I have to say up front that I actually believe the i3 is worth every penny of it’s high asking price because it is a very well put together and cleverly conceived car which uses high quality materials in its construction. But that said, even if I could afford a new one I wouldn’t be very happy with the chronic depreciation but more importantly BMW themselves.
BMW seem to me to be a bit like Apple, they offer a high quality product, stylish and well made no doubt but expensive and you have to pay for every extra and they certainly don’t want you repairing it yourself! Oh no, they would rather profit from you by replacing expensive parts. And they are expensive. Plus, it seems to me, and this is only my experience and perhaps I have been unlucky, that BMW have grown too big and set in their ways. Maybe their system works so long as you do things their way but I’m not sure about that. Clearly there are aspects of BMW which are amazing. How else could they have come up with such an extraordinary car? There are many things about BMW that are very good but customer service ain’t one of them.
This blog post is not a rant about BMW, though I will just mention the farce that I experienced with BMW UK. I wrote to them to ask if I could fit a tow bar and if so what capacity could the i3 tow. I received a poorly written reply from someone who clearly didn’t even bother to read my email as they told me you can’t tow an i3 because you can damage it! The staff replying to my questions were described as either a Customer Service Consultant or better still, a Customer Support Executive and when you see that you know there’s a deep set problem somewhere in the company. As I said, perhaps I was unlucky but on the other hand I have read far too many comments from unhappy customers on the forums so I know I am not alone. BMW do themselves a giant disservice by having such poor customer relations. If they put as much effort and foresight into their customer service as they did into the i3 they could have a customer service second to none.
The problem seems to be that BMWs are expensive and when something is pricey one’s expectations go up accordingly. This is why BMWs get so many complaints, people expect a lot when they buy a BMW but things can go wrong despite their best efforts. What I can tell you right now is that the i3 is one complicated car. Frankly it amazes me that everything still works on mine.
My expectations are much lower because I bought a 6 year old one with just 60k kms on it for less than a third of it’s original price and apart from a very little and inevitable battery degradation it’s almost as it was when it came out of the factory. And when you pay such a discounted price you will obviously have lower expectations. Add to that I have no fear tackling any issues that may arise and I understand that I won’t get any help from BMW but then neither do I want it so suddenly the i3 looks quite doable and relatively inexpensive. Sure, parts are expensive but so they are for any newish car and anyway there are plenty of bits for sale secondhand. It’s fair to say that I bought an i3 despite it being a BMW and not because it is a BMW.
When it came to buying an EV I admit that the range extender option made much sense to me. My i3 has a fast charge option (yep, the original owner paid extra for that!) so it could be used simply as an EV but the charging infrastructure is far from sorted in 2020 although it is improving every day. But for now the idea of a get out of jail free card made sense.
Plus charging on the public networks is shamefully expensive and unreliable and hardly encourages anyone to take the EV plunge. If not for the fact that I can home charge and have the rex I would not be buying an EV, certainly not here in the French countryside where the nearest charge points are a full battery charge away! If governments are serious about EVs then they need to improve the infrastructure and lower costs. But that is a rant for another day.
One can prevaricate forever but at some point one has to make a commitment and take the plunge and live with the consequences. There are as many reasons for not converting to EV as there are for doing so but for me it was easy even if it did cost more. One day soon, EVs will be cheaper to buy than an ICE car but there remains a deep cynical view of EVs and that is not helping the cause.
For example, one thing I will often hear is how an EV running on dirty power pollutes more than an ICE car. This, along with many other myths, has been debunked and it is now known that taken over the lifetime of the car, an EV is better for the environment regardless of how you power it. Here in Europe we can choose the power we buy and thus reduce our carbon footprint considerably if we charge with renewables. Even better if we have solar panels on our roofs!
