Key to efficient driving is keeping the i3 ‘on the bubble’ as some describe it, essentially sailing along without acceleration or braking. When you do need to brake, it’s important to allow the car to regeneratively brake – avoiding use of the friction brakes – in order to maximize range. The drive pedal of the i3 is tuned to nicely brake the car down to a stop when your foot eases off of the pedal. In fact, if you release the drive pedal, enough deceleration will occur that the brake lights will be triggered, and regenerative braking will bring the i3 to a silky-smooth stop, time after time. You do not need to feather the brake pedal to bring the i3 to a gradual stop – just release the pedal – perhaps hover the brake pedal if you’re concerned about stopping distance to cars in front – and watch as the i3 makes a bona fide chauffeur out of you. As an aside: the i3 will roll back if stopped up-hill – it doesn’t have an auto-hold function so you’ll need to hold the brake pedal once you come to a complete stop if you’re on an incline.
After around 20 minutes of driving I began to feel a chill, so I flicked the button to fire-up the heated seats. The button declined my request, reminding me of the on-board computer’s quest to extend my driving range and save me from international auto-journalist road-side infamy. I was at first perturbed by the i3′s refusal to warm my back-side, nearly relapsing into an anti-iPhone-esque episode of technology condemnation. Then, I recovered my wits, thanked the i3 for its prudence, and got on with the mission at hand – cold bum and all.
Sometime later my co-pilot and I noticed that our predicted range was handsomely exceeding our required range by a margin of 4 kilometres. I toggled to Comfort mode and we turned our heated seats back on; in response, the computer quickly adjusted our predicted range to exactly match our required range. A brief moment of hind-warming elapsed, and we were back in the hind-saving Eco Pro+ mode.
I traded stations with my driving partner, reclined the seat (though only to a sleep-depriving maximum angle of roughly 45 degrees) and attempted to reverse my jet-lag – and postpone my conscious experience of this nail-biter end-run. Call me Tender-toes, and credit my talented driving parter – we made it to our hotel, dignity intact, and with a remaining predicted range of 4 kilometres.
Of course, had I not indulged so gluttonously in the i3′s tarmac-ripping dynamics I’d have easily made it to my destination with ample range to spare.