mopitcher
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:24 am

BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:48 am

Hey Everyone

Just want to start out by saying how helpful this community is. I am a BMW product genius in Canada. I do my best to know EVERYTHING about all of our models, however just like any car there are things the owners will notice and experience that the dealer will not. I want to hear your guys' advice about living with the i3, and any tricks or tips you can report on EV driving in general would be much appreciated. I drive the i3 a lot, but I don't live with it.

I know a LOT about the car itself, but what would be helpful is crash course in charging and EV related electrical information. I'm not an electrician, but I have a basic understanding of how everything works. If you guys would like to know anything on the features side of your car or any BMW model (ConnectedDrive, Remote App, Navigation) feel free to ask.

For example: Is there anyone who doesn't own a level 2 EVSE who just uses the "occasional use" Level 1 EVSE all the time? Is it safe to do that? I have one customer who is adamant that his "internal charger" should be feeding 7.4 kW to the battery AT ALL TIMES when plugged into a Level 2 EVSE. He reports a max of about 6 kW. I informed him that it's more like "up to" 7.4 kW and that a lot of variables can affect the amount of energy that goes into the battery but he doesn't seem to accept this, and says that "he paid for 7.4 kW" or something to that effect. Is there an a solid answer I can give customers who inquire about why their charging rate isn't the maximum?

i3Alan
Posts: 299
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:08 pm

Re: BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:50 am

mopitcher wrote:I have one customer who is adamant that his "internal charger" should be feeding 7.4 kW to the battery AT ALL TIMES when plugged into a Level 2 EVSE. He reports a max of about 6 kW. I informed him that it's more like "up to" 7.4 kW and that a lot of variables can affect the amount of energy that goes into the battery but he doesn't seem to accept this, and says that "he paid for 7.4 kW" or something to that effect. Is there an a solid answer I can give customers who inquire about why their charging rate isn't the maximum?
For any point in time during a charge, the power is the voltage times the current. It is not constant during a charge.

The max L2 charging is 240V at 30A, which is 240x30 = 7200 watts, or 7.2kW. However, any EVSE may be capable of supporting less than 30A. If the EVSE can support more than 30A, then only a max of 30A will ever be fed to the i3. Also, all 240V circuits have line resistance, and the more there is, the more the voltage drop will be to the car. A typical 240V circuit supplying more than a few amps will be showing about 220V, leaving the i3 with a more typical charge rate of 6.6kW. And, finally, as the i3 reaches full charge, the charge rate will slow down (the i3 will slowly reduce the current it draws from the EVSE).

One more issue is that many industrial (not home) circuits are 3-phase 240V where the EVSE will only see a max of 208V from any two of the three power legs, rather than the full 240V that a home 2-phase 240V circuit sees. So the max power on one of these circuits, as might be found in a large parking garage, for example, is 6.24kW.

So, the basics are the L2 charging power is limited by:
1) The supply voltage, which may be anywhere from about 200V to 240V.
2) The supply current, which may be anywhere from 0 to 30A, where the EVSE reports to the i3 the maximum safe current the circuit can provide, but which the i3 will never take more than 30A, as that it the most the internal i3 chargers can handle.
3) The i3 battery, which can only take the full 30A when available from the EVSE when the battery is not near full charge, and will draw less and less current as the battery reaches full charge.

jadnashuanh
Posts: 5196
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:24 pm

It appears the charging circuits are maxed out at 7400W, but the explanation above it good. I, my case, I have a 30A EVSE, but my typical line voltage feeding it often is 247-8vac, and I have seen more than 7200W going into the EVSE (the in-line meter is before my box, not in it).

Also, temperature of the batteries when you start will affect the maximum charge the car can provide.

So, without knowing what EVSE the guy has and his specific voltage input, there's no way to tell if his situation is correct or not. Also, the pilot signal coming out of the EVSE may not be adjusted properly. THAT is the signal that tells the EV the maximum current it can provide. The car will never try to draw more than that amount. You can't check that without a good oscilloscope, or a special circuit designed to interpret that signal (haven't looked to see if anyone makes one).

The particular use pattern of the owner would dictate whether the OUC would suffice...for many people, it won't. If you never use the car for longer trips and don't let the battery get deeply discharged, it will be able to restore the car in a 'reasonable' timeframe. But, worst case, it could take 19-hours or so, and if you came home late and needed full charge in the morning, you'd be out of luck. Also, you can't really condition the batteries during a departure time except with a level 2 EVSE as the car wants lots more power than the NA supplied OUC can provide. If you do, you likely won't have a full charge when you leave.

One fairly common complaint is the rear door open alert. Because the door latches at both the top and bottom, it takes a bit more pressure to close it than most people like. If either latch is not fully engaged, you will get an alert when it 'looks' closed.

Personally, I think they FOB design is dumb...the unlock button literally goes right to the edge of the FOB, making it somewhat easy to inadvertently unlock the car when you don't expect it, and, if that button gets held down long enough, open up the windows, too! Depending on where you have your menu choices, if the door isn't opened, it will relock leaving you with a locked car with the windows opened! I have comfort access, and use the FOB cover with the buttons on the inside to protect them. Rarely need an actual button, so it's not a big deal.

The time to recharge calculation seems to be off most of the time. Depending on the cellphone coverage, and the server's mood, sometimes the remote app does not get updated or you can't talk to the car. People have had issues with the off-peak charging logic in the car, but it seems to be better with the last software updates.

