jackvjr
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:02 pm

A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:21 pm

Random thoughts, but some might find it interesting:

Our son has an i3 on lease and we've driven it often when in SLC. When we decided to go BEV, he showed us how the lease-return i3s are an incredible bargain. We strongly considered buying one of them, but the Bolt 238-mile range seemed to offer too much more versatility than the earlier i3s.

Now, after owning the Bolt, we love it and in everyday urban use it means never having to worry about running out of juice. However, again, after living with the Bolt, we've come to understand the i3 range would have been sufficient and we could have bought two lease return i3s for the cost of a new Bolt.

Also, the follow-cruise feature in the i3 is an inexplicable lack in the Bolt. With most of the hardware already in place, why isn't it there?

The i3 looks electro-weird and we love it; those who don't, f*em. The Bolt is generic hatchback; ho-hum.

We do feel the Bolt one-pedal driving is a generation improved over the i3. The regeneration braking is much more positive.

An apology to i3REx owners, but what's with that "range-extender"? (Before he or I owned BEVs, I told him not to go there when he leased his i3.) I mean if GM had the guts to go naked, how come BayEmVay pussied out with that REx abortion? (Thinking about it, I answered my own question. Being the i3 was an early BEV with limited range, BMWs market research indicated too few would buy in, so they hedged with an incredibly stupid technology which might ease the anxiety of those who hadn't really considered the whole picture.)

jack vines
Last edited by jackvjr on Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

alohart
Posts: 1571
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:44 pm

jackvjr wrote:We do feel the Bolt one-pedal driving is a generation improved over the i3. The regeneration braking is much more positive.

If you're comparing regenerative braking power, applying this power to rear wheels risks upsetting stability much more than applying it to front wheels (more dangerous oversteer vs. less dangerous understeer). However, disadvantages of front wheel drive include less traction when accelerating, torque steer under full power, rapid wear of front tires compared with rear tires (rotation could combat this), and all accelerating, most braking, and all steering forces are applied to the front wheels which, when they lose traction in slick conditions, means significant loss of control.

If you're referring to the Bolt's regenerative braking paddles, I've never understood why paddles are needed when the i3's regenerative braking force can be adjusted over the full power range with only the power pedal.

jackvjr wrote:An aside, but what's with that "range-extender"; I mean if GM had the guts to go naked, how come BayEmVay pussied out with that abortion?

One of BMW's goals was to design a light, compact, energy-efficient EV. That's not currently possible with a battery pack that can store enough energy to provide the Bolt's range. Depending on which curb weights one chooses, the Bolt is ~800 lb. heavier than an i3 BEV. The range extender adds ~300 lb. and allows those dedicated enough to drive long distances to do so in less time than a Bolt whose DC fast charging speed is disappointingly slow.

I don't need a Bolt's range or a range extender, so I bought an i3 BEV. However, many U.S. i3 owners feel that they need a range extender judging by the proportion of sales of REx vs. BEV models. BMW has discontinued the 2019 REx model in Europe, so it is being phased out as battery cell energy densities and charging infrastructure increase.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

jackvjr
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:15 pm

As I mentioned, I just wanted to share the i3/Bolt comparison from someone who has done the miles in both.

alohart wrote:
jackvjr wrote:We do feel the Bolt one-pedal driving is a generation improved over the i3. The regeneration braking is much more positive.

If you're comparing regenerative braking power, applying this power to rear wheels risks upsetting stability much more than applying it to front wheels (more dangerous oversteer vs. less dangerous understeer). However, disadvantages of front wheel drive include less traction when accelerating, torque steer under full power, rapid wear of front tires compared with rear tires (rotation could combat this), and all accelerating, most braking, and all steering forces are applied to the front wheels which, when they lose traction in slick conditions, means significant loss of control.

If you're referring to the Bolt's regenerative braking paddles, I've never understood why paddles are needed when the i3's regenerative braking force can be adjusted over the full power range with only the power pedal.


The Bolt in "L" is much more linear and a better one-pedal experience. That the Bolt front wheel drive can thus receive more regenerative braking is the i3s lack. As to the paddle, it slightly increases regenerative braking when on "L" and I only resort to it when someone does something minorly dumb in front of me and requires yet more braking. Of course, majorly dumb actions in front will require the foot pedal on either.

As to front tire wear, the i3 is actually wearing the outside of the front tires more rapidly than the Bolt. Our son does admit to spirited driving.

jackvjr wrote:An aside, but what's with that "range-extender"; I mean if GM had the guts to go naked, how come BayEmVay pussied out with that abortion?

One of BMW's goals was to design a light, compact, energy-efficient EV. That's not currently possible with a battery pack that can store enough energy to provide the Bolt's range. Depending on which curb weights one chooses, the Bolt is ~800 lb. heavier than an i3 BEV. The range extender adds ~300 lb. and allows those dedicated enough to drive long distances to do so in less time than a Bolt whose DC fast charging speed is disappointingly slow.

