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

Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:10 pm

I've been lurking for a bit, but wondered if y'all can provide any input as to whether the i3 ReX makes sense for my specific application from a purely practical and economic standpoint.

We're in Houston, TX and have been looking at a reliable vehicle that can seat two comfortably, three adults on occasion, for mostly highway driving with a work commute of 50 miles round trip, that is a liftback or hatchback with at least 35cuft of storage w/ back seats folded on a flat floor that has attractive styling with bonus points for being a bit funky. While originally looking at everything from an Arteon, Veloster N, and even a Soul EX (shows how flexible we are), we saw they were practically giving away used i3 ReXs with low mileage in the mid teens.

Most have the small screen, but I see lurking here you can replace them w/ the 10" from Aliexpress, and get a kit to enable the latest applecarplay/androidauto, Consumer Reports lists the i3 as above average reliability, and love the exposed carbon fiber and suicide doors along w/ the premium BMW brand name.

My concerns are that it appears the overly skinny tires don't last long, we tend to keep our used vehicles until they are at least 10 years old with replacement batteries I'm reading are as much as $16K out of warranty, and the scooter engine sounds pretty horrible but should be fine if just used on the highway in hold mode which can be done apparently with some reprogramming that also unlocks the full 2.4 gallon fuel tank.

Is there anything I'm failing to weigh in here that you can think of, and I'm also so confused about why so many of the i3s are low mileage. The most expensive aspect of vehicle ownership is depreciation, not fuel, and especially if you're hardly driving why spend so much extra to save fuel? Did people plan on driving it more, but then found it wasn't good for putting a lot of miles on? Bit confused about what I'm missing.

agzand
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:00 pm

Re: Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:33 pm

Here is my take based on my short ownership period and doing online research. The only wild card is if you get an unlikely major repair after warranty expiration. The battery is going to be fine because it has 8 years warranty. But other systems like AC and REX could have issues and since i3 is a unique car most independent mechanics won't touch it. So you will be at mercy of dealership and they are well aware of this situation and take advantage of it.

The i3 tires have a higher than normal puncture potential, but for an OEM luxury tire they are cheap, so even if they last 2/3 of a regular tire your tire cost will be similar to other luxury cars.

There is some debate on whether REX has extended warranty on top of 4-yr 50000 miles (particularly in PZEV states). I believe it does, but some think it is for emission test failures only. Guess what if your REX is dead they cannot run emission tests, so it will be an emission failure.

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MKH
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Location: Dallas

Re: Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:20 am

To add to this:
The i3 tires have a higher than normal puncture potential, but for an OEM luxury tire they are cheap, so even if they last 2/3 of a regular tire your tire cost will be similar to other luxury cars.
True of the 20" sports tires - which are also prone to pothole damage to both tire and rim. The 19" all season tires don't seem to have these problems (and the ride is better).
if your REX is dead they cannot run emission tests, so it will be an emission failure.
True in any case, because if the Rex is dead there will be a 'check engine' light, and that alone will cause an inspection failure.

In Texas only counties with high-density populations require an emission test as part of the inspection, all other counties only require a safety inspection. My first Texas inspection was a year after I'd bought the car, and done by the dealer when I had it in for some minor warranty work (replacement of torn front shock boots). Though it was in a 'high-density' county - the inspection was safety only. When I asked the dealer about it, was told that it was classed as an electric car which only requires a safety inspection. Hybrids in Texas require the emissions inspection, so not sure if the dealer was correct., but in Texas you can look up a vehicle inspection history if you have the VIN. Though mine is a Rex, spending most of its life in Dallas county (which requires emissions testing), my inspection history has been safety only.

The EPA classifies the i3 REx as a series plug-in hybrid or EREV (Electric Range Extended Vehicle) while CARB as a range-extended battery-electric vehicle (BEVx).
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

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

Re: Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:53 am

agzand wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:33 pm
Here is my take based on my short ownership period and doing online research. The only wild card is if you get an unlikely major repair after warranty expiration. The battery is going to be fine because it has 8 years warranty. But other systems like AC and REX could have issues and since i3 is a unique car most independent mechanics won't touch it. So you will be at mercy of dealership and they are well aware of this situation and take advantage of it.

The i3 tires have a higher than normal puncture potential, but for an OEM luxury tire they are cheap, so even if they last 2/3 of a regular tire your tire cost will be similar to other luxury cars.

There is some debate on whether REX has extended warranty on top of 4-yr 50000 miles (particularly in PZEV states). I believe it does, but some think it is for emission test failures only. Guess what if your REX is dead they cannot run emission tests, so it will be an emission failure.
So its funny you mention that, as I'm just watching some videos about i3 certified pre-owned as maybe the safer bet and see this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HXtZBHu-W0

To replace a fuel vent, which according to comments should have been a free recall anyway, is $150 diagnostic fee + $1600 in parts and labor... how? They also happened to have the tire puncture you mentioned coincidentally. We had an issue with the Fiat 500T a bit back when it was out of warranty, we finally had our first problem around 70K miles where it would shift with difficulty into 2nd gear, and turns out a squirrel had been hiding nuts behind the battery compartment and not only had some fallen down by the shift linkage but in the process it had knocked off the positive terminal cap which is just a friction fit that had wedged itself along with the nuts down there. They diagnosed the issue within an hour of dropping the car off, laughed about it, and charged $65 diagnostic fee but nothing else even though they had to take the battery out, battery tray, and use a shop vac to get it all cleaned up. Is the TFL story just a bad BMW dealer, a culture difference common w/ BMW service shops, or the i3 just really hard to work on? Never owned a BMW before, mostly just FCA products (Ram, Charger, 500).

