A world-changing car of today for the world changers of tomorrow
As with any generational shift, Millennials – or Gen Y – are a vastly different kettle of fish from those who came before.
Broadly classified as being born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials are now at the stage in their lives where they might be looking to buy a car, although their unique tastes and preferences are an ever-evolving challenge to companies.
They’re very tech-savvy and quicker to adapt to trends. Growing up with information readily available at their fingertips, they’re also more discerning about the products and services they buy; hype or marketing are now less effective at covering up for inferior products. Finally, millennials also care more about equality and the collective good, more likely to voice out for a good cause or side with entities that somehow contribute to society.
While they’ve been characterised in the mainstream media as ‘killing’ a lot of things, they’re usually things the world has been better off without, such as straws and diamonds.
With that in mind, the type of car that would appeal to this age group would have very different properties to those that would have appealed to the older generation, and we think the all-electric BMW i3 is a car almost custom made for the new car owners on the block.
1) It’s got all the latest tech
Millennials grew up in the information age, which means they’re very comfortable when it comes to new technology. That’s just as well, because technology is what the BMW i3 is packed full of.
In addition to the EV tech that makes the car go, there’s plenty of features inside the BMW i3 that enhance the driving experience. The navigation system, for instance, can project on the map a dynamic range indicator that takes into account the car’s status, as well as real time traffic data.
There are also assists that make the drive easier, including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, and pedestrian and collision warning with autonomous braking function.
Finally, the BMW i3 provides novel solutions for phone-to-car connectivity. The BMW Connected app allows you to send destinations via Bluetooth straight to the navigation system, share your live trip status with friends, locate exactly where your car is parked, and pre-condition the air in the cabin before getting in.
2) It’s the perfect around-town car
Compared to generations before, there is a greater proportion of millennials living in dense, crowded cities. Well, in Singapore, technically everyone lives in a dense, crowded city, which is why the BMW i3 makes even more sense.
The BMW i3 is super compact, just 4.0m long, and that means it’ll fit into places most other cars can’t. Its turning circle is also almost a whole metre smaller than most typical compact cars.
Furthermore, it’s got nearly no overhangs to speak of so parking’s a doddle, while the excellent visibility created by the tall windows and high seating position combine with the motor’s peppy and instantaneous power to make the BMW i3 well-suited for dicing for gaps in our sometimes chaotic urban traffic.
3) It certainly doesn’t look like your Dad’s BMW
If anything has remained constant through the generations of human existence, it’s that the current generation find their parents tastes embarrassing. Millennials also have a new way of showcasing their tastes: social media.
It certainly helps that the BMW i3 looks like it came from the future. That was true even when it made its debut five years ago, and despite there being more EVs on the market today, it still looks like nothing else on the road.
With its almost huggable egg-like shape and its cheery array of bright colours, the BMW i3 is guaranteed to turn heads wherever you go, and its petite size means you’ll have more opportunities to squeeze it into frame for your #picoftheday shots.
4) It’s got a more sociable, sustainable interior
Thanks to globalisation and the internet, the metaphorical distance between people has shrunk. It’s now easier than ever to keep in touch with each other, and to stay updated about each other’s lives, and it’s because of this that millennials are, in some ways, more socially connected than any generation before.
That said, it’s also important to maintain physical rather than digital connections, and the inside of a BMW i3 is a great place to do that.
Compared to most conventional cars, the BMW i3’s interior is a more relaxing space to spend time in, more like a lounge than a car. The tall windows for example, let a lot of natural light in and make the cabin feel more airy, while the flat floor and open design helps give occupants more sense of togetherness, of sharing the same space, instead of being compartmentalised in their own seats.
As an added bonus, much of the interior’s materials are sourced with an eye on sustainability. Many of the BMW i3’s interior panels are partially made with fibres from the kenaf plant, allowing for the reduced use of petroleum-based plastics; eucalyptus wood trim is available which requires less surface finishing compared to other woods, and is sourced from sustainable plantations.
5) It’s better for the environment, in more ways than you’d think
Despite what conservative types will tell you, our planet will be in trouble if something isn’t done to change it. As the ones who will have to live with the effects of our actions today, millennials obviously have a vested interest in ensuring a future that’s as habitable as possible.
That’s why this age group are the biggest champions of doing good by the environment. Electric cars like the BMW i3 are a big part of that, because while the need for transportation is a given, the goal should be for it to minimise its impact on the environment.
The benefits of electric power over fossil fuels are by now well-documented (greater energy efficiency, lower lifetime emissions overall), but the BMW i3 goes even further than that, as Dr Andreas Aumann, Vice President Product Management BMW i, eMobility, BMW AG, told CarBuyer in an interview, “The BMW i3 was conceived to be eco-friendly in a very deep way. It was designed to be lightweight, small, and the battery was designed to be right-sized for urban use.”
Not only that but this conscientiousness extends to the way it’s made. Dr Aumann also told CarBuyer that the energy-intensive process of creating carbonfibre for the BMW i3’s body, for example, is done using green, renewable 100 percent hydro power, and that the car is assembled in another plant using 100 percent renewable energy. “The BMW i3 was designed thru and thru as a sustainable and CO2 friendly car,” he said.
In fact, in a way, the BMW i3 has gone on to influence the entire company. Lessons learnt from BMW i has resulted in a commitment by the company to have all its plants in the world running completely green energy by 2020. Talk about a ripple effect…