One pedal feeling is one of the most amazing things of BMW i3.
But, as for everything, there are some things I’d improve.
How it works
BMW i3 is an electric car. It means there is no gears, and all the power can be given at any moment to the wheels. It also means there is a mechanism in place to recover part of the energy when the user reduces speed.
The way of driving an electric car is sligthly different from the usual way. It’s really really funny and easy from the very first moment, but you can notice that your driving style varies along the time, specially to anticipate and reduce speed smoothly.
BMW has made a great work with the “One pedal feeling”. It makes you only have to use the service brake in unexpected situations (e.g. pedestrians crossing, quite usual in my city).
All other times, you can command the car speed just by releasing the pedal. The more/faster you release, the stronger is the retention.
‘Super Cinexin’ driving: Forward, backwards and stop. It’s such easy that I was tempted to let my mother (78 year old, never had driving license) to try it. I didn’t but I’m convinced she would have been able to manage.
In addition, there are three driving modes that vary the way the car accelerates and retains. “Comfort mode”, the most agressive one takes all of the 170 horsepower when accelerating, and retains softly. In the opposite, “Eco Pro +” mode accelerates softly and retains aggressively. And there is also something in the middle, closer to the second one called “Eco Pro”.
I have a problem with this: I love how Comfort mode accelerates, and also love how Eco Pro + retains, but I can’t have both of them together. I have to choose.
Another issue is that, as the car ‘brakes’ by releasing the pedal, I have no idea at all on when the brake ligths come on. Call me weird, but I’d love to know what I’m telling to the other drivers. Even when I trust they’re told in a proper manner.
The last issue is very annoying for me. The car is able to remember what I was listening, minute and second of the song that was playing, but doesn’t remember which was the driving mode I was using. Whenever you stop the car, when powering on again it’s always in Comfort mode.
Yes, this is the most impressive one, and for sure BMW wants the user to feel the experience, but once done, I’d like to be able to choose which is the one I want by default.
So, with all this…
How should it work:
First of all, maybe a kind of led in the rear-view mirror, or maybe just a small hole in the existing central brake-light, or a sign in the driving console, a small sign of “I’m ligthing the brake indicator”. Just for you to know. Very easy improvement.
Second, and easy as well, please, remember how was I driving. I’d add an option in the configuration to setup default driving mode, with four options: The existing three ones and “Remember my last mode”.
And third, a little more complex, give the option to configure the driving modes, just three options “Agressive”, “Neutral”, “Soft” to both “Acceleration”, “Retention”. With “Back to original values”.
It doesn’t need to complicate the interface, there are much less interesting options in the configuration and this could be just one more in the configuration menu.
Two first improvements are really, really easy to implement. The third one could be a little more complex to keep a clean and easy interface, but should not be rocket science.
It could be even funnier to drive this car…
Edited 2016/05/22: One more thing…
One pedal feeling could also be better if it braked when stops. It’s the natural end of stopping, and now obblies the user to action the service brake in some circumstances, just because it keeps moving forward nearly inapreciatedly…
It’s quite weird to, from tome to time, have to press brake just to keep stopped after you are used to the magic.