agzand
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:00 pm

Re: Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:45 am

In general all BMW repairs have become very expensive in US dealers. i3 with all its faults is still way more reliable than a typical BMW. In addition there could be some anti EV sentiment in BMW dealerships, so maybe they think if they charge higher rates people will stick with ICE BMWs. They also know that you have fewer options in terms of repair than an ICE BMW, although I think specialized shops in markets with high EV adoption are starting to catch up with i3 maintenance and repair. Or maybe they think in the future they have to recoup costs from fewer repairs on EVs, so they will have to charge higher rates. Anyway this strategy will obviously fail, because if people think BMW EVs are not economical they will just buy a Tesla or other brand.

Once EV adoption becomes significant part of the market, many dealerships will have to close and the rest will have to downsize, because EVs have much lower maintenance cost and in general more reliable.

symonray
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:52 am

Re: Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:59 pm

The moral of the story from the video is that the only sure way to get CPO warranty coverage for any BMW (including the i3) is to purchase a CPO vehicle directly from a BMW dealer and not from a private party who previously bought it as a CPO vehicle from a BMW dealer. Although BMW has a procedure for transferring existing CPO warranty coverage to a new purchaser of the vehicle, the process is tedious and requires a payment to BMW. Some might argue that BMW ought to make the CPO warranty transfer process easier (or maybe even have the CPO warranty automatically transfer to a new owner with no action required by the new owner), but BMW elected not to do it that way.
Timothy Simonds
2017 BMW i3 Rex

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

Re: Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:10 pm

symonray wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:59 pm
The moral of the story from the video is that the only sure way to get CPO warranty coverage for any BMW (including the i3) is to purchase a CPO vehicle directly from a BMW dealer and not from a private party who previously bought it as a CPO vehicle from a BMW dealer.
Yeah, I was mostly concerned with the $1600+diagnostic charge for what is seemingly a minor part replacement, and was curious if the i3 is really that hard to work on. On our truck not that long ago around the 140K mile mark the water pump was starting to fail, and just to put on a new pump, fan clutch, thermostat, and belt they wanted close to $900 at a stealership, but we ended up just doing it ourselves in about two hours since we also did a coolant flush that required a bit of burping and ran us just under $200 for all the parts and luckily was so easy to do.

BTW, so I'm a little confused on the CPO. I found a low mileage 2017 CPO, and understand it offers 5 years unlimited mileage bumper to bumper warranty, so the battery warranty would still expire in 2025 normally and the CPO would only extend that by one year to 2026, right? Its not 5 years added to the factory warranty, but rather merely from the point of sale?

Also, is there any risk of loss of the CPO if adding the 10" screen, carplay/android auto functionality, and unlocking the full 2.4 gallon tank and hold capability?

agzand
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:00 pm

Re: Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:37 pm

The CPO warranty is 5 years from the original in service date, so one year and unlimited miles in addition to the original 4 year warranty. For a 2017 right now you get on average 1.5 year warranty left.

If you managed to change a water pump yourself then you can do a lot of i3 repairs as well. I don't think doing repairs is harder on i3, it is just different and most independent shops are not familiar with it.

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

Re: Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:55 am

agzand wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:37 pm
The CPO warranty is 5 years from the original in service date, so one year and unlimited miles in addition to the original 4 year warranty. For a 2017 right now you get on average 1.5 year warranty left.
Ah, how confusing, to me that should be called a 1 year additional warranty, heh!
agzand wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:37 pm
If you managed to change a water pump yourself then you can do a lot of i3 repairs as well. I don't think doing repairs is harder on i3, it is just different and most independent shops are not familiar with it.
OK that's good news, thanks. I was worried maybe the bill was that high as you have to take off the whole suspension or something because of tight packaging. We can do all basic work ourselves with four hands, as long as it doesn't require a lift.

Edit: BTW, so I'm curious how its all put together and how to DIY some common maintenance items to see what we're in for, and stumbled on this video. That carbon fiber chassis is just too cool! Makes you wonder if the battery is a stressed member or not, as I could see someone taking one with a totaled electric system in the future and just putting a Civic Si engine in the back, probably be insanely light! :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q7h27lVDUI

alohart
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Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Economics of a Used i3 ReX

Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:30 pm

agzand wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:37 pm
If you managed to change a water pump yourself then you can do a lot of i3 repairs as well. I don't think doing repairs is harder on i3, it is just different and most independent shops are not familiar with it.
Unfortunately, the i3's many electronics modules aren't reparable, are quite expensive, and can require BMW's proprietary maintenance software to register the replacement modules before they will function. Diagnosing problems can be difficult even for trained BMW mechanics who have access to this software. These problems aren't unique to the i3 but are becoming common with all new vehicles which makes DIY repairs more difficult than in the past.
Aloha,
Art

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

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