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2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:46 am
by rockyhora
For 2014 owners, how many miles on electric are you averaging? I am getting 40-43 miles before the generator kicks in. On my last full charge experiment, I reset everything, did a DC full charge, and drove extra carefully. The onboard computer showed 3.8 mi/kWh with an average of 21.7 miles when the generator kicked in and I had only driven 43.2 miles at that point. I live in SoCal and its been 50-65 degrees this week.

Is this normal? I bought the car from CarMax with only 30K miles on it so it wasn't driven a ton. My main goal is being able to drive from Orange County to Los Angeles and back without having to hunt down a charger. I used to have a Fiat 500e and it was not convenient. If I can get 120-140 miles with 1 gas fillup, that will work perfectly.

Appreciate any insight on how many miles you are getting and what I can do to increase the range.

Re: 2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:25 pm
by rtanov
This is also a 2014 REX - my wife's work commute is about 48 miles and we've seen very low temperatures here recently - 20's and even 10's F. In these temperatures the range is around 45 miles - the REX kicks in for a short time period.If it gets up to 30-40 F the battery can handle it. Her efficiency is usually low - 3 or lower by the app (3.2 mi/kWh or lower).

If you have temperatures in the 50's and higher your range should be much better, I would expect 60 miles or more if you are not driving too aggressively. What does your battery kappa say? If you don't know how to check it - there are a number of references in this forum and elsewhere on the web - just search for battery kappa.

Re: 2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:34 pm
by jadnashuanh
If you're driving up long grades and/or running 70-80mph, that may be fairly normal. It really depends on the weather, the driver, and the road conditions (speed, slope, stop&go, etc.). A session sitting on an EVSE overnight might tweak things a bit. Full cell balancing may not occur with a DC fast charge.

Re: 2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:33 am
by rockyhora
Good points but I am comparing the drives to what I did with my Fiat 500e. This is very flat driving in a big suburbia with minimal traffic. Also, I did a couple freeway tests holding an even speed the whole time and got very similar range. I am yet to beat 45 miles.

The battery kappa says 14.2.

The car was sent to BMW by CarMax due to some other issues and CarMax asked BMW to run a battery test. This is what they sent back and said that battery was charging fine. I don't think they actually tested the capacity to see if it was under the 70% threshold. ... 6YGO89m5ui

Re: 2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:51 am
by MKH
At what temperature?? Outside temp has a big impact on range. Even here in Dallas, if the temp drops into the 30's, it can knock 20 miles off my range, compared to in the 60's.

That said, not sure that Carmax communicated effectively with the BMW dealer on what to check. That report looks like what they did was check for any error codes held in the system for the battery and charging electronics. And if all Carmax asked was "check the battery and charging for any problems", that's pretty-much what the dealer did.

Are you able to charge at home? A poster on the Facebook i3 group had similar range issues when all he did was "quick-charging" at work, which apparently wasn't allowing the car to do battery cell-balancing. His theory was that without being able to complete cell balancing at the end of each charge cycle, his range was limited to the charge max of the lowest out-of-balance cell(s). When he switched to leaving the car plugged-in over night at home, with departure time and conditioning set, after a few weeks, he said his range slowly came back to near normal.

Re: 2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:03 am
by rtanov
14.2 is low. My kappa hovers around 17 in this cold whether - 20's. When it gets above 40 it goes close to 18.

maybe take it to the dealer and tell them you want to claim battery replacement under warranty due to degradation so they take it more seriously. They should be able to perform a more reliable check and balance it, so if it is not under 70% capacity the rebalancing would help it hold more charge.

Re: 2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:13 pm
by rockyhora
Good idea. I just put request for them to do a full battery capacity test and check for degradation and that this is a battery warranty claim. Hopefully they will do something more than the previous test.

Re: 2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:43 pm
by rockyhora
BMW finally agreed to do a battery capacity test for $300+ but the service advisor warned me that they have done tons of these tests and a very small percentage really have an issue. The big challenge here is that there doesn't seem to be an understanding of the capacity warranty by the service advisors and there isn't a clear universal way of testing the capacity.

He said their test would involve charging it fully and letting it drain multiple times over the course of a few days to see how much charge it is holding. This seems odd to me that there isnt a set procedure by BMW.

Has anyone had luck with BMW honoring this warranty? Are there specifics for the testing procedure that I should push for? It really feels like they don't know what they are doing and this is a large BMW dealership.

Re: 2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:08 pm
by Oleksiy
There are several threads on the matter here:


I may be wrong in my assessment, I'm not from the USA, but my conclusions from reading many similar complaints here and on FB group so far are as follows:

- BMW have a standard testing procedure how to verify the capacity of the battery pack. It's there in the menu of ISTA+ (the service software), several people in this forum performed this test at their dealers. Under this procedure the pack is charged to 100% and then fully discharged using climate with windows open. ISTA+ seems to register the available capacity, allegedly.

- No detailed outcomes of the test are usually provided, they just say the battery is OK. Sometimes they apply some magic, and the pack miraculously adds several kWhs to its Batt.Kapa reading. Overall, they do their best to obscure the procedure.

- Given significant variability of the available range and even pack's capacity depending on the ambient temperature, charging patterns, driving style, cell balancing condition, owner affiliations and whatnot, it's quite easy to dismiss any claims by owners that something is wrong with the battery. So, no wonder they do that. They'll employ red herring tactics until there's a class action lawsuit or something like Nissan experienced with their Leaf.

Please report your further steps and experience going forward, it's very interesting.

Re: 2014 i3 getting only ~40 miles on full charge

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:22 am
by rockyhora
Update on the tests.

The BMW dealer came back with 85% capacity. I asked what their methodology was and they said: "We use our diagnostic computer to completely drain the high voltage battery and recharge it several times to replicate your normal daily routine. It passed all of our tests."

This is the test results they sent me. I blacked out the VIN.