The BMW i3 takes the ConnectedDrive experience to a new level, with a bespoke app designed specifically for the new BMW i vehicles. As every BMW i comes with an embedded SIM, it is connected and that brings with it a whole range of possibilities.
We had a play with the new BMW ConnectedDrive Remote app for BMW i at the London launch of the new electric car. The app will be available for Android and iPhone, giving you a seamless experience between the car's internal systems and the phone in your pocket, bridging the divide between car and driver.
You'll be able to check the status of your BMW i3 battery, see the charge and the range you'll get from it. If you have a range extender model, you'll get to see that added into the range too. If you've used some of the fuel from the range extender's tank, that will also be reflected in the range so you're always in the picture.
But the range on the BMW i3 is more dynamic than that. It first takes into account the driving mode, with the Eco Pro or Eco Pro+ option giving you more miles. Your driving style will also make a difference and the range calculation allows for that, as will the weather, temperature and terrain. It might be that the most energy efficient route to your destination is longer and that will be reflected in the navigation results you get.
Navigation can add another dimension on the BMW i3, as you'll be able to factor in public transport (in some locations) too, which BMW is referring to as "intermodal" travel. If your route would be better by parking and getting the Tube, then BMW ConnectedDrive will be able to factor that in. Not only will it be aware of public transport, but it will also guide your vehicle to parking, then offer you pedestrian navigation through your phone.
BMW even told us that if the traffic conditions were really bad, the real-time updates would reflect this, and again, you might be advised that the best route to your destination is to park your BMW i3 and get on a train.
The idea, BMW told us today, was to break down the barriers and make it as easy as possible for people to travel cleanly and efficiently. In the future, the company wants to make it possible to book public transport tickets through the app too, so there's really no excuse to avoid that inner-city train.
With the BMW i3 being an electric vehicle, charging is going to be a big consideration. The ConnectedDrive app for BMW i will show you charging stations, including different types, so those that are included in BMW's ChargeNow network will be shown as such.
There are also clever options for charging at home. You can tell your car to charge during off peak hours, for example, so it will charge in the middle of the night, rather than immediately on return home from the office and you'll always be able to check the charge status of your car through the app.
You can also set the climate control to turn on and cool or heat the car in preparation for your drive. Leaving at 6am on a cold winter's morning? No problem, the car will have it toasty warm inside when you get in.
Then you have more regular functions. You'll be able to glance at your phone and see if you've left a door or window open and you'll be able to remote lock and unlock. There's a whole suite of statistics to munch, so you can see how efficient you are as a driver and how efficient the rest of the BMW i community is too. Of course, there are also warnings and alerts that come through the app so you'll know when it's time to get a service.
BMW is keen to emphasise that because the car is directly connected to the ConnectedDrive server, it will be able to add new functions and services directly to the car in the future.
Oh, and don't worry: the picture of the BMW i3 in the app will change so it's the same colour as the car you own. Clever stuff.