TV adverts are pretty fun, and posters on buses are, too. But if you really want people to sit up and take notice, you need to send somebody on a three-month expedition across icy seas, frozen wastelands and Scotland.
Well what do you know, that's exactly what BMW has done! The company sent Stefan Glowacz, a man with a tremendous head of hair who also happens to be BMW's Outdoor Ambassador (I didn't see that one listed on Monster so I can't tell you what the job description is), on a trip from Munich to Greenland and back. BMW says the expedition was "dedicated to sustainable mobility", so of course he and his team were powered by kites, sails and good old fashioned brute strength, plus two all-electric i3s.
Three months later he's back in Munich, and oh boy oh boy does he have some stories to tell. Let's get the i3 bit out the way first, because it was slightly less eventful than braving oceans, scaling cliffs and crossing ice fields.
Accompanied by fellow climber Philipp Hans and photographer Thomas Ulrich, the three used two i3s to haul themselves and their equipment from BMW Welt in Munich to Mallaig, a tiny town on the Scottish west coast. They made the same trip in reverse on the way back, meaning they totaled around 2500 miles behind the wheel. That would probably have meant making at least a dozen stops to charge up along the way, but whatever, it's a road trip in an electric vehicle so it's awesome.
Between these two leisurely car rides, though, is where Glowacz, Hans and Ulrich showed that BMW was right to bring in the professionals, rather than just a random assortment of people who could drive a car. After leaving Scotland, the team took a 48-ft sailing yacht across the northern Atlantic. Just in case you thought that kind of stuff might have been easy, they had to contend with a low pressure system on the way to Iceland (I'm not a sailor so I don't know why that's bad, but apparently it's bad), then icebergs that I'd like to believe were round, spinning and incredibly reflective coming into Disko Bay on Greenland's west coast.
Once in Greenland, the real work began — there's a reason BMW dubbed it the "Coast to Coast" expedition. First, the team had to climb a 2300-ft ice face on what has for centuries been known as Greenland's more hospitable coast. Uh, OK then. Then they had to cross over 600 miles of frozen nothingness on the way to Scoresby Sound, on the opposite coast. In the spirit of sustainability, this 30-day leg of the journey was wind-powered, with the team taking to kite sleds to make their way across the ice sheet. Wind isn't always as reliable as it should be, though, so some of those 30 days had to be spent in temperatures as low as minus 40 without much to do except walking. Which sounds fun.
After calling off a rock climb at Scoresby Sound due to extreme weather conditions, the team boarded their yacht back towards Scotland. Because an expedition isn't an expedition without drama at every turn, off the west coast they faced 20-ft waves in what BMW called a "violent storm" that "impressively demonstrated the forces of nature" and local Hebrideans no doubt called "a wee breeze".
It's a little more than the average i3 owner is going to face driving around town, but it's nice to know that if the environmental apocalypse hits and you really need to make it to Greenland, a couple i3s can be a key part of the puzzle.