We are at a crossroads, and it matters very much which route we choose from this point on. If we stay on the course were on there is a very costly price to pay. Climate change from pollution, expensive energy, traffic, over-crowded cities and a reduced quality of life in general are just some of the problems we need solutions to. We need options, better ways to get from A-to-B and more efficient methods to generate the energy required to get there.
We know that only cleaner and greener solutions will lead us towards the more sustainable future that we want for ourselves, but the question is are we ready? BMW seems to think so. This year they unveiled the BMW iX on our shores, this flagship model is their push towards electrified mobility and more sustainable transport that doesn’t give up any of the luxury or driving thrills the marque is known for.
Any opportunity to get behind the wheel of a BMW is gold. But If you want to convince yourself that EV’s are our inevitable future, you don’t drive the BMW iX here. You head for one of the most EV-ready countries in the world and learn how they make it work for them. You head for Iceland.
The BMW Drive Experience in Iceland
The iX was unveiled locally in April, and despite the many unknowns when it comes to making the big leap to EV’s in our country, there has been huge interest in the model. And why not? This is the inevitable future of mobility.
Let’s talk about the design language. It’s definitely an evolution of classic BMW styling. The car as a whole has a monolithic character, as if hewn from a solid block but with a focus on maintaining a low coefficient of drag. The wonderfully aggressive, slim LED headlights and matching taillights are eye-catching…as is the controversial grill. Surprisingly, it quickly grows on you. With no need to actually funnel cool air in, it’s more a flat panel than an actual grill that houses sensitive cameras, radar and other sensors, taking the safety and overall driving experience of the iX to the next level. Added tech is the polyurethane coating which makes it self-healing. Small scratches from pebbles and road grit disappear under the hot sun. This is definitely not “classic BMW styling” nor should it be. It’s the next step and the natural evolution. A peek at the future of BMW.
The future-forward theme continues with the iX’s interior. From the hexagonal steering wheel to the panoramic 12.3 inch curved instrument cluster/infotainment system, the brief is obviously “sleek and clean”. Save for buttons on the steering wheel, there is barely any switchgear in the cockpit, climate control, infotainment functions and driver aids have been collapsed into the touchscreen functions of the massive TFT screen or accessed through the i-drive wheel on the minimalist center console.
The drive dynamics of the iX is certainly something you don’t get a feel of by simply looking at numbers and figures on a brochure. Like all EV’s there is no engine noise or vibration from the independent electric motors feeding front and rear independently. With the batteries carried on the floor, the iX has a very low center of gravity that aids its nimble dynamics despite its heft. It is surefooted and when you want to put the power down, it channels all 640 NM of torque to all four wheels post-haste, more than enough grunt to push you well back into the sculpted backrests…So far more pros than cons for an EV, right?
Let’s address the elephant in the room? Range. I think range anxiety and the infrastructure needed to make that a non-issue is definitely a very important piece of the puzzle. Literature specs state a conservative +-350 kms. We drove these beautiful SAV’s all day through Iceland’s most picturesque landscapes covering roughly 250+ kms a day. Was there ever a worry? Nope. Either the scenery was so breathtaking that it never came to mind or it was the knowledge in the back of our heads that there is a fast charger to be found every 200kms along the main road system of Iceland.
Iceland is a remote island country. It has no oil or fossil fuel stores of its own. All Gas and diesel are imported into the country which makes it quite expensive. But what Iceland lacks in oil, they more than make up with Geothermal and hydro-power sources. In fact today, the country is run on 100% renewable energy. A remarkable and enviable feat which made driving these cars make so much sense and so much of a pleasure.
The EV-ready ness and sustainability of the energy generation of Iceland is certainly something to be admired, and more importantly aspired to. We have to want cleaner sources of energy and we must have the determination to keep pushing to get there. We have a bit of a ways to go but were slowly joining the rest of the world in the push for cleaner mobility options, which I might add offer their own unique driving thrills. The local purchase price of P6,290.000 includes the installation of a wall box charger in your home so daily city commutes are already a reality for us and with more and more fast chargers turning up in malls and soon in out of town destinations well be closer to the EV-normal future were envisioning for ourselves.