Everyone goes on about the cobalt or the lithium in the batteries (which can be recycled at the end of their life) but few people mention the misery which comes from digging oil out of the ground. How many wars have been fought over oil? It’s a hugely polluting hideous business, from ground to the fuel tank. Just think of the oil tanker spills alone… All this is of no import really as the future is going to be battery powered so the way I see it people might just as well accept that this is the way it is going to be, build a bridge and get over it. Batteries will get cleaner as time goes on. An EV is simply a step in the right direction on the road to a more sustainable and cleaner future.
Once all the arguments about too little range and not enough charging points has been accepted then it’s time to open one’s mind and really consider the possibility of an EV. What’s not to like? Silent instant power, ease of use, less pollution and much lower running costs. Problem is that although there is a secondhand market for EVs it’s not very big and the choice is lame. There are going to be a lot of new EVs in 2021 but this won’t help those who don’t have 10s of thousands of Euros to spend on a new car.
Of all the EVs for sale at the moment the i3 stands alone. It is an extraordinary car in so many ways. It seems to me that it is under appreciated but I believe that is because it is a pricy car and as I mentioned earlier, expectations are high. But I also like that the i3 is also misunderstood by the vast majority of people.
There is a fascinating video on YouTube where a panel of experts ask questions of the man who took one apart to cost it. It took him a very long time and 2 million dollars to do it. Along the way he obviously learned everything there was to learn. He came away poorer but full of respect and admiration for the i3. It’s true that the more you look into this car the more respect you have for it.
Reviewers are quick to find fault with the smallest things these days but honestly, when you consider how complicated a car it is you just wonder at how they got it so right. And anyway, it’s not necessarily wrong but rather BMW’s way of doing things. You could whine about it or you could just accept it. I have chosen to accept it. Life being too short and besides I really don’t want to be one of those miserable old geezers moaning about new technology and getting stuck in the past to my own detriment. At some point you have to cave and accept our inevitable reliance on electricity.
It’s not perfect but it’s still early days. Just imagine what EVs will be like in 50 years time. I am already really impressed with the i3 despite its small range but things can only get better and an early adoption always brings advantages and in any case I have never been one to follow the flock.
So with all that out of the way here’s what I think about the i3. Lets start with the driving of it because this is what we do when we buy a car, we drive it. It was designed to be driven was it not? All the other things are less important. BMW is known as a driver’s car and I think the i3 is still a BMW in that sense. If you were blindfolded and put inside one you would be impressed with the comfy seats, the quiet and the silent forward progress. The ride is firm but compliant (at least with the 19” wheels fitted).
It does everything very well. The steering is well weighted and sensitive, it changes direction well. It grips in the corners and instils confidence. The brakes are excellent and It corners flat. It has great visibility. All in all it has to be said it’s a nice car to drive. Plant your foot at 60 kmh and you rocket off. That never gets old I can tell you. I was laughing out loud for days every time I did it when I first bought the car. Just so fantastic to feel that kind of power with so little noise.
Because of the way it drives I can forgive it the way it looks. Something that has been well designed and built has its own beauty which forgives some of its more strange features or options. After all if you’re designing a product you have to make choices and one thing’s for sure you can’t please everyone, especially in this troll ridden, modern, cynical and connected world of ours, so why not do it your own way? I actually agree with BMW on this one. They knew not everyone would like it but they held on in their Teutonic belief that their way was the best and enough people would ‘get it’ and maybe they wanted something a bit mad to showcase their first real committed EV (there had been some before but nothing like this). Maybe it’s a German thing?
Take my Leica M9, now 11 years old and still going strong. It too breaks convention and operates in a very different way to other cameras and yet that does not stop it taking amazing pictures. I doubt I will ever buy another camera and I really hope that I don’t have to ever buy another car. I would like to think that it will only be a matter of time before some enterprising entrepreneur starts offering battery upgrades as the tech improves. Maybe I can keep the i3 for a very long time.
The battery can be easily removed and it’s made up of 8 modules which can be individually replaced so a battery with one cell down can be economically repaired which is excellent.
