The utopian ideal of not having to pay for petrol should, in theory, have electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 zooming out of showrooms like smartphones.

The fact that sales have instead been a trickle is due to two things: short range and long charging times. But all that is changing now that the automotive world, rather than treating electric cars as a nice-to-have niche, is committed to throwing many of its future eggs into the electric-car basket. There’s been a surge of technological development in this field and, if we’re to believe motor company claims, the battery-powered cars twirling on motor show stands are promising petrol-equivalent ranges of up to 500km, while charging times are getting ever shorter. The BMW i3 isn’t quite at this point yet, but, as Motor News discovered over a week-long test, it has become a far more practical and easier-to-live-with car now that the driving range has been hiked since the i3 was launched in 2015.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now