khigh
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:07 pm

Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:34 pm

Greetings all. Before today, I'd never heard of an i3. Now I'm considering myself a future owner after looking at two today.

Long story short, I'm in a position to get free/leftover electricity each month and I can't stand the thought of wasting it, so an electric car is a no-brainer. But also I'm 7'/350, so I was feeling a little lackluster about my options when I headed to the car lots. OMG - the i3 is such a perfect fit. I guess it's the high roofline, but my head doesn't even touch. The seat adjustments create a pretty perfect driving position. No one will ever sit behind me, and the person in the passenger seat would have to either be pretty small, be intimately acquainted with me, or just concede any armrest rights, but I'm completely sold on the fit, and the prices for such low mileage cars seem like a hell of a value. Both of the ones I looed at are 2015s.

I've been researching and researching, but I have some questions. I'm supposed to call the guy back in the morning, and I don't THINK I'm getting either one of his, but I want to be as knowledgeable as possible.

Mostly I'm interested in range. I have two homes 85 miles apart. Both of the ones I looked at today were non-REX models (judging by lack of fuel door). I ran both of the VINs and nothing came back about battery capacity. Is it the case that non-Rex models through 2016 have an 80 mile range, and starting in 2017 they have a 114 mi range? Or are the different battery availabilities more nuanced than that? It seems like I'd either have to have the larger battery and/or the rex to make it back and forth to the two homes, and even then it's almost all freeway, which drops my range, right? Meaning I could need BOTH the 114 mile battery AND the Rex to reliably drive back and forth?

I see you can hack the REX to maintain current capacity. What might be a stupid question - can you run it while you're not driving? Say stop for lunch, run it a half hour/45 minutes, then top it off with gas so you've been charging the battery AND get a fresh tank of fuel?

Can you run different tire sizes on it? Would you want to? Like a lot of people mention in reviews and videos and someone looking at them for the first time - they're pretty shocking looking.

Anything else someone who knows absolutely nothing should look out for or keep their eyes open for?

Thanks for looking!

theothertom
Posts: 345
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:08 am
Location: South Carolina

Re: Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:44 pm

Ok, let's talk about batteries. Yes, the 2016 and below have a smaller battery. 2017 and 2018 have a larger battery, and 2019 is larger still. Range is dependent on conditions (temperature, wind resistance, speed, amount of uphill driving, etc). So the stated 80 mile range on the smallest battery is under optimal conditions, as are the other quoted range figures. IMO you won't make that 85 mile journey in a 2015 BEV w/o recharging along the way.

I don't know if you can leave the Rex running while stopped. My guess is no, but others will chime in.

When you ask about running different size tires, I assume you mean wider tires. I haven't heard of anyone doing that because they won't fit...they'll rub when you make turns. Having said that, the i3s models have slightly wider tires, and wider fenders to prevent rubbing. Don't know if you can retrofit the fenders from an "s" model to a regular i3 or not.

khigh
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:07 pm

Re: Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:05 pm

Thanks for the input!

I'm looking at different years and models now.

Looks like 2015s are around 17K, REX are around 19K, and 2017s jump up to $30K.

My free electricity is coming all from one house. I don't know that it would be my first choice to drive back and forth on the freeway often. One, going 75 on the interstate in a car I'm basically "wearing" gives me the heebie jeebies a bit, and also I can't imagine the ride would be anywhere near that of my Ram Lonestar Ecodiesel that's already pushing 30MPG on the trip on luxury air ride suspension and a "cowcatcher" front end that should make quick work of things like errant i3s.

I think more the use case would be to use it at the country home as the "local" car to take advantage of the free/extra electricity.

I'd like the ability to drive it up there of course. It seems like value-wise my best bet might be the earlier model with REX. I figure the highway range would be LESS than 80 - call it 60 and let the REX take it the rest of the way while 99% of the driving is local on electric only - kind of specifically what it's designed for.

I'm super excited one way or the other. Haven't had a small car since my super Beetle in high school. My trucks seem to get bigger and bigger. It will be nice to park in a single swipe!

theothertom
Posts: 345
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:08 am
Location: South Carolina

Re: Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:47 am

Get the plugshare app for your phone. It shows public charging stations so you know where you can get a charge.

alohart
Posts: 1446
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:05 pm

theothertom wrote:Get the plugshare app for your phone. It shows public charging stations so you know where you can get a charge.

This is a great suggestion! However, be sure to check recent user comments because, unfortunately, public charging station maintenance in the U.S. isn't as good as it should be, so public charging stations could be out of order.
Aloha,
Art

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

khigh
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:07 pm

Re: Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:40 pm

Went and looked at a 2016 today with REX. It was at a BMW dealer and all of their "certified" cars have 5 year, unlimited mile warranties on the drive train. That doesn't cover much on an i3, but apparently the battery is warranted 8 years, with 6 left.

All in all for 20K with a warranty, it's not much more, valuewise than Leaf or Volt, both of which I ruled out today. The Leaf I can get in easily, but my knees are pinned to the dash. The volt I can sit comfortabley in, but I have to sit on the running board to shove my head inside.

Thanks for the comments.

Finchie
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:17 pm
Location: Hampshire, UK

Re: Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:08 pm

Khigh, ReX is absolutely the way to go ! Brilliant having a “get out of jail free” card.

“I see you can hack the REX to maintain current capacity”. So you know, it’s not a hack. All you need to do when below 70% charge (could be 75%) is turn it on and it “holds” the charge where it is. It automatically kicks in with 7 miles to go anyway. First time I “tested” the limit, was struggling to figure out whether the engine was on it is so quiet ! That first time was a bit nerve racking ! Worked like a dream !

Hope you love it as much as I do !

Cheers, Finchie

khigh
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:07 pm

Re: Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:01 pm

Thanks for the input!

Given two identical-ish 2016s for the same price, which is better?

13K miles vs 37K?

Or a five year drivetrain warranty on the 37K one from a BMW dealer who has "certified" it?

I'm thinking there's not really much of a drivetrain, and the 8 year battery warranty outlasts the 5 year dealer warranty.

But one has 1/3 the miles of the other.

jadnashuanh
Posts: 4197
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:40 pm

There isn't a lot of maintenance required on either the BEV or the REx, but the REx is more complex, requiring oil/filter changes, and maybe a spark plug change or antifreeze change. But, if you do the maintenance at the dealership, while not out of character for a BMW, it is a bit more than for a domestic vehicle. An advantage is that there isn't a lot of oil or antifreeze. BMW requires a biannual brake fluid change on all versions, and an annual oil/filter change is highly recommended. Other than that, most things are just checks. Things could get expensive if something fails. Maintenance programs are insurance policies. Some people prefer to prepay for the insurance policy which they may never need, but can become a budget saver if it is...your choice.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

Finchie
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:17 pm
Location: Hampshire, UK

Re: Future owner complete newbie needs pre-purchase info.

Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:59 am

khigh wrote:Thanks for the input!

Given two identical-ish 2016s for the same price, which is better?

13K miles vs 37K?

Or a five year drivetrain warranty on the 37K one from a BMW dealer who has "certified" it?

I'm thinking there's not really much of a drivetrain, and the 8 year battery warranty outlasts the 5 year dealer warranty.

But one has 1/3 the miles of the other.


Not sure why they would have them on at the same price. That seems odd. I’d at least have some differential. Worth asking them why ? Probably subtly different spec and extras ? I’d certainly go for the lower mileage if I could cope with the compromise on extras. That’s just me tho’ !

Cheers, Finchie

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