Let’s talk about sustainability. No one is saying that EVs will save the planet but the priority right now is to stop burning things and having an EV is a good way to do that. I’m not going to get in to the argument about how the grid will cope with millions of electric cars all plugged in at the same time, there are some very clever people out there who will ensure that a world of EVs works for us and not against us. One day we won’t even need power stations, our cars and vans when plugged in will power and balance the grid at peak times and charge at off peak times. But as I said, I’m not going to get in to that here.
Sustainability begins with the design and here BMW really went for it building a whole new efficient factory running on sustainable power. Then they built the car with lightweight materials. The lighter the car, the smaller the battery can be. Yes, a Tesla can drive 250+ miles but the battery is probably about 5 times the size of the i3. BMW’s approach was to save weight wherever possible and so the chassis is aluminium and the body shell of carbon fibre! The body panels are plastic.
Thanks to all this weight saving the i3 is quite light for an EV and it’s very cool too. Carbon fibre is normally only seen on very expensive sports cars, yachts or aeroplanes. Even a Tesla is made of steel. The plastic panels simply bolt on and off and don’t dent in the way steel ones do nor can this car rust. There are loads of recycled materials in the car and most of it can be recycled at the end of its life. But I’m not going to waffle on about all this because it’s all been discussed a thousand times by others. I want to discuss some things that few others talk about.
There has been a lot of slagging off of the rear suicide doors but I think this is unfair and many motoring journalists and reviewers take a kind of perverse pride in finding fault in cars because they can. Rather than celebrate something different and funky they revel in dissing it. The main point they make is that when you are next to another car or a wall it is very hard to get out with both doors open. But what they fail to realise is that the front seat can tip forwards and there is still enough room for the rear occupant to exit the car as if it were a two door. I think that’s very clever. And in any case if this did bother you it does not take much effort to consider this before you pull up somewhere. Or shuffle across the seats and get out the other side. The lack of a transmission tunnel helps here.
With the rear doors open getting in and out is so easy for children and adults alike. Perhaps it is better if you think about the i3 as a two door car which can sometimes have four doors. Other cars should be jealous really as they cannot offer the same level of side impact protection with such a huge opening. It’s thanks to the carbon fibre’s strength which allows such a design.
What amazes me the most is just how well developed and refined the car is. There are so many examples. Take the front windows, electric of course. They go up and down automatically unless you stop them but when the door is open and you want the window up you have to hold the switch. It’s a small thing but it shows that the very clever BMW engineers considered what might happen if the door was open and the window was allowed to rise automatically.
Things like the wiper parking so you can lift the blades off the screen for changing or if you don’t want them to stick if it’s icy. It’s true that you only need this function because the wipers park under and behind the front bonnet for aerodynamic’s sake but it is another example of their detailed attention.
Sometimes I feel as if the engineers tried to exploit every function to the max. Take the preset buttons on the dash as an example. They can be programed to have any function you want but they also tell you what they do if you simply rest your finger on the button. Clever stuff and I certainly prefer buttons to touch screens.
Teslas are all well and good but it would be too annoying for me to have everything operated from a touch screen. Many slag off the idrive system in the BMW but it’s actually an easy system to use even when you are driving mostly because as the screen does not have to be a touch screen it can be placed further away and nearer your natural sight lines when looking forwards. Plus the screen never gets scratched or dirty. You can argue the pros and cons but it’s easy to understand why BMW chose their system.
There is a lot of cynicism about EVs, especially here in the middle of rural France where tractor dealerships are more common than car ones. Just the other day someone told me that EVs pollute more than ICE cars. Maybe that was true 20 years ago but it certainly isn’t now. And it is especially not true of the BMW i3 as it has sustainability hard wired into its genetic make up but even if it didn’t it has been made in such a way that in theory it should last for decades and the longer life something has the smaller its overall footprint becomes.
The main hurdle to EV acceptance is range. When BMW designed the i3, battery technology was not as advanced as it is now. The latest i3 has a battery the same physical size but already twice the capacity but despite that BMW’s idea was sound. make the car as light as possible to offset the weight of the batteries and thus make the car more efficient and use less power. What Tesla have done is put a huge and very heavy battery in their cars to give a good range and that is great but it comes at quite a cost.
