HectorPascal
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:55 pm

BMW i3 - The 'I' stands for 'Irony'...

Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:54 pm

We have just undertaken our first long trip of 150 miles each way in the i3 and we now know that the 'i' stands for... irony.

Our first EV resulted in the most petrol stops we have ever completed in any car in one trip! Reason: sparse Chargemaster network which are non-existent at motorway service areas which seem to be the province of Tesla (ranks of nice shiny new charging units) and Ecotricity. After signing with Chargemaster, we tried to use their units but either failed to find them (many in industrial estates) which for us were useless, non-functional/blocked by other parked ICE-cars. We spent an undue amount of time trying to find something suitable and came to the conclusion that to be any use at all, they must be rapid-charge DC or combo so that you can have a driving break of reasonable time whist getting juiced up to 80% or so.

We decided to park our bias for Chargemaster and attempt to use one of the rapid DC chargers from Ecotricity at Oxford Services on a pay-as-you-go basis but their 'pump' as they call it was broken and I spent about 40 minutes on the phone trying to help them sort that out so that we could eventually use it. We failed and limped away using our range extender. In fact the whole trip not once did we manage to stuff so much as one ampere into our machine. The REX did all the work.

There remains a colossal amount of work and investment before EVs are serious transport for anything other than local running. That is if you cannot afford a Tesla Model S.

I should state that we are new to all this and the trip was actually an experiment for us. I fully expect a barrage of "you should have done this or that...." and that we - and maybe others will learn for next time.

theothertom
Posts: 336
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:08 am
Location: South Carolina

Re: BMW i3 - The 'I' stands for 'Irony'...

Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:44 pm

I take it you're in the UK? Not quiet that bad in the US, but some of the fast chargers here don't work in hot weather (around 90F or so). Also, some areas don't have fast chargers at all. So yeah, I feel your pain
On the other hand, when BMW introduced the i3 they called it a "city car". It was never really intended to go long distances, although it will, especially with the range extender. I agree that the charging infrastructure needs to be expanded and reliable before EV's will be generally accepted. VW has announced a 400 mile range car and is investing in a fast charger network. So hopefully it will get better in a couple of years.

JohnKelly
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:02 am

Re: BMW i3 - The 'I' stands for 'Irony'...

Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:00 pm

Are you aware of plugshare?
2015 REX / Participating on plugshare w/level 2 Clipper Creek 32 amp, Moclips, Washington coast

HectorPascal
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: BMW i3 - The 'I' stands for 'Irony'...

Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:50 am

Plugshare? No. I'll look into it. Thanks.

Yes, in the UK. The rather dismal - cannot-organise-a-piss-up-in-a brewery UK.

Update: Plugshare - Wow, an EV App with 5 stars!? Account duly created and initial assessment of the features/filters/presentation/clarity all very impressive. The pudding needs to be eaten yet though.
Many thanks.

bwilson4web
Forum Supporter
Posts: 605
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:59 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: BMW i3 - The 'I' stands for 'Irony'...

Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:49 am

On Plugshare, always read the comments. We have a 'dead' pair of chargers in Huntsville and the comments let everyone know.

Bob Wilson
20k/27k mi 2014 BMW i3-REx
10k/10k mi 2017 Prius Prime

Tobias
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:55 am
Location: UK

Re: BMW i3 - The 'I' stands for 'Irony'...

Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:26 am

Speaking as someone on their second i3 Rex, I can say that it only really works as a second car. Long journeys take quite a bit of planning, as you have found out, and can still be stressful because the outcome at a designated charging point is binary. You either get juice or you don’t. It might be out of order, blocked by an ICE, or being used. There’s rarely more than one or two charge points.

I’ve done a trip from UK to northern France and it was fine, but a fair amount of hassle.

Bottom line, I have a charge point in my garage and one at my office 45 miles away. With the 94ah I can do the round trip anyway, but as it is, I have a stress free life and I don’t rely on public charging, which is still cr*p. Long journeys are ICE.
White I3 94ah Rex, Suite, delivered March 2017, replacing a 2014 60ah Rex

JohnKelly
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:02 am

Re: BMW i3 - The 'I' stands for 'Irony'...

Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:50 pm

"Speaking as someone on their second i3 Rex, I can say that it only really works as a second car."

For some people, that is. Depends on where you are, and your needs, of course. We live a long ways from really universal charging infrastructure, but manage just fine with a Rex. The Bev we had before was not quite adequate in the winter months. This is our only car, and meets all of our needs, even though we are 25 miles from a smallish town with shopping, and 80 miles from a major city. Our nearest BMW dealership is about 120 miles away. Infrastructure is improving at a reasonable pace in our region. When we first got the Bev about 14 months ago, there was only one level 2 charging station anywhere near us. We put one in at our place and put it on plugshare. Just last week a local casino put in 4 new units. A resort on the way to a town our relatives live in just installed 4 charging units which will be operatitonal as soon as the park department gets around to it. The gaps are being filled in. I would not hesitate to take this car on a long trip. I am in no hurry, so I don't mind stopping and looking for antiques, having a meal, or reading a book while charging... and of course I can always just add some gas if I want to keep going without stopping for long. I'm sure there are plenty of people who could get by just fine with a either Bev or a Rex as their only car.
2015 REX / Participating on plugshare w/level 2 Clipper Creek 32 amp, Moclips, Washington coast

JohnKelly
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:02 am

Re: BMW i3 - The 'I' stands for 'Irony'...

Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:56 pm

On another note, it is gob-smacking that people getting an electric car do not do a little research and find out about plugshare. I was recently at a credit union charging up for free when a Leaf pulled up. They had an emergency. They were down to nothing. I let them plug in and mentioned plugshare. They had never heard of it! The area has about 10 different EVSEs, any of which might have been less stressful for them to get to, and the credit union cuts off the power at 5pm. They arrived at 4:30 so they managed to get a little juice.
2015 REX / Participating on plugshare w/level 2 Clipper Creek 32 amp, Moclips, Washington coast

jadnashuanh
Posts: 4161
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: BMW i3 - The 'I' stands for 'Irony'...

Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:29 pm

Given the i3 was designed as a city/commuter car, while using it for long distances is possible, it isn't always the easiest thing to do. If they really wanted it to be viable for longer distances, they'd have put in a larger engine and gas tank...an engine that had more power so, along with the battery buffer, you'd not get into a low power situation when stressing things, and a gas tank that would let you drive more than an hour or so without having to refill it. Pliers work, but a properly sized wrench works better...same idea with the i3.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

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