Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Future Has Arrived

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Future Has Arrived

Article excerpt

VERDICT

Plug-in hybrid technology is the next frontier. There is no doubt Australians have been slow on the electric uptake. Electric vehicles make up less than one per cent of the new sales market.

Times are changing. While there are ranging views on the best choice of energy to power our next generation of cars, electricity is the easiest short-term solution which suits infrastructure needs.

There are less expensive alternatives on the market, including the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, but if you are looking for something in the luxury realm then the 530e is the perfect option.

You get the benefits of electric travel, the back up of a petrol engine, all while riding in pure luxury. And best of all, there is no price penalty to gain the technology.

Energy debates are raging around the country.

Coal-fired power stations are shutting down, consumers are facing skyrocketing bills and many regions are facing widespread outages all while talk abut renewables, nuclear, gas and numerous other technologies goes in circles.

Meanwhile Tesla's Elon Musk says he's halfway to building the world's most powerful lithium ion battery to help power South Australia.

Which brings us to the electrical revolution. The big push is coming, and fast.

This week Holden revealed a small car that can travel almost 400km between charges - but isn't expected here until 2022.

BMW is among those at the forefront of the building plug-in momentum.

Where electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV failed in Australia, vehicles like the BMW i3 have become relevant with a range of more than 200km and drivers more willing to part with big coin for a prestige brand combined with a new consumer willingness to embrace the future.

Six electrified vehicles sit in the BMW showroom since the 530e arrived. Priced from $110,500, that sounds expensive. But you pay no more for this derivative than you would the pure petrol-powered equivalent.

VALUE

Typically lavish, you would be hard pressed to identify its electric credentials with the 10.25-inch colour screen, 19-inch alloys, automatic boot opener, 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system, M Sport aero pack, sat nav and leather trimmed cabin.

About the only identifier is the small eDrive button on the console and the second plug-in flap near the left front wheel.

Servicing is $1640 over five years or 80,000km, intervals are two years or 30,000km, which is not bad when comparing on the premium scale.

A six-year warranty/100,000km applies to the lithion-ion battery.

Charging the battery takes about five hours when using a standard power point. The BMW wall box can be installed for about $2000 (depending on your home set-up), which halves the time.

Next year BMW hopes to also offer a wireless charging pad when you just park the vehicle on top of a mat to refuel. …

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