SINGAPORE (Sept 3): The buzzword these days is “electric vehicles”. From mass market to luxury brands, everyone is talking about the future of mobility and introducing electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. However, BMW is a pioneer in the industry and has been ever since it introduced the BMW i division in 2011. Since then, the company has successfully turned electric vehicles on their head with battery life that can easily last a 200km ride and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that are sustainable, but have a petrol back-up for those with anxiety. With Singapore concentrating on building its charging infrastructure, we envision more will jump on this electric bandwagon.

To prove our point, two BMW electric vehicle owners tell us what it is like to own and drive these electrified machines.

What BMW i car do you own?
I’ve had a BMW i8 Coupe for 2½ years and recently bought the first-ever BMW i8 Roadster. I’m the first customer in Singapore and also one of the proud and lucky owners of the first-edition model, which is limited to 200 units worldwide. I took special delivery of the Roadster on May 24 at the BMW Welt in Munich along with 17 other buyers from Europe.

Did you ever imagine driving a plug-in hybrid vehicle?
Prior to owning the BMW i8 Coupe, I’d never had, thought of, or driven a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. I had no knowledge of, or experience, with these type of cars. As such, I had no misconception or idea of how a hybrid car would perform.

Why did you choose to buy this particular plug-in hybrid vehicle?
I went to Performance Motors to look at the latest BMW 6 Series to replace my old 630i. I chanced upon the BMW i8 Coupe and it was love at first sight! It was the elegant, interesting and contemporary design of the car that caught my eye.

What do you think is the biggest myth about plug-in hybrid vehicles?
Having one now and talking to more people about plug-in hybrid electric cars, I think people have the impression that hybrid or electric sports cars cannot go fast. But they’re wrong, as I’ve done 250 km/h with the BMW i8.

Would you like to say anything else about your car?
It is not only a joy and pleasure to drive the BMW i8, but it also gives me immense pleasure participating in many of the BMW i Pure Impulse events around the world over the past 30 months or so. These bespoke events are treasured and enjoyed tremendously by all BMW i8 owners whom I have met from around the globe. This unique privilege that comes with the car is way underpromoted!

David Chou on his cost-saving, driving companion, the BMW 225xe Active Tourer iPerformance

Which BMW i car do you own? 
The BMW 225xe Active Tourer iPerformance.

Did you ever imagine driving a plug-in hybrid vehicle?
Yes. But given Singapore’s relatively short distances, I initially thought a full electric car would be preferable. However, the convenience and assurance of a petrol back-up works best for me, given the current state of technology.

Why did you choose to buy this particular plug-in hybrid vehicle?
It combines the best in performance and style for all the daily tasks I require. Compared with the same diesel-only model, the plug-in hybrid has slightly less trunk space, but the electric motor’s smooth acceleration plus the additional features are a huge advantage.

What do you think is the biggest myth about plug-in hybrid vehicles?
That hybrid vehicles cost more. Upfront, yes, but it will ultimately depend on what it ends up costing you at the end of its life cycle in terms of savings in fuel, maintenance, electricity costs and so on.

Would you like to say anything else about your car?
I have driven more than 6,000km and have needed to pump petrol only twice.