James MayEnlarge Photo
You know Top Gear, right? The UK car show with a trio of presenters who hate fuel-efficient cars, think electric cars are useless and like to scream around airfields in gas-guzzling supercars?
Well, not quite.
James May has always been a little different. He often drives to the studio in a 1.2-liter Fiat Panda minicar, for instance, and last year he circumnavigated the Isle of Man's TT course on an electric erector-set motorcycle. And now he's proved it further, by buying a 2014 BMW i3 REx electric car.
And in it, he told the presenter that he actually "quite likes" electric cars, suggesting that we've known for some time electric motors are "the ideal way" to propel vehicles.
May says his i3 purchase is partly to become "part of the 'experiment'"--that electric cars and their technology are worth exploring for the future.
The presenter is still concerned about the UK's limited charging network though. For this reason, he tells the presenter, he chose the range-extended i3, rather than its all-electric equivalent.
"It really ought to be branded 'pure cowardice'," he says of the range-extender, "because that's what it is and why I've got one".
2014 BMW i3Enlarge Photo
He's also adamant that electric cars need to work financially. While the UK offers useful subsidies for driving an electric car right now, he said he doesn't want people to think he's bought the car so the government will be pleased with him.
"I’m buying an electric car because I’m thinking it’s exciting and I’m in the fortunate position of being able to do it," he told the BBC show.
While May is perhaps the most progressive of the Top Gear presenters, he still retains his gearhead heart.
When quizzed on what car he'll be using for longer distances--those beyond realistic reach of the i3 REx's 150-mile range--his reply was somewhat of a counterpoint to the i3.
"It's a Ferrari", he replied.
Well...at least he's bought an i3, right?...