Video: Dashcam Video From Stolen BMW i3 Shows Even Car Thieves Can Get The EV Grin

Editorial note: the above video does contain some swearing, so many not be appropriate for work or viewing around children.

It’s a well-known fact that electric cars accelerate in a very different way to an internal combustion engined vehicle, thanks to the instant torque produced by electric motors at or near stall. Indeed, as Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TLSA] has proven time and time again, it’s possible for even a modest, entry-level Tesla Model S 70 to out-accelerate a muscle car with far more brake horsepower under the hood. Why? Instant torque and no gear change.

You don't need a Tesla to experience the EV Grin

You don’t need a Tesla to experience the EV Grin

When people experience first hand what it feels like to accelerate hard off the line in an electric car, the acceleration pushing them into their seat, it generally elicits a reaction that electric car advocates call the ‘EV Grin.’ It’s the same kind of exhilarating, ear-to-ear smile that we get as kids when experiencing a roller coaster for the first time; it’s addictive, and it’s sold more electric cars than any TV commercial could.

Usually, people experience their first EV Grin thanks to a coworker, friend or family member who has just purchased a new electric car. Sometimes, they’ll experience it at a public electric car advocacy event such as the annual Plug In America Drive Electric Week. Others experience it during an official electric car test drive at their local car dealership or Tesla Store. But it seems even those whose first time behind the wheel isn’t listed above can still get the EV Grin.

After stealing the car, this criminal boasts about how awesome it is.

After stealing the car, this criminal boasts about how awesome it is.

Like someone engaged in the act of grand theft auto for example. And no, we’re not talking about the highly popular — and controversial — video console game.

We’re talking about a video which surfaced online last week purporting to be dashcam footage from a BMW i3 which had been stolen from its owners’ home somewhere in the vicinity of the North Middlesex Hospital, just north of Tottenham in the London borough of Haringey.

While details concerning the video are sparse (we’ve tried and so far failed to find the original owner of the car in order to prove the video’s authenticity) we understand that the BMW i3 was stolen from its owner’s home earlier this year. If the date and time stamp on the video are to be believed, it occurred on the morning of Sunday February 7th at around 5am in the morning. Given the lack of traffic on the usually busy roads we see the car being driven along (as a student, the author used to live just down the road in Tottenham’s adjoining town Seven Sisters) we’ve no reason to doubt the authenticity of the video.

We join the video as the car is being driven along a North London street. The thief hasn’t realized yet that this particular car has a dashcam fitted that is recording his every move, and can be heard making a cellphone call to an associate, attempting to find a buyer for the hot car. Given his thick accent (a little bit of a blend of Cockney, Estuary English and ‘Saaff London’) you’ll note quotes aren’t written in the Queen’s English, but we think you’ll be able to understand the context just fine.

We get it: the BMW i3 is a desirable car.

We get it: the BMW i3 is a desirable car.

“I got it! I got it, bruv!” the thief tells his friend. “Yeah, I’m driving it naah. I jumped in it and took it bruv! I’m gonna park it by my flat or down by Luke’s.”

There’s a brief pause in the video during which the person on the other end of the phone says something to the hapless criminal.

“Nah, nah, nah, nah. That’s too close…to where the car…where the car comes from,” he says in response, a little excitement creeping into his voice. “But listen! Oi D! I ‘ave never been in a car like this. This car will leave ANYTHING for dust. It is OFF. This car can MOVE!”

Clearly impressed by the all-electric drivetrain and 130 kilowatt electric motor driving the rear wheels, the proud geezer, obviously still impervious to the camera recording his every move, starts to understand just how important his latest acquisition is.

“It’s a i3 BMW… Yeah… I got it so make yer calls bruv an get it. cause I’m drivin’ it in mai flats. Not mah mum’s. MAI flats,” he says, giving his contact instructions on how to get to the estate where he lives — and of course, giving the local police all the evidence they need to tie this particular crook in with the crime.

After a short discussion where he offers to show his contact his home, complete with “curved TV”, “bass boxes,” and other additions that makes it “bangin'” and “CRAZE,” the conversation turns back to the car itself.

“I took it awt their drive,” he said. “I’m trying to get it to drive an it won’t drive an then it sez take the handbrake off an I pushed it an took the handbrake off,” he continued, marvelling at the car’s technology.

The criminal didn't notice the dashcam inside the car.

The criminal didn’t notice the dashcam inside the car.

“This is OFF,” he concludes, urging his contact to call his buyer and come to view the car.

With a 0-60 mph time of around 7 seconds, the BMW i3 is undeniably quick, but it’s also no Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X. Given that fact, we can’t help but wonder if this particular criminal was experiencing an electric car for the first time.

As the video notes, the local police were able to recover the car — and the video — although as we’ve noted already, we’ve yet to confirm the authenticity of this YouTube video.

Either way though, the message is clear: even criminals can get the EV Grin.


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  • leptoquark

    Very funny! BMW ought to craft that into an ad. Too bad the UK doesn’t have Drive Electric Week Events (at least not yet). He could do community service as a volunteer.

  • Electric Bill

    I an REALLY looking forward to the update on this video, as everyone else, I am, sure… so, many questions– did they get the car back? Did they arrest this twit? Was this video being sent to a “Lo Jack” type system in, real, time for the cops to track him to his lair, which was likely a chop shop?

    Was this a “bait car” as US cops often use, left in a high crime area for crooks to steal? The crook says it has enormous performance, but then later says he can’t get it to “go”, as if the cops remotely disabled the system enough to keep him from driving at unsafe speeds… the way they do bait cars in the US, they have several things installed, such as doors that lock and cannot be unlocked by the occupant, trapping him inside– I suspect this is what we are seeing.inside. Instant karma! Great vid, thank you, Nikki! This is undoubtedly my fave vid of recent! Sharing this will definitely help discourage thieves!

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