Some background may be helpful. I leased my BMW i3 ReX for two years, making a single up front payment for the total lease covering 20K miles. My ReX replaced the BEV i3 I originally leased 6 months prior to getting the ReX. The original car advertised a 70 mile range, but in my climate (North Carolina - a moderate climate, not extremely cold in winter) I was unable to get more than 50-55 miles during winter months. That made the BEV essentially useless for me - too little range for daily commutes and/or client visits, all of which were in the 60+ mile range. The car is kept in a garage, connected to the charger and the car is programmed for climate optimization prior to use.
BMW graciously worked out a mutually agreeable lease change, with significant help and encouragement from my dealership, allowing me to move into the ReX at little incremental cost. So far, everyone's happy, and the i3 ReX became my 11th BMW.
Over the two years of ownership I've had several recall notices and other things that needed dealer service - all handled reasonably timely and effectively. Now the problem.
My lease expires in February, 2017, and as a courtesy my dealership suggested a pre end of lease inspection. Why not, I thought. Imagine my surprise when the inspector told me that I'd likely have to replace the tires at lease end. The car has 12,278 miles on a 20,000 mile lease term. The on-board computer shows that over the life of the vehicle, I've averaged 25.8 MPH. Surely, I said, the tires can't be worn out with so little mileage. The car has always had correct factor tire pressure, I've never had a tire inflation warning from the sensors, and I check the tire pressure about once a month myself.
The inspector said the inner tread is the problem - down to close to the wear bars, despite that fact that the outer portion of the tire is fine. The car is properly aligned, and has been checked regularly over my ownership. I'm at a loss to understand the problem, and my retort is that the tires are either defective, or improperly speced for the car. Clearly BMW disagrees.
I've not yet returned the car, but this is certainly soured my outlook on BMW e-cars in general, and the i3 in particular. I'm pretty steamed about it, and I've decided to forego buying another BMW in the future. Yes, I'm being petulant, but after 27 years of owning nothing but BMWs I feel betrayed somehow.
As for the car itself, the ownership experience has been somewhat disappointing. The BEV has a superior heating system - using a more efficient system then the ReX. That is significant, even in my climate, where winter driving universally results in a cold interior regardless of what heat setting I select. I can't get the interior warm enough for me.
The car is a loaded ReX, with almost every option except the larger wheels/tires (I prefer the ride of the 19"). Many little things have gone wrong with the car over the last 20 months requiring frequent re-flashing of the memory, 3-4 services for the ReX itself (overheating, programming, etc.). This recent service required a new charging plug connection, a new 12 Volt battery that failed due to incorrect charging from the main battery, along with several other issues. In fact, the dealership indicated that my home charging unit is the potential cause of the malfunctions - it's a Clipper Creek 40 AMP EVSE, installed by a licensed electrician and has been powering both of the BMW i3s I've owned, along with my Nissan Leaf - which predates my i3 ownership. In all of that time I've not had a problem with the charger, but I did notify the dealership that the EVSE doesn't work well with the BMW climate pre-conditioning protocol. They acknowledged that last year, indicating that there is a non standard code within the BMW charging safety. Despite that, the charger has been reliable and without fault. I even had the electrician check it after the climate conditioning problems.
If the car wasn't under warranty I shudder to think of the cost for these minor, but constant repairs would be. All of my BMWs have been generally reliable mechanically, but many have had electrical issues - I suspect the i3 will as well if my first 20 months are reflective of the future.
Overall - I wanted to love the car, and buy it for a negotiated residual value at lease end, but not any longer. I'm not convinced that the service issues are resolved, and yes, the tire issue bothers me - a LOT.
Still, it's been an enjoyable car, but the restricted range still affects me often, the car isn't very convenient on longer drives (admittedly, not it's main focus, but my driving needs have changed as I retired), and the very sensitive steering makes it a car my wife avoids at all costs (she has a 2011 BMW 335d - the finest BMW we've owned).
I may try another EV in the future, but my experience has been that the infrastructure charging setup isn't yet ready to handle the average driver's needs, especially if traveling beyond the 70 mile range of the car, and the climate control system, at least on the ReX isn't up to the task of a routine winter - defrosting in particular is a big challenge.
I wish BMW well, and I give them full credit for a clean sheet design, but for now I'll wait for the longer range alternatives and charging network to catch up. I'll return to my Prius - for me a better overall compromise even if it's not a pure EV.