Fans of the first iteration of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” series will remember how the star of the show, Larry David, drove a Toyota Prius. A hybrid was the perfect ride for L.A. Most episodes had a scene of Larry scooting around in his wee car taking lunches with a cast of frenemies.
When David & Co. got the gang together for the reboot of “Curb,” it made sense that his car was upgraded. Now Larry tools around in an all-electric BMW i3; still a wee car but one that is light years ahead in technology, sustainability and performance.
Vehicles built for a lower environmental impact are a breed apart. According to BMW, the Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) used in the BMW i3 is as strong as steel, but only half the weight; that’s why it’s used in race cars. The BMW i3 – and its sportier partner, the i8 — are both built on a framework of CFRP.
Sustainability means more than emission-free driving. For BMW it starts in Germany where every i3 or i8 is assembled at an eco-friendly factory powered by wind turbines. Here in the U.S. outside Seattle, BMW’s Moses Lake CFRP plant draws its energy from hydropower. Producing an i3, from first bolts to final inspection, uses 50% less energy and 70% less water.
Adding to i3’s sustainability cred are the raw materials used. For example, open-pore eucalyptus wood is used not only for its beauty, but also because it’s a sustainable resource. The leather upholstery is tanned using olive leaf extract, a natural process that protects against fading and wear.
Since the oil crisis of the Seventies, manufacturers have squeezed more miles from every gallon of fossil fuel. Now, electric carmakers strive to get more “range miles.” BMW says the i3 has a range of 114 miles between battery charges with Range Extender versions offering 180 miles. Other cars deliver more miles per charge (but they’re definitely not BMWs).
Starting at $44,450 (MSRP) and available to lease for $319 a month, we’ll no doubt see more folks in SW Lake County driving what Larry drives.