skeptic
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:31 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Tue May 12, 2020 9:50 am

i3Alan wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 12:25 pm
skeptic wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 9:15 am
Catastrophic (ie $$$$) issues seem to be pretty rare, although reading forums or facebook groups make it seem otherwise (same is true for any car).
I think this is a false equivalence. Catastrophic repair bills for BMWs, like Mercedes and exotics, is defined in tens of thousands of dollars, while catastrophic repair bills for the same issues in Japanese, Korean, US, and other cars is typically 10%-30% as much. A Cadillac or Lexus owner would be screaming at a $7000 bill to replace an AC compressor. That is not the same as the $22,000 bill for my i3 AC repair. It also is not fair to say the i3 repair was for the entire AC system, when both the Cadillac or Lexus AC systems include dryer traps that specifically prevent the kind of cascading downstream failures that my i3 had, which is why every component in the refrigerant loops were also destroyed. Kia's and Fords have dryer traps!
False equivalence? Not even. $22k for AC is absurd, unheard of (outside exotics), and BMW not standing behind it as a design flaw is inexcusable. In no way am I trying to say that's the same as something like a complete transmission failure in some other vehicle. My point is things like this are rare, but if you go to any car forum you will hear horror stories and the rare problems start to seem common.

To put it another way there are people that will join a vehicle specific forum to learn and share knowledge and there are other people that join a forum when they need help or otherwise experience a major problem. People don't join message forums for the sole purpose to report no issues then go away.

Fisher99
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Tue May 12, 2020 10:28 am

Alan's A/C experience is absolutely horrific and it is totally unacceptable that BMW didn't step up in a much bigger way to make things right. I would be angry beyond words and probably never own another BMW vehicle of any kind if that happened to me.

But as to the OP's question, here's my 2 cents worth: In a couple of weeks I will have owned my 2013 i3/REX for a year and have put about 8k miles on it since purchase. It's one of 3 vehicles that we own and while I have taken one 800+ mile road trip (driving it home after purchase) and one 500 mile trip (drove it to my son's place as he wanted to drive it while we were on an extended trip out of the country), most of the driving is running around town, which is pretty much what a 2013 i3 is designed for. So far the only maintenance cost has been the replacement of the 12v battery at a cost of $205. We have extremely cheap electric rates and I calculate that it costs me $1.39 to drive 70+ miles. The car is a hoot to drive and is an instant conversation starter wherever I go. In my opinion, it's a darn near perfect car for what I use it for. These things are so insanely cheap on the used market that to me it's almost a no-brainer purchase for cheap, fun, and economical to drive transportation, as long as your driving needs fit within the meager (in my opinion) range limitations of the car.

That said, there is no way in heck that I'd pay sticker price for one of these things. The window sticker on mine was $53,700. And yes, I know that nobody pays sticker price, but still, that's a crazy price for an around town runabout! But used is another story. I paid $10k for mine with 44k miles on the odometer. If I had a catastrophic failure like Alan, I would either attempt parting it out (and make money on the deal) or sell it to the highest bidder and just walk away from it. But, I fully expect that I will be driving this car, trouble free, for a LONG time. If a person is looking to dip their toe into the electric vehicle pool, I can think of no better way than a nice, used i3. Yeah, you can buy used Nissan Leaf's for less, but then you've got a Nissan Leaf :D . The i3 is funky and fun, two things that the Leaf is not.

Ok, I'm rambling now. But for the OP, if you get the right deal on an i3, and if your driving needs fit within the meager range that it offers, I'd say go for it! You'll have a ball! And yeah, catastrophic stuff can happen, but it probably won't.

i3Alan
Posts: 294
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:08 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Tue May 12, 2020 11:45 am

jadnashuanh wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 1:08 pm
There is a refrigerant dryer assembly for the i3 feeding the battery pack.
I am not a mechanic, but have talked to a number of them about this issue. Most auto AC systems include particulate traps in the dryer assembly. Dryers are very important to AC function, but the traps are optional, and only important to prevent failures in the case of solid materials getting loose in the system. A dryer trap will very slightly hurt AC efficiency, and that is almost certainly why BMW left them out of the i3 AC system. However, gaining a very slight improvement in AC efficiency at the risk of catastrophic failure, especially when the components protected by such a trap are far more expensive than is the case in most cars that do not have multiple cooling loops with heat pumps, is not a good indication of what value BMW puts on the repairability of their vehicles.