The light colored floor mats are kind of a joke and are almost impossible to keep clean.
Jim DeBruycker
2014 i3 BEV, 2021 X5 45e
(The i3 will be sold soon, <17K-miles, interested?)

FrancisJeffries
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 12:47 pm
Location: Stevenage, UK

Re: BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:53 am

I have measured the actual currents supplied by the EV and the OUC. The EV maximum current is exactly 29.5Amps (which falls as the battery approaches full charge). The OUC maximum current is 9.5Amps (exactly 1/3 of the EV value) and also falls as full charge is approached.

The power is not "maxed out" - the current is - and is limited by the current-supplying capability of the EV or the OUC units. It's therefore likely that on a low voltage (204V, say), the total power delivered is limited by the maximum current allowed.

In any case, the car's battery and electronics "sees" current, not wattage, and so do the connectors and wiring. It has no knowledge of watts or wattage.
Noteworthy cars I've owned previously: Lancia Aprilia ... 20kWh i3 Rex.

brorob
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:53 am

Re: BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:19 am

FrancisJeffries wrote:I have measured the actual currents supplied by the EV and the OUC. The EV maximum current is exactly 29.5Amps (which falls as the battery approaches full charge). The OUC maximum current is 9.5Amps (exactly 1/3 of the EV value) and also falls as full charge is approached.
I measure the power consumption when using my OUC every time and it consistently draws 11.55 amps when the car is set at maximum charge level. Maybe the difference between UK and U.S. power grid or OUC?

I do not have a Level 2 EVSE installed at home only because my work provides one that I use for most of my charging. I only use the OUC as it's described, occasionally. If my work didn't provide a Level 2 I would have one installed at home. Another factor is that a Level 2 is more efficient. There Is a forum (or a few) that go into this detail.

MGTi3
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:59 am

Re: BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:26 am

I've used the EVSE that comes with the car for about a month now (since I bought the car) and it gets the job done. However my commute is only about 30 miles round trip. By the time I get home I have about half a charge left. I plug it in at about 6 PM and it's done charging at around 3 AM.

Definitely getting a 240V EVSE sometime soon, but I don't necessarily need it. More for convenience as my workplace doesn't have one.

Overall the car is great to deal with. I've had about 10-12 cars in the last 3 years (ranging from Performance sedans and SUVs to hatchbacks) and i3 is definitely awesome in my book. I'm able to take 3 road bikes using my Saris Bones trunk rack, and it's great for a quick burst to downtown with the wife every now and then.

My RECARO Performance Ride car seat (which is very big compared to most seats) fits just fine (although it can't be mounted in the middle like I'd prefer) and doesn't inconvenience me when taking my 3 year old to day care.

justanotherdrunk
Posts: 265
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:56 am
Location: Silicon Valley

Re: BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:29 pm

i use L1 reduced ~8A in the garage exclusively with an occasional DC fast charge over at whole foods




drain water by folding side mirrors in after wash to prevent blow out after drying


:idea:
2014 i3 BEV
Solar Orange/ Mega

jadnashuanh
Posts: 5196
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:42 pm

The OUC sold in NA is a 120vac device...those sold in much of the rest of the world are 230-240vac devices, so they can provide as much as twice the power for the same number of amps verses the USA (and Canadian) ones. So, someone living outside of NA is more likely to be able to use their OUC than the majority of people in the US. It all depends on how long you have before you need it fully charged, and how empty you let the battery pack get before you plug it in again.

Power = volts*amps, so the amount of power directly changes with either volts or amps feeding the thing (well, available to the car).
Jim DeBruycker
2014 i3 BEV, 2021 X5 45e
(The i3 will be sold soon, <17K-miles, interested?)

SSi3
Posts: 260
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:55 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:46 am

welcome fellow Canadian!

I have been using my OUC at home on max in my garage since I got the car in April 2015. No issues, its just slow, but it charges while I sleep and my daily commute is only 15kms round trip. An L2 is a must if ones commute is longer, especially come winter.

So which dealership are you at? TO? BC? QC?

When will the idealerships be getting DCFC installed? I was told by late 2015 the Toronto ones would have theirs, that didn't seem to happen :(
Born electric 4/25/15 (2015 REx)
Re-born fully electric 7/27/19 (2019 i3s BEV)

Blue20
Posts: 186
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:12 pm
Location: SAE Combo (CCS) Deadzone

Re: BMW Genius here! What is your i3 motoring advice?

Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:24 am

SSi3 wrote:welcome fellow Canadian!

I have been using my OUC at home on max in my garage since I got the car in April 2015. No issues, its just slow, but it charges while I sleep and my daily commute is only 15kms round trip. An L2 is a must if ones commute is longer, especially come winter.

So which dealership are you at? TO? BC? QC?

When will the idealerships be getting DCFC installed? I was told by late 2015 the Toronto ones would have theirs, that didn't seem to happen :(

+1 .. My dealer has been saying their DCFC is "coming soon" since 1H 2014. You can only say "coming soon" for so long.

There are three BMW i Dealerships in Vancouver, none of them have CCS, even for service/testing.

BC Government does have one demo CCS in Vancouver, but they would only install Chademo in Greater Vancouver .

....and people are wondering why the BMW i brand sales dropped in 2016!

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