DamianLynch
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2021 4:49 pm

3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Sat Jul 03, 2021 6:09 pm

I recently completed a 3200+ mile road trip with my 2017 i3 Rex. My goal was to use the high speed charging network (>50kw) and to avoid using the Rex. I only used L2 and the occasional use charger at long stay destinations. I was able to complete the trip and get back in one piece.

The i3 is a short range EV in comparison to most current offerings and I found that charging every 100 or so miles added up to 50% to the travel time, although we became much wiser on charging strategy on the return trip.

The trip was from Katy, TX to Geneseo, NY to visit my father, stay for a week, travel to the Adirondacks to visit relatives for a few days, travel to Chattanooga, TN to visit even more relatives, and finally back to Katy, TX. There were four of us on the trip, loaded with gear for about 600 lbs. in weight.

The beginning of the trip was a big test, after leaving the first high speed charger in North Houston, there is a 300 mile span with no high speed chargers. That means running the Rex with gas refilling 2-3 times. The Rex performed flawlessly keeping a steady state of charge while traveling up to 70 MPH. I was getting about 50 MPG using the Rex which is not great when I should be more like 100 MPGe on electric but passable as a fuel efficient vehicle.

After crossing the EV desert of East Texas, I was able to stay fully electric except for one section where the distance between chargers was 134 miles. I engaged the Rex to provide about 20 miles of buffer in case I made a wrong turn or the guess-o-meter was way off. This was using the hold SOC at 75%. I also hit the 6% Rex auto start once when I intended to stay electric because the BMW nav is generally garbage at directions and it put me off course. I only needed this for about 3 miles though.

I had only two issues during the trip. First, I blew the two passenger tires north of Louisville, KY on a crater of a pot hole. The tow truck driver pulled 5 other cars that day which fell victim to that same pot hole. In other words, this was not the cars fault. Second, I had a drivetrain malfunction when switching off the Rex after the EV desert on the final leg of the return to Katy to finish the journey on electric power. This was very lucky as the error did not clear until I fully recharged the vehicle. Had this happened in the middle of the EV desert I would have had to charge on a L2 charger for about 3 hours to clear the error. The Hold SOC menu can be glitchy and I realize now that clicking this (more than once) to try and turn of the Rex likely caused the error.

So a long haul trip with the i3 is possible. Would I do it again? Probably not, especially without a Rex. I learned on this trip that if I bought a longer range EV-only vehicle that it would need a range double the distance of the largest distance between high speed chargers. In other words, 260 mile range to me is a minimum if you plan on exploring America by EV.

3pete
Posts: 145
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:03 pm

Re: 3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Sun Jul 04, 2021 1:58 pm

Interesting trip (in an i3) and more evidence that the i3 Rex is an interesting vehicle. It certainly wasn't designed for that kind of trip... but it could still do it, relatively painlessly (it sounds like).

For any sort of "road trip car", I think you're right: 250-300 miles is the minimum for an EV. Fortunately, there are starting to be a few more options in that regard beyond just Tesla.

Geodude
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:41 am

Re: 3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Sun Jul 11, 2021 10:54 pm

Wow, that's pretty amazing 3200+ mile trip in any EV would be challenging for sure. I think if your going to go on a long road trip like that in an EV you have to have an adventurous way of thinking. Having to stop and charge can add some extra time to the journey, but at least you get to stretch and snack a bit more than in an ICE car. IMO driving thousands of miles in any vehicle is very exhausting and you have to plan the trip well. I'm glad that your i3 pulled through for you and did the job, especially having the duel fuel option with the REX. I absolutely love my i3, but I don't know if would drive over 3,000 miles in it. I would probably just book a flight ha,ha,ha... :D

Arm
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:53 pm

Re: 3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Fri Jul 16, 2021 10:56 am

DamianLynch wrote:
Sat Jul 03, 2021 6:09 pm
I recently completed a 3200+ mile road trip with my 2017 i3 Rex. My goal was to use the high speed charging network (>50kw) and to avoid using the Rex. I only used L2 and the occasional use charger at long stay destinations. I was able to complete the trip and get back in one piece.

The i3 is a short range EV in comparison to most current offerings and I found that charging every 100 or so miles added up to 50% to the travel time, although we became much wiser on charging strategy on the return trip.

The trip was from Katy, TX to Geneseo, NY to visit my father, stay for a week, travel to the Adirondacks to visit relatives for a few days, travel to Chattanooga, TN to visit even more relatives, and finally back to Katy, TX. There were four of us on the trip, loaded with gear for about 600 lbs. in weight.

The beginning of the trip was a big test, after leaving the first high speed charger in North Houston, there is a 300 mile span with no high speed chargers. That means running the Rex with gas refilling 2-3 times. The Rex performed flawlessly keeping a steady state of charge while traveling up to 70 MPH. I was getting about 50 MPG using the Rex which is not great when I should be more like 100 MPGe on electric but passable as a fuel efficient vehicle.

