dohearne
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2021 10:10 am

Road Trip Experience

Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:49 pm

I am seriously considering the i3 REx. I do not take extended trips often and most of my driving is well under 20 miles/day. However, 1-2 times a year I travel 450 miles to visit grandchildren (NC to Northern VA). From my reading, I could do this trip by after traveling (<200 miles) using the REx to travel 80+ miles at a time and then refueling, with maybe a fast charge at lunch. I am interested in i3 owners experience and feedback. I test drove an i3 yesterday and was very much impressed.

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

Re: Road Trip Experience

Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:30 pm

If your route has regularly spaced fuel stations, it's doable. If you travel when they may be closed, it could be very problematic. I'm not a fan of carrying gas cans in a vehicle. Some do it.

Comfort is very much an individual thing. When I've driven mine near its full range (a BEV), near the end, I was not very comfortable, so even if I'd opted for the REx version, I would not want to drive it for 6-7 hours or more, even with stopping regularly to refuel. As I use mine, comfort is fine, as I use it for running around town, and rarely more than 30-miles in any one stretch. If your trips are in the winter, keep in mind that all of your heat is via the batteries, whether you heat the seats, the cabin, mirrors, or keep enough going to keep the windshield clear...in some weather, that can make a significant impact on your range. That's still true with the BEV, but unless it's really frigid, the heat pump is more efficient at producing heat.

If you were buying new, and your normal day was way below the pure battery range, the cost of adding the REx and the additional maintenance required, might just pay to rent a bigger hybrid or ICE vehicle for an annual trip. Then, no issue about being sure you'd get there.
Jim DeBruycker
2014 i3 BEV, 2021 X5 45e
(The i3 will be sold soon, <17K-miles, interested?)

dohearne
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2021 10:10 am

Re: Road Trip Experience

Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:16 pm

Jim, thank-you for the reply. The idea of saving money by buying the BEV and then renting for road trips I need to explore.

alohart
Posts: 2369
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Road Trip Experience

Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:18 pm

jadnashuanh wrote:
Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:30 pm
If you were buying new, and your normal day was way below the pure battery range, the cost of adding the REx and the additional maintenance required, might just pay to rent a bigger hybrid or ICE vehicle for an annual trip.
Even buying used, I would avoid buying a REx for only 2 annual trips. Especially with a later model BEV, its additional range plus the increasing numbers of DC fast chargers being installed might mean that you could complete your annual trips using DC fast chargers en route without increasing travel time excessively.
Aloha,
Art

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

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

Re: Road Trip Experience

Wed Jan 27, 2021 7:21 pm

The REx is nearly $4K more than the BEV version. Not sure about the resale value when it comes time to sell, but assuming you take out a loan, and how long, that price will be higher (and, if you take it out of savings, a potential loss of investment income on it). That could pay the rental for a bunch of annual longer trips that might make the whole trip on one tank so you can stop at your leisure versus wondering if you'll make it to the next fuel stop or not. A DC fast charge will take at least 1/2-hour (after that, the recharging starts to slow down, and if paying by time, can start to become more expensive since it's slower...not an issue IF you pay by the power, but many make you pay by time).

While I really liked my i3 (selling it soon), I wanted to get down to one vehicle and bought an X5 45e hybrid that can cover my normal round-town miles via EV mode, and just continue on when needed via gasoline.
Jim DeBruycker
2014 i3 BEV, 2021 X5 45e
(The i3 will be sold soon, <17K-miles, interested?)

eXodus
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:06 am

Re: Road Trip Experience

Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:02 am

dohearne wrote:
Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:16 pm
Jim, thank-you for the reply. The idea of saving money by buying the BEV and then renting for road trips I need to explore.
I went down the route - and bought a BEV.

For that few trips a year - I keep a $2000 ICE vehicle in my driveway. As soon as that dies I will very likely rent. (with only driving 2000 miles a year, that old Chevy Van will probably live forever)
IMHO The REX is too expensive/complex to not being used.

