Published On: Tue, Mar 10th, 2015

Former DeBeers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer Buys S. Africa’s First 100% Electric BMW

Oppenheimer says BMW is "taking electric motoring to the next level."

Nicky Oppenheimer with his electric BMW

BMW is jumping into the electric car market, and in South Africa, the company’s first BMWi3 customer is Nicky Oppenheimer, philanthropist and former chairman of the DeBeers diamond mining company, according to

Oppenheimer purchased a BMW i3 REX in Orange. Tim Abbott, director of BMW Group South Africa, told, “The new BMWi3 presents the BMW Group’s first volume-produced model driven purely by electric power and introduces a new era of mobility for urban dwellers looking for alternative mobililty solutions.”

Oppenheimer says he chose the car because he enjoys advanced technology and thinks the BMWi3 is “taking electric motoring to the next level.” He adds, “What I am really enjoying about my BMW i3 is its stealth and robustness on the road. It is an absolute pleasure to drive.”

Nicky Oppenheimer’s grandfather, Ernest Oppenheimer, was founder of Anglo American and was the first generation of his family to chair the DeBeers company, which was founded by Cecil John Rhodes in 1888. Nicky Oppenheimer has been involved in efforts to preserve the culture and history of the Southern African region, and started the Brenthurst Foundation to find solutions for sustainable development of African markets.

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