Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Bizarre Case of The Abandoned i3

Source: Jalopnik

A few days ago Jalopnik posted some pictures of an i3 sitting on the side of the road on I-684 in New York and called it "Poor Little i3 Gives up, is Abandoned in NY Suburb". The author makes the assumption that the car broke down and the driver just left it there on the side of the road, near an exit ramp for the tow truck to come and get it. While I find that hard to believe, at the same time there are few other valid explanations.

Evidently a Jalopnik reader was driving by and saw the car sitting there unattended and stopped to take the pictures. This area isn't far from BMW's North American headquarters and it's not uncommon for prototypes and pre-production BMWs to be seen driving around these parts. However it is very uncommon to see one left unattended. These are not production cars and are pretty rare now. There are probably only a dozen or two of them in the entire US at this point and for one to be left sitting on the side of the road unattended it's pretty shocking.

However we don't have the whole story, and likely never will. I don't suspect this is the kind of thing BMW would comment on so I wouldn't even ask. There is no picture of it being towed so there really is no proof that it was actually broken down, other than to say why else would it be sitting there like that.

Maybe the driver needed to make an unscheduled bathroom break in the woods? I guess I'd rather believe that then it broke down and the driver just left it there. I suspect someone at BMW had some explaining to do when they came to work on Monday!

What do you think happened here?

12 comments:

  1. This is strange. I would have waited there to see who returned for it if I had the time.

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  2. hahahahaha! You can't get lucky anymore. Everybody has a camera and is ready to snap you the instant you mess up!

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    1. That's the truth. Only a few years ago this would have never been a story. Even if someone said they saw an i3 sitting alone on an off ramp nobody would believe them.

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  3. Have you thought it could possibly be a BMW PR stunt? Maybe the driver took the pictures and sent them to Jalopnik not knowing that Jalponik would spin it negatively?

    If it is real and some BMW test driver left it there like this they need to fire his ass. At the very least he doesn't get to drive any test cars any more as he's proven unresponsible

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    1. I did think about that but I think if they were going to do something like that they wouldn't take the picture there, on the side of the road by an exit ramp. I still say it's very possible the person really had to go to the bathroom and ran into the woods for a few minutes, just at the time the guy passed buy and took the pictures. It's hard for me to believe anyone would leave one of these sitting there on the side of the road unattended like this. If they did, wouldn't the tow truck driver need the key to unlock the door to unlock the steering wheel and take it out of park?

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  4. If the person really did leave the car behind like Jalopnik guesses, then they deserve what they get from BMW. That can't be accepted procedure with a rare non production vehicle like this. there was probably expensive monitoring equipment in there also.

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  5. I'm going with your bathroom stop theory. There are woods there and maybe he just couldn't hold it an any longer. We've all been there. I can imagine him hiding behind a tree when the person stopped and took the pictures, never imagining they would be posted all over the internet

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  6. It broke down. The driver was embarrassed & took off and left it for the tow truck. Probably a suit taking it for a joyride. An engineer would never leave it there like that

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  7. How 'bout this:
    New EV driver, poor distance management skills
    Battery dies near HQ
    Cell phone battery dead also
    Hoofs it to ramp and gets ride/ makes call
    ???

    Tom L

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    1. This car has the range extender (you can see the gas filler door in one of the pictures) so the driver must have poor distance management and poor vision for failing to see the fuel gauge indicator! ;)

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  8. I have worked in the auto-industry for many years and I'm currently working in the BEV2013-project, and the activities with mules, prototypes and pre-production cars are often a bit different from what one might believe when coming from outside.

    Here in the Munich-area, the i3 is a pretty usual sight on the streets by now, and nobody would react much to a picture of an i3 left unattended. So, I don't think there is anything spectacular about the pic at all. OK, so the car was left unattended for minutes or hours on an unusual spot, but whether for a reason good or bad, hardly anything the driver will be or should be punished for.

    By now, the prototypes and pre-production cars are virtually valueless from a monetary viewpoint and hardly reveal any information that isn't readily available elsewhere to anyone with a minimum of interest and dedication.

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  9. Maybe it was a honeypot. BMW wanted to see if someone would snatch it so they bugged it with extra GPS and inertial trackers and left the mic on ;)

    Or maybe someone had already snatched it, BMW realized it, and remotely disabled the car with the perp fleeing into the bushes.

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