by | Mar 2, 2024 | Cars, Motor

So, here we are again: Last month I wrote on the trials of finding a fast-charger for the electric car I was test driving for a week over Christmas, up in cold Collingwood, a few hours north of Toronto. That was the Hyundai Ioniq 5. This time out I drove the 2024 BMW i4 xDrive40 for a few days.

We all hear the drumbeat of the incessant climate debate, the hypocrisy, “the good for me but not for thee” elites, aboard their carbon-farting private jets, 5.2-litre V10 gas-powered Lamborghinis and custom-designed, 18,000-square-foot country home estates, the tiresome liberal/progressive new religion and chatter. Hey you, ignorant, backwoods dumb-dumb – climb aboard the train right now because the planet is going to burn up in 11 years.

Look, I am not a climate scientist. Neither are the legions who feel the need based on whatever their psychosis is to bully and batter-ram their opinions over social media platforms, or at coffee shops and dinner parties, that this is something you must do, all coming from woke-ist seekers of virtue, “man-splainers” like Justin Trudeau and his “peoplekind”. The one thing that always amazes me about progressive university-educated fundamentalists is how piss poor a lot of them are at communicating.

BMW i4 xDrive40: Fabulous driving experience

Apologies if I’m coarse. But scrambling to find a charging station/AKA haystack needle for my electric vehicle while freezing my nuts off in the dead of winter will do that to anybody. This time out, I was given a car with around 90 km of driving distance left on the battery. I drove the EV down the Don Valley Parkway from Richmond Hill to Toronto (taking the luxurious HOV outside lane, meaning less traffic slowdowns, which you are allowed to do as a single if you driving a green vehicle). Back up to Richmond Hill the next day to meet a friend, then back down to Toronto. There was six per cent of battery charge left when I parked in Toronto.

I went back to the SWTCH charging stations in the grocery parking lot outside my condo. As luck would have it, one of the four Level 2 chargers was available. Plugged it in for two hours. Left to go do some work. Came back and the battery was at eight per cent.

Bmw I4 5

DC Fast chargers versus Level 2 chargers

The next morning I had two meetings outside the city and eight per cent wasn’t going to cut it. I found on my FLO (another EV charging company) app there were five charging stations across the street from my condo, in an underground parking garage below an office building. I assumed they were fast chargers, since it was the FLO fast chargers that bailed me out during that ordeal in Collingwood – $20 fee for a charge through the FLO app and the car went from 40 per cent to full charge in 30 minutes or so.

So the morning of my meeting (scheduled for 11 a.m.), I drove the bmw i4 over, went underground, found one of the chargers that was available (several were not working), discovered it was Level 2, plugged it in, but couldn’t get a WiFi signal to activate the app and start the charger. I headed back to street level to get a charge, started the charger, headed back downstairs to confirm the charger was operating, then walked back to my home office.

I decided I was going to give the charger the full hour and a half before I had to leave for my meeting. So I got ready for my meeting, walked back over, hopped back in the car – and the battery was at nine per cent. The two meetings were cancelled. Plus I got dinged $12 for parking. With a long drive to Barrie the next day, the task was then to find a fast charger in the downtown core, unless I wanted to find a Level 2 and charge it for ten hours. I found a DC Fast charger, a half mile from my home in an underground parking garage. Only this time it was with ChargePoint, making it the third EV charging station app I have on my phone.

Click on image to enlarge and view gallery

No putting this genie back in the bottle

Electric vehicles are on the front line of all this. Luxury car manufacturers are tripping all over themselves rolling out the latest EV technologies.

But here’s the reality for the Great Silent Majority from someone who has now driven two luxury EV cars in Moscow cold winter conditions. Until the tall foreheads, policy-makers and seekers of virtue solve this scarcity of EV fast charger issue, or tell me I will be bonused a fast charger for my home parking spot if I am expected to buy an EV, or tell me what the re-sale value of this six figure beast is truly going to be four years down the line, or be honest about the cost to replace the battery – then go float. Get back to me in ten years after you get your shit together and figure things out.

This is all moving far, far too fast for most people. All it does is feed conspiracy theories about what the “real” motivation is, the hard push, towards electric vehicles anyway. The reality is less and less people are listening to the noise now. The masses now feel this is a “truth” being rammed down their throats by an international cabal, and if it smells of authoritarianism, elites trying to meddle in their lives, especially after the pandemic experience, then the masses will check out. Especially if it’s coming from the “cereal for dinner is good due to high inflation” crowd as they carve into their ribeye steak.

The market is speaking, not leftist fundamentalists and corporate media. A colleague who sells Land Rovers tells me the electric versions aren’t selling much at all. Ford said sales of the Mach-E fell 51 per cent to start the year. There was the Mercedes news that they will be cutting back electric vehicle production. Who knows what’s coming next.

Market will sort it out

This is all good. People are smart, and the market will sort it out. The cars are here. There’s no ramming that genie back in the bottle. The pipeline may slow down but this is the future.

And the BMW i4 I drove, other than the charging issue? LOVED IT! How’s that for a succinct review. Super fast, smooth, tight on the corners, lush interior, loaded-up technology, including a Harman Kardon sound system. A thoroughly enjoyable driving experience. And I did drive past the last gas station in my downtown Toronto neighbourhood, that’s being torn down. So the message was clear, where we’re going, at least in Toronto. Join the EV movement, hop a streetcar, ride a bike or walk, peasant.

On the otherhand, with that DC Fast charger, we went from 32 per cent to 95 per cent at a cost $14.73 and it took 59 minutes. From Toronto to Barrie and back, we used up around 60 per cent of battery in the BMW i4. I did the exact same exercise the next morning for a drive from Toronto to New Hamburg and back. Took my laptop over to the Drake, had a coffee and did some work. What’s wrong with all that? Not a goddamn thing.

But I wouldn’t run out and drop $70k + on one of these until you show me that a wider infrastructure of DC Fast chargers is out there, so you can get out of my way, and I can get through my day. Start with that.

Is BMW i4 fully electric? Yes

How much will the BMW i4 cost? Depending on trims and options, price ranges from $53,195 USD to over $70,000

Does the BMW i4 qualify for the 7500 tax credit? Yes, available in the U.S., includes a combination of federal tax credits and BMW’s own incentives. There are federal and provincial incentives in Canada as well, including $5,000 on the federal side.

Images: Mark Keast

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