I don't need a Bolt's range or a range extender, so I bought an i3 BEV. However, many U.S. i3 owners feel that they need a range extender judging by the proportion of sales of REx vs. BEV models. BMW has discontinued the 2019 REx model in Europe, so it is being phased out as battery cell energy densities and charging infrastructure increase.


We never road trip our BEV and as mentioned, the i3 range would suffice for our daily use. Those who need more, just buy the range they need, but the REx is a really, really questionable technology. That no one else offers it, or is likely to offer it, QED.

Bottom line - if we were making the buying decision today, we'd likely opt for a lease-return i3. The Bolt is better in many ways; just not twice as good.

jack vines
Last edited by jackvjr on Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

theothertom
Posts: 364
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:08 am
Location: South Carolina

Re: A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:35 am

Hi Jack,
Thanks for your post. When my wife and I decided to try out this "new" EV thing, we both had range anxiety, her much more so than me. Her only requirement for an EV was that it had an ICE backup. I'm a BMW person anyway so that kinda narrowed it down. :) I did look at a Leaf but Nissan didn't support them financially like BMW did the I3. I could lease an i3 for the same price as a Leaf lease. Plus it didn't have a REx. No brainer. Like most people we soon realized we didn't need the REx and since ours is a '17 we have ~100 miles real life range on battery. Sufficient for us around town.
So, now my lease will be up in a few months and we have made the decision not to go back to ICE. My options seem to be another i3, Bolt, or Leaf.
If BMW continues to support the i3 lease with high residuals, then it will be a strong contender. The two things I really don't like about the i3 are the narrow tires which give a poor driving experience IMO and the climate control which can only be adjusted in 2 degree increments. OTOH, I've gotten a lot of compliments on the car and it has a lot of interior room for a small car.
I'm really interested in the Bolt because it would be nice to have the extra range (we take a 90 mile RT occasionally which pushes the i3 battery range, especially in winter). Also, I assume it has wider tires. Trouble is, Bolts are few and far between in my area and dealers don't want to deal on them. So it may be another situation where I can lease an i3 for the same or less than the Bolt if BMW again subsidizes their lease rates.
Regarding the Leaf, there are a lot of negative comments on the battery life due to Nissan's policy of air cooling the battery instead of using liquid cooling. IMO, this will eventually kill the Leaf but it might not matter if I lease one for a couple of years. Again, it depends on price.
Our ultimate goal is to purchase an EV with ~400 mile range because we take a 1000 mile (one way) trip about 4 times per year. Of course the "fast" charging network will have to be built out and that's going to take awhile. So, we will probably continue to lease until the technology catches up with where we need it to be.
By the way, I'd be interested in any other comments you have on the Bolt compared to the i3. Maybe that would sway me one way or the other.

jackvjr
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:59 am

For true, GM dealers in main, don't want to deal on Bolts and the GM lease absolutely sucks; can't imagine most going for that. OTOH, purchase while the $7,500 Federal Income Tax credit remains available, does reduce the out--the-door cost. Some states and some utilities have additional tax relief and rebates for purchasers.

FWIW, our son went through the same analysis and came to the same conclusion as you did when he leased two years ago. Today, he says the logic was flawed because battery technology hasn't moved as fast as he'd expected/feared; the i3 will serve a long time as an urban car and now he wishes he'd have purchased the i3.

Bolt owners have some of the same tire complaints as do i3 owners. The spec Michelin LRR self sealing tires are expensive, don't provide the highest level of summer tire stiction. However, I get all the performance and handling usable on the street. The Bolt's torque can spin the fronts, but it takes full pedal to do so and I only ever get wheelspin if there's grit on the pavement. In normal driving I never notice any problems or benefits of FWD versus RWD

Switching from the Bolt to the i3 and back to the Bolt doesn't take any particular adjustment:

1. If one uses the i3 follow-cruise feature, the Bolt is lacking and I do miss that.

2. I do prefer the i3 'shifter' on the steering column over that of the Bolt on the console.

3. As previously mentioned, the Bolt one-pedal experience is the best.

4. The cost differential show up most in the interior materials. The i3 has a nicer interior and better seats.

5. The range with the Bolt means never thinking about it in everyday local use. We plug it in if it ever drops below 100 miles but i3 in winter, range anxiety is ever-present. In a year's Bolt ownership, we've never needed to charge away from home.

6. The slightly longer/heavier Bolt has a better overall ride, with less pitch/toss.

7. The Bolt front/rear/overhead cameras on the main screen have proven a benefit, especially to my wife. Now, when pulling into most parking spaces, she will activate the cameras to confirm she's where she was aiming as to lines and curbs.

8. The Bolt doesn't have integrated navigation; the logic is everyone is more used to their phone these days. Plug in a smartphone and use the app you use everywhere else and it shows on the main center screen.

9. Our son says being able to use ApplePlay is a huge plus to him over the i3.

10. He says he notices the i3 has a tighter turning radius than the Bolt.

Hope these observations answer questions you might have had.

jack vines

JohnKelly
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:02 am

Re: A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:10 am

"An apology to i3REx owners, but what's with that "range-extender"? (Before he or I owned BEVs, I told him not to go there when he leased his i3.) I mean if GM had the guts to go naked, how come BayEmVay pussied out with that REx abortion? (Thinking about it, I answered my own question. Being the i3 was an early BEV with limited range, BMWs market research indicated too few would buy in, so they hedged with an incredibly stupid technology which might ease the anxiety of those who hadn't really considered the whole picture.)"

