BMW i3 is here. In Bulgaria. Not for a spin or two, but to stay. You can see it on the streets around Sofia, parked at the charging station in front of Societe Generale's headquarters or... in this blog!
It's great news providing sales are yet to start officially in Bulgaria. This will happen for sure and we're here to support it every way we can. But it's also great to have the chance to see and feel the car right now (after a couple of short tests in Amsterdam and Munich) and share the happy owner's story with you. The car belongs to Martin Zaimov – one of the Bulgarian Electric Vehicle Association' (BAEPS) founders, a vivid EV advocate, dreamer and reformer. We're friends with Martin for years and also members of BAEPS. Here we go...
At the end of october 2014 Martin's BMW i3 was delivered to him from the Czech Republic and we set to meet him on Nov 11 right in front of Sofia's Sheraton Hotel. It's always nice to take some pics at a recognizable place (together with our Renault Twizy) and find out about the first impressions of a new EV. Our meeting quickly turned into an interview, which we all decided to follow up with more and more EV interviews to spread the word even more around. Because there's so much (emotions) to share. Now let's get into our conversation with Martin:
– Hi, Martin, and congratulations for you new BMW i3 – it's the first one in Bulgaria, right?
Thanks, yeah, it is, and I'm so happy to have the car now.
– When did you start driving an EV actually?
Since early 2011 when I had the chance to drive one of the first imported EVs back then in Bulgaria – Peugeot iOn. The car is still in use at Societe Generale (me included), but now I'm enjoying the new BMW i3.
– One thing you like the most with EVs?
– What's your daily range?
It's around 50 km (30 miles) and the EV covers it flawlessly. You can easily drive for 150 km in i3 so I can charge it every two or three days depending on my daily range (and driving style). Otherwise, right now longer trips like 300-400 km without recharging are only possible with Tesla Model S.
– Did EV change you and how?
I'm a bit of a naughty driver, but the EV changed me a lot about that. I now drive more carefully and responsibly and my aggression on the road disappears behind the EV wheel. It's uncomparably different feeling. The electric car makes me calmer, but also happier. The other thing is that EVs prove that technology and business can be non-destructive and also in harmony with the nature. This allows me to change my radical views about the damages of the continuous growth. Obviously there is and will be new technologies and businesses, which are good and do not harm the environment.
– Why did you choose the all electric i3 and not the REx one?
Firstly, because pure (100%) EVs are my only choice, and why would I make my life more difficult with an additional ICE maintenance? It just doesn't make sense to me to buy an electric car that also has a gasoline engine inside.
– Where do you charge?
At home and also in front of the office – there's a charging station there right in front of Societe Generale's headquarters in Sofia. It's convenient to me and I have no issues. There's also 10-15 more charging stations in the city and in other towns, but I absolutely realize we need A LOT more around Bulgaria and we're working on this so everybody can benefit from EVs.
– Are people interested in BMW i3 now that you drive it around?
Yes, definitely and as we stand here with your Renault Twizy you see for yourself how many people stop and ask about the cars. If we do this for couple of hours every day we'll definitely sell some EVs just by showing and sharing what we know.
– Is the car fast, what's the drive feeling?
It's super dynamic though not that fast as Tesla Molel S, but you can't compare them directly anyway. It's just closest to me in accelleration, so... BMW i3 has such a high diameter rims and narrow tyres and sometimes I kind of feel it hesitates in the corners, but I may need some more time with the car to get used to it. The accelleration is so addictive – at the traffic light you just disappear ahead like a quiet rocket and everyone else is way behind.
Those are the things we spoke about with Martin about his new BMW i3. We'll be meeting again and again to further discuss his i3 and other EVs.
As to if you can (or how) also buy an i3, just find and ask Martin. Or wait – you better off just call and ask BMWi if we should keep buying i3s from abroad ;).
Here some images from the meeting.
eCars.bg / Elektromobili.bg