I see this similar to the attitude that allowed an all-glass, non-repairable (replaceable only) tailgate, whose only advantage is looking cool. BMW traded off a small improvement in looks (yes, I love the look of the all glass tailgate with "internal" brake lights), against significantly HIGHER risk of failure and significantly worse repair costs, entirely born by their customers, as virtually no shattered tail gate will be covered by warranty.

skeptic
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:31 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Tue May 12, 2020 2:50 pm

I'm not a BMW fanatic. Nothing against them I think they are a good solid quality manufacturer, I just never had any interest and I don't see them as anything special. The i3 is the only BMW I've ever owned. The decision points for me came down to a few things:

Most important of all, do I want an EV (with or without range extender), hybrid or ICE. - EV
FWD/RWD/AWD - RWD or AWD
Minimum Range - 200 miles electric OR 70 miles electric only + range extender
Required features not on every vehicle - adaptive cruise control
Price - under $30k

At this point there were really only 2 vehicles left to even consider, the i3 and the Model 3. To be honest, for a model 3 I'd realistically need to up my budget to $35k or more. Doesn't matter, seeing one in person confirmed my opinion based on photos, I hate the interior so much I will not buy one unless it gets a redesign and huge improvement. Through process of elimination the i3 is the only vehicle that met all my requirements. After a bit of research and a test drive I decided to buy one. So far I'm happy with it.

So, why not XYZ?

Tesla Model S - it's bigger than I'd want, but more importantly to get get adaptive cruise (which comes as part of autopilot), you need to go new enough that it's well out of my price range. This is even more true for the even better Model X option. If money were no object, I'd likely be in a Model X even though it is bigger than I'd like.

Tesla Model 3 - uh, that terrible interior

Chevy Bolt - If they were RWD or AWD and had adaptive cruise I'd almost certainly be driving one of those instead. It actually makes more sense to me, but I'm picky and stubborn about a few things and no FWD is one of them. I might even be able to overlook the lack of adaptive cruise, although now that I'm getting used to it I think I'd really miss it if it were gone.

Leaf - I can't explain why I like the Bolt better. It actually has adaptive cruise control and lane centering (the i3 doesn't have this), but it just seems boring overall. It's the best deal for sure.



Something else to consider, depending on your budget, how you feel about buying new/first year models and your patience, there are a lot of interesting options that have recently hit the market or are going to soon. Personally I'm using the i3 as a way to dip my toes in the EV world while waiting for the right EV truck to come along.

BigKetchup
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:02 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Tue May 12, 2020 7:58 pm

LOL I'm still on the fence. Here are the numbers:

Current Car:
$14,462 still owed.
$312 per month.
17,200 miles

BMW i3
$20,869 for the car with a dealership 100,000 mile / 5-year warranty.
$326 per month
55,000 miles

The thing is that it would cut my gas bill, so lets say I normally spend $200 a month on both cars, I figure I can cut that down to $120 by using the BMW as my primary ride and have the wife consolidate her trips.

$326 - $80 = $246 a month in actuality. Plus all the fun I get to have. Doesn't seem too unreasonable.

I can also get it without the dealer warranty but still not sure if it's worth it. I got a Kia Soul with no warranty, never had any major repairs needed and it's almost at 100,000 miles.

Does that seem reasonable?

skeptic
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:31 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Wed May 13, 2020 5:18 pm

In no way would I tell you to buy or not to buy an extended warranty. I say no, 6 months from now something major breaks and I'm the bad guy. I say yes, 5 years from now nothing happens and I wasted your money. :)

Seriously though, I've bought extended warranties before and I think paying a bit extra for a CPO with the extra year of factory warranty is a good idea. However, read over that dealership warranty closely, check the fine print.. Those are often nearly worthless. Too many limitations, you can only have the work done at the dealership, doesn't cover lots of stuff, high deductible, etc. It's a safety net for you, but it's a profit stream for them.