The car needs to be bigger and heavier to cope with the extra weight. Tyres are bigger and pricier, everything is bigger and heavier just to be able to lug around all that weight. This is fine when you need to go on a long journey but for much of the time a smaller range and battery would be just fine. This is what BMW did. They decided that considering the i3 is a city car it does not need a huge range or a massive battery because most people in Europe at least, only drive 40 miles a day at most. Makes sense.
But then BMW did something really clever and fitted a small petrol generator for those times when the battery would not suffice alone. It adds weight and complexity but it also completely removes range anxiety which is real enough as generally speaking the public charge networks are piss poor and too expensive. I certainly wouldn’t want to rely on public charging networks! And with the range extender you don’t have to. It’s a good stop gap and also turns the i3 in to a potentially more practical proposition than most of the other electric cars out there. At least for now. By the time petrol is no longer available battery technology will have moved and an updated i3 will be able to travel 500 miles or more on one charge.
There is no way I would have bought an i3 if it did not have fast charging and the range extender. Although I accept that an EV with a range of 80 miles does easily satisfy 95% of my driving needs it would mean that it would probably never get used for a longer trip as the battery is too small and you’d have to stop every hour for half an hour which is bloody silly and that is assuming one could always find a fast charger and that would also be very expensive, probably more than if you drove an ICE car.
As much as I love the i3 it does have some slightly annoying features. It gets very dirty at the rear. I have never known a car get so filthy so quickly, even the wheels end up grubby. Conversely the front of the car and the windscreen stays very clean and I suppose if you had to choose a window to stay clean you’d always take the windscreen over the rear screen.
This same dirt is an issue on egress. You naturally slide your legs off the seat and on to the ground, being short means the backs of my legs rub against the muddy sill and cover my clothes. Not great.
Perhaps the biggest downside of the i3 is the fact that BMW do not recommend towing with it which is a shame as I would love to add a tow bar and tow my small 300 kilo caravan. You can buy a tow bar but it seams to be only for the States and just for carrying a few bicycles. There is no option for a roof rack which is also annoying but perhaps this has more to do with the drag it would cause and the resultant reduction in range.
One could moan about the fact that the rear windows don’t roll down but what people never mention is that fact that they are lower than the front ones and what that means is that rear passengers, especially small children can see out much better than they would out of a normal car with higher windows. It’s a small thing but ask a child which they prefer, a window that opens or one they can see out of and you know what they will say!
One annoying thing, at least for right hand drive i3 drivers is the volume control and heating controls. For some stingy reason BMW just decided to leave the centre part of the dash the same for both markets which is too weird. I’m glad my car is left hand drive because I am sure I would find that really annoying. Enough to not buy the car? No, of course not but it is just annoying and sadly you would have to be reminded every day and that wears you down in time.
If you are thinking of buying an i3 you will need a scanner for fault codes and stuff. From what I have read BMW service leaves much to be desired. If your car is under warranty then at least the car will get fixed eventually. There are tales of BMW keeping a car for weeks while they replace everything while they look for a fault. If it’s under warranty this won’t matter to you but it will be annoying not having your car while your dealer works on the process of elimination until they get it right.
This is a very complicated car and it takes a lot of understanding. I reckon that the dealers don’t like it. If BMW dealers are like all the others I have come across in the car trade, they don’t care for electric cars and because of that they don’t bother to learn about them properly. I get it, there’s a lot to learn and even a mechanic who goes on training trips could never learn it all. I have been studying this car in detail for 3 months now and I am only now just beginning to get a very basic understanding of some of the systems.
There are a few issues which seem to be very common to the car. The covers for the shocks get hard and fail which means a suspension dismantle which is a lot of work for a 20€ part to be fitted. One wonders why they don’t use a better quality rubber. Strange faults can appear and often this is due to the 12 volt battery which gets tired. When the volts drop it sets off all sorts of issues completely unrelated to the battery which could end up pricey if your dealer starts changing stuff willy nilly because they didn’t know about this.
