be opened before you can open the back doors. This does provide for very easy access into the car, however you do need to open the front doors before you can open the back.

What do all these buttons do?

The Sat Nav is HUGE! This is fantastic we can actually see where it is sending us and because of the fantastic position it doesn’t obstruct our vision. The entire dashboard was actually very different but easy to use. The radio was easy to tune and well placed for easy access. The dip in the middle of the dashboard also provides ample room for your cell phone, sandwich or any other distracting things we’re not meant to use.

The interior design we had was the Suite Interior World, at first we weren’t a huge fan of this as the finish of the eco friendly material looked a bit rough and the white flecks reflected slightly in the windscreen but over time it did actually win us over. The cost of this earth friendly addition however is something we probably wouldn’t splurge on as it is heavy on the pocket.
There are a lot of gadgets you can ramp up the i3 with, however the two things there wasn’t an option of having were a bike rack or tow bar.

Does it drive like it runs AA batteries? 

If you aren’t used to electric you may expect it to drive like your sons remote control car on a shaggy carpet and this is the most surprising thing, it doesn’t - it’s zippy, really zippy. The i3 is responsive when accelerating in ways that normal automatics are not, it goes at the tap of a foot. The way it decelerates is like a manual, once you take your foot off it slows down drastically. This takes a bit of getting used to but if you adjust the way you drive and anticipate the traffic ahead you can do all your driving with only one foot.

The turning circle, as expected, was great – U-turns are a breeze and the steering is very responsive. The drive however was quite bumpy, you can feel a lot of lumps in the road so this could really be improved.

One of the best and worst features is the sound. It is so quiet, so much so you are surprised when the car actually takes off without the roaring splutter of an engine. This creates a sense of real tranquillity that unfortunately can turn into a sense of - I am actually falling asleep. Lucky the sound system is fantastic.

How much does it REALY cost to charge?

Each night it was simply plugged into the wall socket in the garage and taken off again each morning, we didn’t have access to the rapid charger which apparently takes 3 hours. There is the option of getting the range extender model but it is significantly more expensive and the i3 isn’t really aimed at the long distance driver.

When running about the city there are only 1,400 electric ‘fill up’ stations, however 40% of these are out of action at any given time (according to the Evening Standard). Old Boris does have ambitions to have 6,000 charging stations set up by 2016 but if they go via the current rate of in-active machines that will mean 2,400 non-working machines, and no doubt we will be lucky enough to only find a park at these stations.

As we used the i3 as a home to work vehicle we never actually had to charge it during the day.  During a morning route to and from work, including a school run and a few run arounds in the afternoon, we never ran out of charge and generally had about 20 miles left at the end of the day. This cost on average £2 a night to charge, so roughly £14 a week, compared to the £50 that was usually spent on petrol. So we are looking at a savings of around £1,872 a year. With the lease on a BMW i3 with concept currently costing £239.49 + VAT (based on a 2 year lease) it’s definitely worth considering.

So what’s the verdict?

A garage makes this whole process a lot easier. If you park on the street you’re going to need a heavy duty extension cord or you will be playing active charging station roulette throughout the city. There is the 75% grant from the government ‘for the provision of domestic charging points’ but there isn’t any provision for installing a company charging point at the office. So for the corporate client, electric may be determined on whether your employees have access to charging points, can have one installed at home or you may have to put some in yourself - at roughly £1,000 to £1,200 for installation, there goes the petrol savings for the year.

If you have a garage, then electric is definitely for you, it really is bliss not having to worry about finding the nearest petrol station and just think of what you can do with those savings. If you don’t have a garage then electric is going to take some logistical thinking.

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