Recent studies have shown that Millennials age 18-35 of todays times are simply not interested or bothered in buying cars. Carmakers today are trying to figure out why the millennial generation has zero interest in owning a car. What car makers are failing to see is that this generation’s interests and priorities have shifted in the last two or so decades, and personal technology products take up the fast lane instead.
OKAY, BUT WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE BMW I3?
Well, did you know that as of 2017, the BMW i3 is now 4 years old? Yip, that’s right, this fully electric car has been on market since 2013. BMW jumped the commercial curve with this one and put out a car that has done better than what everyone has thought. I was recently sent one which surprised me and many of my petrol head friends too.
AN ALL ELECTRIC CAR, FIRST IMPRESSIONS?
It’s super silent, so driving in and out an estate or closed off area is fairly easy, something I am not that used to considering most of my test cars are fitted with exhaust boosters and no less than 2 exhausts. With no radio on the ride becomes pleasant, you can hear just how noisy the world can be with angry drivers and excessive city hooting. I really started to enjoy it, you are surrounded by either good music, talk radio or the elements. I could best describe driving this car like driving around with noise cancelling headphones in your ears.
IS IT FAST? AND WHAT DO I GET FOR MY MONEY?
Well, yes. All electric cars have instant torque, the shove that throws you into your seats. Unlike petrol or diesel powered cars that rely on you to rev and be in gear, an electric car has all its force right from the start. Flooring the i3 is no joke, the electric motor has 125 kW/170 hp and peak torque of 250 N. m (184 lb-ft).
Power delivery to the rear wheels is via a single-speed transmission. I found myself leaving many Polo GTi and Fiesta ST owners shocked at the traffic lights. The interior is typical BMW, however most of it is simple and minimalist, cloth seats, exposed carbon and the look and feel that it was made using recyclable and environmentally friendly materials.
BACK TO THE MILLENNIAL PART…
Okay, so here is the thing, I have had a lot of fast cars, all producing God like power or being so expensive you could buy a house with it, but the trouble was that of people my generation who weren’t petrol heads. Whether it was an M3 or an AMG Merc, they simply couldn’t be bothered at all with it, and simply carried on their way Instagramming and taking a photo of the car for social and then moving on. When I had the i3 though, things were a different story.
I was simply blown away by the interest the car had generated when I had it. It was pointed at, photographed, and small pockets of crowds drew to it, more so than usual. It was strange cause it wasn’t a Ferrari or a four piped German sedan, so what was the deal? I asked a few people and the answer simply blew me away.
Majority of the 21st centuary generation are connected to the internet and smartphones all the time, caring about the environment is more important than ever, being eco friendly and leaving a small carbon footprint is high priority, which is true, we should be doing everything we can to leave this world a better place than we found it. The reason Millennials are turning away from cars is simply because no one is giving them vehicles they want.
IS IT A MONEY THING, OR ARE WE MISSING OTHER REASONS?
Unlike previous generations who came to their own independence from things such as movies, music, cars, and motorcycles, teens and young adults today are expressing their freedom, culture and lifestyle through social media. Marketing to this group needs a different mindset that involves taking the time to understand.
You need to be progressive, clever, ahead of the curve yet always involving your audience every step of the way. Making viral hits yet using little to no of your own advertising. A prime example of this is someone you all know very well and if you think out the brand, you’ll know why it has suddenly in the last 5 years boomed into the market. Does the name Tesla and Elon Musk sound familiar?
Millennials, while we might appear distracted and lazy always on our phones, in reality, we are keenly aware of what’s happening around us, perhaps more so than other generations. We know whats happening all the time everywhere. We prefer convenience over admin which is why one brand in particular is a serious threat to car manufacturers globally.
Uber, all you need is the app and you can basically go anywhere you want without the hassle of worrying about petrol, parking and the stress of looking after your own car. Best part, you can have a few drinks too cause majority of Ubers clients come from the bar or a night out after 10pm.
Going further on this, I know school kids who take Uber to school and back. In my day I had to beg and plead my parents for a lift. Now that you have that in mind, growing up with convenience, why would you want to buy a car if all you had was the ease and use of your smartphone. It’s no wonder current generations are not into cars or driving anymore.
So as 2017 comes to a close, where does that leave me and my thoughts on this? As a lover of all things automotive I hated doing so much research and finding out the decline of drivers licenses and owning a car. As 90s kid I dreamed of things like that, but I must accept that most of society is changing.
Manufactures are doing their most to keep up with this, we can see this by the additions of adding Apple Car Play into cars, making more hybrid powertrains and environmentally friendly cars and the testing of self driving and all electric cars. I saw a glimpse into the future with the i3 but it did make me miss the noise and satisfaction of the petrol powered car.
As petrol heads it is up to us now to keep the tradition of cars alive, a drivers license should be a right of passage and so should owning a car, and while we are far off in my opinion of a fully electric future, reasons being cost factors and mass change worldwide, I encourage everyone reading this to keep the traditions of cars and everything that surrounds it going until we have no other options left but to surrender to the autonomous and electric future.