Then there’s the Rex. Again it’s most often just a simple failed relay but there are plenty of stories on the internet about dealers first changing fuel pumps and any number of parts in an effort to fix the problems. If only if they spent a bit of time researching on the forums first! They could have saved themselves a lot of trouble!
The advice for buying an i3 is generally don’t get one without a warranty and I can understand that but a warranty won’t stop you breaking down in the first place and you are still at the mercy of your dealer even assuming they are nearby and competent which is not always the case. When I decided to buy an i3 I wasn’t worried about a warranty. I can fix most things and anyway, I believe in prevention rather than cure. Often a well maintained car will give no problems. Or if it does there are usually warnings before something breaks. Unsympathetic owners might not notice until they find themselves stranded at the side of the road.
There are plenty of bits available on ebay for the i3 as they have been around long enough for there to be plenty of them broken down for parts. However if you are going to look after your own i3 you will at least need a scanner for identifying problems and for clearing fault codes. Scanners can be bought for about 150€ and this will be an essential bit of kit. If you do have to replace the 12v battery you’ll need one to reset the car after the new battery is fitted.
There is a secret menu in the dash which you access using the trip reset switch and a code to input which is made up from adding the last 5 numbers of the car’s VIN number. In here is a way to switch off the traction control, ABS and re-gen completely, read the battery condition, temperatures and various other useful things.
From what I can tell the i3 is basically a very reliable car. The reports I have heard of failures seem to me to be more to do with a lack of understanding from dealers than actual faults with the car. The main components are well made with quality parts. There are many tales of i3s out there with over 200,000 kms with no issues and still on their original discs and pads thanks to the one pedal re-gen driving. The only thing wrong with mine after 6 years and 60,000 kms is a rear window demister which doesn’t work and the aforementioned gaiters for the front shocks, a job I will get round to sooner or later.
Lots of people fear battery degradation but this seems unfounded. The i3 has excellent battery management which prevents the user from damaging the battery no matter where they are or how they charge it but it does seem that constant fast charging does reduce the capacity a bit faster. On my car I estimate that it has lost about 10% of its capacity in 6 years which is frankly amazing. I suspect it will last a lot lot longer too. It may not need replacing for another 10 years. Sounds fanciful? I have an MP3 player from 2005 which still works perfectly and holds a good charge and that does not have any kind of cooling to protect the batteries from overheating. A far cry from the cynics who said that the batteries would only last 3 years and then end up dumped in a land fill!
It is my plan at some point to fit solar panels to my home and replace the i3 battery with a newer more modern equivalent one day and when I do, I will use the original battery for powering my home. Even if it is down to 50% of its original capacity that will still mean a very useful 10 kw which is more than enough to power a home for a few days.
For those who wish to delve more deeply there is a computer program which is a staggering 160 gig which can be used to access and modify all of the cars systems. This is something I will probably delve in to at some point just to learn more about modern systems and electronics.
The BMW i3 is not a perfect car but it is bloody brilliant and great to drive. Competent and comfy with some wonderful features, not least of which is the ability to preheat the car before setting off on a cold and frosty morning. Everything may be electric but BMW at least had the sense to fit manual overrides for opening the charge and fuel flaps and for releasing the charge cable should the electronics fail. Even the frunk lid has an emergency release.
There’s no spare wheel, just a stupid liquid and compressor which doesn’t strike me as very clever so I bought a space saver wheel which I carry about with a jack and a wheel brace so I don’t get stranded somewhere and at the mercy of expensive recovery firms.
Tyres. This has been a common complaint about the i3. To reduce frontal area the i3 uses very narrow tyres. To make up for the lack of width, they are very tall at 19” so they effectively have the same contact patch as much wider shorter tyres. But this narrowness apparently adds as much as 10% to the range. There are two issues. A very small choice of tyre and the fact that the i3 seems to munch its way through rear tyres at a right old pace. This is a bit annoying but not a deal breaker as far as I am concerned. here in Europe we seem to have a good choice and tyres cost about 100€ each.