In your case I would get a 2019 and up 120AH BEV. Which gets you about 150 miles range - which is 2 hours worth of driving - which is a good time between breaks. In a few years the fast charging network will catch up an you can do this trip with 2-3x breaks and charging.

dohearne
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2021 10:10 am

Re: Road Trip Experience

Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:52 am

The comments here have been very helpful. I can get myself trapped in my thinking. I have 1 car, a 2011 Highlander Hybrid, and was trying to replace it with a EV that would serve a similar use case. Now I can see several (and cheaper) scenarios. It also helped to download and use an EV planner (evnavigator) which helped further in understanding the reality of 200 plus mile trips in an EV other than a Tesla.

eXodus
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:06 am

Re: Road Trip Experience

Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:52 am

dohearne wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:52 am
The comments here have been very helpful. I can get myself trapped in my thinking. I have 1 car, a 2011 Highlander Hybrid, and was trying to replace it with a EV that would serve a similar use case. Now I can see several (and cheaper) scenarios. It also helped to download and use an EV planner (evnavigator) which helped further in understanding the reality of 200 plus mile trips in an EV other than a Tesla.
Challenge your thinking :D good idea.

Many car owners try to find a car which covers all their use cases - as rare as they might be, and end up with a vehicle which does all of them average and none of them good.

The i3 is probably the best car for commuting short distances. BMW did know this and back in the early i3 days offered 14 days a year (in Europe) of borrow any regular ICE vehicle from their DriveNow Service included with the purchases of the car.
So your usecase - commuting and a few long trips a year - is actually fairly common.

JASmith
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:40 pm

Re: Road Trip Experience

Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:25 pm

dohearne wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:52 am
The comments here have been very helpful. I can get myself trapped in my thinking. I have 1 car, a 2011 Highlander Hybrid, and was trying to replace it with a EV that would serve a similar use case. Now I can see several (and cheaper) scenarios. It also helped to download and use an EV planner (evnavigator) which helped further in understanding the reality of 200 plus mile trips in an EV other than a Tesla.
I have an excel spreadsheet adding things up, and the economics of two vehicles really doesn't pay off, as one of the largest factors in ownership is depreciation which happens even if you're not putting miles on a vehicle.

While renting is an option, when shopping used I've found there is very little difference in cost between bev and rex rendering that argument rather moot, and the fact is that in many states there are "EV deserts" and having the rex gives you peace of mind knowing you never have to have range anxiety since its range is indefinite using the extender on hold mode once you have the vehicle "unlocked" to allow that feature that is disabled for the US market.

However, another vehicle you may consider is the Chevy Volt. Unlike the i3, it can operate as a parallel hybrid on the highway which is more efficient than the i3 that can only run as a pure generator on gas. Its combined EV + gas range is 420 miles, and unlike the i3, the performance is identical whether running on pure battery or gasoline in hold mode, so there's no diminished performance if you feel like cruising at 80mph. The downside is that it has a Chevy vs BMW badge which is more low end, it looks like a Chevy Cruze so is not ugly but certainly not special, its turn circle is OK but not awesome like the i3, and the 2019 model year refresh received consumer report's "worst used car" rating, although other years were apparently fine. It does have good performance and regular 215mm tires that should last longer and is less likely to follow ruts in the road.

johnecampbell
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:47 am

Re: Road Trip Experience

Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:03 am

Just completed my first long-ish (and frustrating) road trip with my 2018 i3 Rex. The trip was a nearly all-day trip with multiple legs, 400 mi total.

First, while the display said I should expect 120 miles on EcoPro+, I only made it 80 miles before the battery drained. Mind you I was going 75mph.
Then, I charged to battery to 80%, that got me another 80 miles.
Stopped at a rest stop charger, which was malfunctioning so could not charge. Glad I had the ReX or I would have to be towed (NOTE this car is not viable for long trips without the ReX, IMHO).
For the rest of the trip, I ran on ReX which meant stopping at every rest area to gas up. Each stop was 5 min which was less time than it would have taken to charge multiple times. On my trip home, I tried to stop at another rest stop charging station and the one charger was being used by another car. So I stay3ed on reX.
The display also misstates the range using gas, were the range correct I would have been able to stop at every other rest stop, but since it was not reliable I stopped at every one.
If this trip was an out-and-back with an overnight, would have been a better experience since I could have charged overnight.
Things will get better as they build out the high-speed charging network.
I still love this car. For every day driving, it's a game changer and I never have to stop at a gas station again.
For another trip like this one, I will either rent a car or use my spouses.

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