After crossing the EV desert of East Texas, I was able to stay fully electric except for one section where the distance between chargers was 134 miles. I engaged the Rex to provide about 20 miles of buffer in case I made a wrong turn or the guess-o-meter was way off. This was using the hold SOC at 75%. I also hit the 6% Rex auto start once when I intended to stay electric because the BMW nav is generally garbage at directions and it put me off course. I only needed this for about 3 miles though.

I had only two issues during the trip. First, I blew the two passenger tires north of Louisville, KY on a crater of a pot hole. The tow truck driver pulled 5 other cars that day which fell victim to that same pot hole. In other words, this was not the cars fault. Second, I had a drivetrain malfunction when switching off the Rex after the EV desert on the final leg of the return to Katy to finish the journey on electric power. This was very lucky as the error did not clear until I fully recharged the vehicle. Had this happened in the middle of the EV desert I would have had to charge on a L2 charger for about 3 hours to clear the error. The Hold SOC menu can be glitchy and I realize now that clicking this (more than once) to try and turn of the Rex likely caused the error.

So a long haul trip with the i3 is possible. Would I do it again? Probably not, especially without a Rex. I learned on this trip that if I bought a longer range EV-only vehicle that it would need a range double the distance of the largest distance between high speed chargers. In other words, 260 mile range to me is a minimum if you plan on exploring America by EV.
One must ask the question...how often does one "explore" America?

Personally, until I can get an reasonably priced EV that has 300 miles or more, it's not worth it for me to deal with the hassles of crappy public infrastructure when I can simply rent a regular car for those rare occasions of long distance driving.

DamianLynch
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2021 4:49 pm

Re: 3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Fri Jul 16, 2021 4:37 pm

Arm wrote: One must ask the question...how often does one "explore" America?
Agreed. If you were a traveling salesman and you wanted an EV it would need to be long range. (Model S Plaid or Lucid Air). While I will likely always have an EV for my daily commute, this trip solidified that our second car remain an ICE, not an EV. In fact, I think that many households would follow the same model and I struggle to see any future where EV market share exceeds 50%. That is unless ICE is outlawed like they are aiming for in Europe. I think I would rather pay a carbon offset annual tax on an ICE then have a second EV.

Fisher99
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: 3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:45 pm

I think we'll get to where an ICE vehicle isn't required for most families, even for road trips. The new Hundai Ionic 5 has a 269 mile range and can charge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes. You can get 60+ miles in just 5 minutes. While I have no interest in doing a long road trip with multiple stops of 30-45 minutes I could definitely see doing it with 18 minute stops. Hundai just raised the bar, and they set it pretty high...
2014 BMW i3 with Range Extender Engine, Capparis White/Frozen Black, 20" wheels,, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, TurboCord EVSE

DamianLynch
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2021 4:49 pm

Re: 3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:59 pm

269 mile range is 215 if only charging to 80%, and that is with a new battery and draining it to 0 which is a nail-biter. Realistic comfortable physical and mental range is 188 miles (70%; to drain to 10%). That is not enough to skip every other charging station on the interstate (about 100 miles apart). You need useable (70%) range of 200+ and charging time under 10 minutes IMHO.

Arm
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:53 pm

Re: 3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Wed Aug 04, 2021 10:07 pm

Fisher99 wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:45 pm
I think we'll get to where an ICE vehicle isn't required for most families, even for road trips. The new Hundai Ionic 5 has a 269 mile range and can charge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes. You can get 60+ miles in just 5 minutes. While I have no interest in doing a long road trip with multiple stops of 30-45 minutes I could definitely see doing it with 18 minute stops. Hundai just raised the bar, and they set it pretty high...
A car manufacturer can claim to charge their whole battery in a minute but when there is no charging infrastructure that will support that rate of charge, the claim is moot.

A couple of things will happen:

1) tech will obviously improve where ranges will just get larger and larger as will battery energy density.
2) battery size and materials will change making batteries much smaller....and possibly solid state.

gt1
Posts: 386
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:31 pm
Location: Baltimore

Re: 3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Thu Aug 05, 2021 6:40 pm

There is a certain amount of fun in using wrong tools for the job, but I can't imagine travel in i3. This is why I went for the BEV version.
We try to avoid long stops and questionable roadside food by packing our own. A hybrid minivan is perfect for long distance travel. If the speed is reasonable it can cover 500 miles on a tank and is super comfortable. BEVs just don't cut it. I don't want to haul a heavy and expensive battery with me all the time when I need it a couple of times per year. And don't get me started on the sparse and overpriced DC charging infrastructure.

2020i3
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 10:00 am

Re: 3200+ Mile Trip in my 2017 i3 Rex

Fri Aug 06, 2021 5:11 pm

Hopefully the charging situation will improve quite a bit in the next couple of years.

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/0 ... ars-502455

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