What is more annoying to me is that the rear wheels on the rex version are half an inch wider than the front wheels. So on the front they fit 155 section tyres and put 175 section on the rear which is fair enough but it does mean you can’t rotate the tyres to even wear which is a bit annoying. But what is very strange is that winter tyres are only available in 155 section so they need to be stretched on to the rear rims which isn’t very clever if you ask me and possibly even a bit dangerous.
The solution is to find a set of Bev wheels for the winter and have another set of Rex wheels for the summer. It’s not a big deal as there seem to be a lot of wheel sets for sale online, I suppose because most i3s were leased from new and when they went back they didn’t go back with the second set of wheels.
The i3 has three driving modes, or at least mine does. later models have more. Mine has comfort, eco pro and eco pro +. I always leave it in comfort because I like the instant acceleration and feel of the accelerator pedal, for some reason, and maybe it’s purely psychological but it seems that when I use the eco pro setting my ankles ache, as if there is more pressure against my foot.
The idea of the eco pro settings is to increase the range. What I found is that if you drive the car carefully in comfort mode there is nothing to be gained by switching to eco pro. I would imagine that if you normally drive quite quickly with no concern for range then switching to an eco pro mode would certainly increase the range, perhaps by as much as 10% but if I drive carefully in comfort mode I can achieve the same range as if I switched to eco pro.
To help you drive the car most effectively there is a power meter on the dash. A dead spot in the centre where you are effectively coasting, right is power consumed, left is re-gen. The trick for the most efficient driving is not to rely on the re-gen but to coast whenever possible. In order to do this you can just press down the pedal just a bit and keep the mark in the centre of the power gauge. However that isn’t enough for really efficient driving. The mark might be in the centre but if you scroll through the options on the dash using the button on the end of the indicator stalk until you get to the real time consumption you can see that even though the mark is in the centre the car is still either taking power or putting some in. It’s only a few kws but it all adds up. By using the mark and the gauge you can really coast and use no power. This all makes a huge difference.
To save even more power the heater is kept down as low as possible and when pulling away a gentle touch on the pedal must be used. The idea is to keep the mark as close to the centre as possible. The upshot of all this careful driving is the ability to use as little as just 10 kw/hr which is incredibly efficient for an ev. This equates to about 10 kms per kw/hr which is most impressive. It’s also quite good fun to do, a real challenge to see just how efficient you can be. The proof that I am driving very efficiently is that when I switch to eco pro mode there is no extra range to be had!
If you really want to coast you can actually put the car in neutral while you’re going along. You might use this for a long straight decent. This way you know you are not using any power and you don’t have to keep your foot on the pedal at all. Perhaps this aspect of EV driving is the only one that I find a bit annoying as I like to take my foot off the pedal when I can and move it about to stop it getting stiff. Although the cruise control does mean I can do this when I need to.
The range in the cold is much reduced. I am looking forward to seeing how it fares in the warmth of a summer when the battery is at the ideal temperature. The GOM (Guess O Meter) is surprisingly accurate and must take in to account many things like your driving style, terrain and temperatures. It all works very well indeed.
You can do long trips in the i3. I recently did a 1500 km round trip mostly using the Rex and simply topping up the fuel tank every 100 kms or so. A 10 litre container in the frunk allows a decent total range of about 300 kms or more. The Rex was running for hours at a time and was no problem at all even running at 110 kph + on the motorway. The Rex cannot keep up completely and so the battery does deplete slowly but a few kms done at a lower speed of say 90 kph allows the Rex to catch up again and keep the battery at the level it was when you started the Rex. You can hear the rex when it’s running at higher revs but it’s not at all intrusive. I was impressed at the capability of the i3 on a long trip. In fact it was less tiring than similar trips in other ‘normal’ cars.
The i3 is also very competent in the snow. Even with temps as low as minus 8 c the car worked just fine and handled the snow and ice very well with its winter tyres. The traction control is excellent and even the ABS works better than other cars I have driven. The heater is excellent although it does impact on range a bit.
