John Carey

GETS BLOGGED

SOME CARS NEED A TOM MOLOUGHNEY. YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF HIM, AND I’VE NEVER MET HIM, BUT MANY REGARD THIS BURLY LOOKING AMERICAN AS ‘THE MAN’ WHEN IT COMES TO THE BMW i3.

If anyone can convince you that driving electric is perfectly practical, even enjoyable, it’s him. But he’s also able to describe every flaw and fault of this magazine’s reigning Car of the Year.

Moloughney is both advocate and analyst, but this description makes him sound like some kind of a cross between lawyer and psychotherapist. In reality, he’s a blogger. And the owner of an Italian restaurant in Montclair, New Jersey, up in the north-east corner of the USA about 80km west of New York City.

I’ve got no idea if he can personally put together a great pasta sauce or spin pizza dough like a pro, but it’s obvious from reading his stuff that he’s an intelligent and honest type, with a natural talent for good, plain writing.

“I was interested in alternative-fuel vehicles, and I knew I wanted to reduce my personal consumption of oil, but I really had no idea if I’d like driving electric or if the industry would actually be making and selling electric cars anytime soon,” is how Moloughney explains why he applied to join the Mini-E lease program in 2009. The owner of the Mini brand, BMW, was preparing to produce an electric car, and wanted to build up a solid base of real-world data with the help of real-world users and a worldwide fleet of 28 500 converted-to-electric Mini Coopers.

The vehicle he owned at that time was a Toyota Tacoma, a full-size American pick-up that he still uses occasionally for moving big refrigerators and clearing snow from his restaurant’s car park in winter. The guy likes driving, too. An earlier choice had been a Porsche Boxster.

After the Mini E program, Moloughney signed up for the ActiveE in 2012. This was another lease-only trial special, but with a more advanced electric drivetrain installed in a BMW 1 Series.

Then, in 2014, he bought the purpose-designed electric car BMW had been planning to build all along, the i3. He chose the version with range extender, had it wrapped in red paint and fitted a custom number plate that delivers a succinct message: ‘EF OPEC’.

The unmistakable authority of Moloughney’s blogging is a result of vast firsthand experience.

Over more than five years in three plug-in cars, he’s racked up more than 250,000km of electric driving, including 40,000km in his first year with the i3. It’s been a learning journey for Moloughney, who’s made himself into a bona fide electric driving expert, and the person who knows the i3 better than anyone outside of BMW.

He criticises the car without fear, but Moloughney’s passion for electric cars in general and his BMW in particular is plain.

Anyone thinking of making the switch to an electric car will have many questions, and Moloughney’s bmwi3.blogspot.com is a great place to find very good answers.

It’s obvious from reading his stuff that Tom is an intelligent and honest type

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WHY would an electriccar lover choose by buy an i3 with range-extender rather than without?

Tom Moloughney (above) fi gured he’s likely drive more electric-powered miles if he didn’t have to worry about range anxiety.

He estimates 95 percent of the 40,000km covered by his i3 REx in the past year has been using electricity, much of it provided by the 8.8kW solar array on his home’s roof.