I started with an assumed lease of a 2016 i3 BEV. It was perfect for summertime, less so in the winter. We live about a 70 mile round trip or so from shopping where there are NO charging options, and in the winter, heat uses up a lot of battery. We found ourselves all bundled up, driving slow, pulling over and letting traffic go by... all in an effort to extend our range. If we wanted to go to a town of decent size 80 miles away with healthcare choices, more shopping choices etc, we had to stop and charge for several hours each way. If we wanted to visit family 150 miles away with NO charging infrastructure along the way (since then, a few added), instead of the normal 3 hour trip, we would spend 10 hours getting there on a longer route that had charging stations. You see where I'm going with this? The REX is a fantastic option for us. It allows us to drive fully electric most of the time, but we can drive anywhere we want without stopping to charge unless it is convenient. This is our only car. It is NOT stupid technology, it is brilliant. Until DC fast charging is ubiquitous, this is a wonderful bridging technology and a great car.
2015 REX / Participating on plugshare w/level 2 Clipper Creek 32 amp, Moclips, Washington coast

arodi3
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:21 am

Re: A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:51 am

Supposedly the i3's limited range was a result of the designer's desire to make a car that had a significantly smaller carbon footprint than an ICE vehicle: https://www.bmwblog.com/2017/09/28/bmw- ... ery-first/

“The basic idea, at least from the BMW Group perspective, is to lower our CO2 footprint – that’s the real reason we do it. When we introduced the i3 with the smaller battery, it beat every single gasoline car by up to 50% in terms of CO2 footprint,” said Dick Arnold, head of product management at BMW i.

“Offering a huge battery with the tech available when we introduced the i3, there was no freaking way that you could have improved your footprint – you could even increase it.


Maybe it is unfair, but I think of the Bolt as a "battery hoarder" design whereas the i3 w/rex is a pretty good match for the driving I (and probably most others) actually do (about 90% electric). I never would have bought the car without the rex and ability to code the hold-soc because, though rare, I do need to take the occasional trip to another city.

Even with the Bolt's impressive range, a trip like my about yearly drive from Austin to Colorado Springs would be a real ordeal requiring a considerable amount of planning and sacrifice compared to an ICE https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1109117_chevy-bolt-ev-800-mile-trip-in-238-mile-electric-car-shows-challenges-remain/page-3. The i3-rex can probably muddle through the charger-wasteland of north-west Texas... I may test that in 2019.

Imho, they should end the BEVx class and replace it with a BEVog class... BEV with an onboard generator that could be turned on at any time. The idea is to eliminate the restrictions of the current crummy charging infrastructure while allowing people to experience an all-electric drive vehicle (as opposed to something like an i8 that needs its ICE for full, or even decent, performance). The i3-rex is the closest approximation I know of to an EV with a built-in charger ( assuming it has hold-soc and the smog-test as a fallback option ).

It sounds like the pile-o-batteries approach resonates with consumers more though and will result in EVs with massive ranges for widespread adoption. Maybe there will be more of these it-wasn't-all-about-the-range regret posts in the future ;)

jackvjr
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:42 pm

Good that I apologized in advance for questioning the REx technology.

The REX is a fantastic option for us. It allows us to drive fully electric most of the time, but we can drive anywhere we want without stopping to charge unless it is convenient.


We're sharing opinions here, but the market will decide. Other manufacturers seem to be betting on PHEV or BEV . That BMW stands alone having offered REx; having discontinued it in Europe and, with no others announcing plans to offer REx, maybe it was the short term answer, but it doesn't appear to be the ultimate solution.

jack vines

JohnKelly
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:02 am

Re: A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:06 pm

Of course! Market forces and all that.. well, there are a lot more i3 REXs than i3 BEVs sold in the US, so I guess that's settled.... : ) I actually don't care much about market forces for the same reason I don't care about pop music, or the most popular TV shows. I care about the car's functionality and the minimal reliance on fossil fuels. Having a small onboard gas powered generator in a light weight vehicle which supplies a tiny fraction of my battery needs by supplementing the hydro-electric generated power where I live, is a personally preferable solution to having a BEV that is powered by coal in other parts of the country, or hauling around an extra 1500-2000 lbs of weight as in a Tesla. Again, until there are ubiquitous DC fast chargers, this is a brilliant and efficient solution. Your mileage may vary.
2015 REX / Participating on plugshare w/level 2 Clipper Creek 32 amp, Moclips, Washington coast

getakey
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:04 pm
Location: Belmont, CA, USA

Re: A Bolt owner has i3 regrets sometimes

Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:53 pm

"We do feel the Bolt one-pedal driving is a generation improved over the i3. The regeneration braking is much more positive."

I thought the i3 was pretty aggressive in regen braking. Seems like any more and it would be difficult to drive

Return to “General / Main i3 Owners Forum”