If you don't mind my asking what year, model and options is that i3? $20k+ sounds high for an i3 with 55k miles.

BigKetchup
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:02 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Wed May 13, 2020 7:00 pm

2017 i3 Deka World Rex, and 20k is with the full warranty, and after taxes and fees and trade-in.

skeptic
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:31 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Thu May 14, 2020 9:11 am

BigKetchup wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 7:00 pm
2017 i3 Deka World Rex, and 20k is with the full warranty, and after taxes and fees and trade-in.

What is the price before taxes/fees without trade-in and without warranty? Also, does it have the Tech package (adaptive cruise control and larger center screen), Parking package (backup camera, sensors and ability to parallel park itself) or HK sound system?

It's hard for us to tell you if we think it's a good deal or not without knowing the actual price.

I did not buy my car through Carvana as I wanted a CPO, but I think it's a good place to comparison shop and for a non-CPO I probably would have bought through them. They have a bunch of '17 REXs for under $20k, offer warranties up to 5 years/100k for anywhere from ~$1,400 to $2,600 depending on how many miles the car has, and all with less than 55k miles. They will even take your current car as a trade-in.

BigKetchup
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:02 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Thu May 14, 2020 9:24 am

skeptic wrote: What is the price before taxes/fees without trade-in and without warranty? Also, does it have the Tech package (adaptive cruise control and larger center screen), Parking package (backup camera, sensors and ability to parallel park itself) or HK sound system?
The price is $16,000. No backup camera but it does have backup sensors. It does have a center screen which I wasn't able to get fully acclimated with. Not sure about the remaining packages but it is a "94 +Rex" per the BMW app.

I did the math and there is no real incentive for me to get the BMW and trade in my other car. It will only save me $182 a year, but will also add $6,407 to my loan and give me a car that's 37,800 miles older.

It doesn't seem there is any real good incentive.

skeptic
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:31 pm

Re: Can't decide on buying the i3

Thu May 14, 2020 10:51 am

BigKetchup wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 9:24 am
skeptic wrote: What is the price before taxes/fees without trade-in and without warranty? Also, does it have the Tech package (adaptive cruise control and larger center screen), Parking package (backup camera, sensors and ability to parallel park itself) or HK sound system?
The price is $16,000. No backup camera but it does have backup sensors. It does have a center screen which I wasn't able to get fully acclimated with. Not sure about the remaining packages but it is a "94 +Rex" per the BMW app.

I did the math and there is no real incentive for me to get the BMW and trade in my other car. It will only save me $182 a year, but will also add $6,407 to my loan and give me a car that's 37,800 miles older.

It doesn't seem there is any real good incentive.
Ok, $16k for a base model REX w/55k miles sounds about right. I'm guessing your are upside down on your trade in or they are charging an arm and a leg for the warranty.

I'm not sure if your calculations included fuel savings or difference in insurance, or even the fact that you are looking at 5 more years of warranty vs. whatever is left on the Buick, but something like this isn't a purely financial comparison. If you try to boil it down to numbers on paper an ICE vehicle will almost always beat a similar EV, and in this case they are so different I don't see how $182/year matters at all. Do you want a RWD "hot hatch" EV or do you want the smallish ICE SUV?

It sounds like you have decided not to buy an i3, but let me leave you with my final 2 thoughts:

* The benefits of driving an EV go well beyond dollars and cents (as well as some drawbacks).

* While $16k is actually a decent deal, I'd up my budget a bit and buy something with less miles and more options. Not just saying that, I bought mine at the end of March - 18,500 miles, HK stereo, Tech package, Parking package, CPO. Yes it was more than a stripped down one, but the hard part was actually finding one with everything I wanted. The price was only about $1,000 more than other cars with less options and higher miles. The only thing I'd probably do different is wait a couple months (until now) to buy, they took a $2k-$3k hit since I bought mine.

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