To sum it all up, the BMW i3 is a brilliant car and surprisingly practical as the rear seats go flat and with a small extension could even be used as a half decent double bed. With the ability to put the heating on when the car is not rolling it would make a good place to camp. It has a very lovely interior, nice to look at and with many places to stow things, even the lighting is nice. I particularly love the wooden dash and the i3 wears well with time. The plastic body panels are dent resistant and the high quality interior is hard wearing.
It’s also a very safe car although it failed a crash test in the US but that was because the test was made without a seat belt being worn and since in Europe the wearing of a seat belt is mandatory (and even if it wasn’t the stupid gong sound the car makes if you don’t belt up makes you belt up) so this fact should not concern you. It has airbags for your knees, curtain airbags which drop down from the roof, seat and front airbags! Plus the carbon shell is super strong too. I certainly feel safer in the i3 than most cars.
It has many options and one of them are heated seats which is always a nice thing but what you may not know is that the i3 with the heated seats also has a heated battery. The car without the heated seat option cannot heat the battery either. This is a useful option in cold climates because you can precondition the car before you set off so not only is the cabin warm and the windows clear but the battery has also been brought up to temperature while the car was plugged in and a warm battery will take you further than a cold one.
There’s a sunroof option, always a nice thing, a parking assist and rear view cameras which would be nice but even the i3 without the camera still has parking sensors to warn you of dangers behind. The big screen option certainly looks better than the one with the fat plastic bezel. Another nice option is the upgraded stereo system but alas they all cost money. There’s even adaptive cruise control. I don’t know how close to the car in front you can set it but it could be useful for following big lorries closely to increase your range in emergencies! There are LED headlights too. All you could want.
It’s a very clever car and it works extremely well. Hats off to BMW for creating such a clever well thought out design. Over 200,000 have been sold at the time of writing which is pretty impressive. BMW have no plans to stop production before 2024. An EV with a life span of ten years is very long and says much for the futuristic design and functionality of the car. It’s fun to drive, very easy and relaxing. Everyone loves it and no one has failed to be impressed after a drive in it. It’s already a 7 year old design and it still impresses. The future is already here. If you haven’t test driven an i3 I say do. With secondhand prices in the toilet there probably hasn’t been a better time to buy one. Even since I bought mine, it seems that prices are rising, perhaps as people begin to realise what a great car and what a bargain it is all things considered.
No doubt this post will get updated as time goes by and I learn more about the i3….
Update: March 2022
We’ve had ‘Bev’ as she is known for almost a year and a half now. It has been brilliant. In that time we have done 20,000 kms. We use it mainly for short local trips but it has made a few much longer ones where we ran mostly on the Rex. We have done well over 3/4 of our trips on pure electric saving a huge amount of carbon which is great. But we have also saved quite a bit of money, our fuel bill for transport going from about 200€ a month to about 50€. As they say it is a no brainer.
Now that we have lived with the i3 for a while and really used it I have a few more comments. One strange thing which I find a bit annoying is the way the re-gen dies off when you turn the steering wheel as you enter a corner. Just as you want more slowing down the re-gen relaxes and you have no braking. Bit weird. I can live with it but I don’t really understand why it does this. Another annoying feature is the way the car slows down with the cruise control on when you come to a corner. Perhaps I shouldn’t be using the CC on small roads but I find it very relaxing and easy. I suppose one can understand why it does this but I still find it a bit annoying.
Until last week the car had been 100% reliable in any weather but suddenly is just died. Luckily the insurance paid to bring the car home on a truck. It’s a simple fix. Just have to replace the 12V AGM battery at a cost of about 70€ which is perfectly ok. The battery which died turned out to be the original one fitted 8 years ago! The fact that it lasted so long is pretty incredible. It gave no warning of dying. Fitting the battery is easy enough and with the scanner I can register the battery on the car so it knows it’s a new one. Apart from that it’s been brilliant and I can’t really fault the car for this, I blame myself. I knew that one day the battery would die but was loathed to buy another when the old one was still working.