Gif
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:24 pm
Location: Bottom right hand corner of Wales

Questions Questions!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:44 pm

Newbie alert first, I've just registered so be gentle if I'm posting in the wrong place etc, I know what forums are like.

As you may guess after reading the title, I'm currently considering buying an i3. Thus far I have got as far as reading everything I can find online in terms of BMW literature and third party reviews of the car, trawling through the bewildering information on charging (both home and away), considering the rights and wrongs of the car for my needs etc etc. All this has led me to a number of hopefully salient questions that led me here to people who hopefully can shed some light.

For the record, I am in the UK and familiar with more traditional cars but also a BMW nut hence the obvious if slightly biased choice.

The questions!

1. Looking at UK specs on BMW approved used cars, the BEV says "electric range - up to 62 miles" but the REX says "electric range - up to 93 miles". Thought they were exactly the same car and the REX should therefore have a lower electric range having to carry the extra weight around. Where does that 62 versus 93 miles come from?

2. I know the higher capacity battery is due out soon but I have seen comments about possible upgrades for existing users in the UK. Does anyone have any facts or authoritative information about this as I don't think I can justify shelling out for the new priced new model?

3. My natural inclination is to go for the security of REX but reading the pages on here, the REX models seem to have a greater share of the problems. Is this right or just a misguided perception I've picked up?

4 Anyone any experience of installing a home charger in UK and if so who did you use and what was the process like? I've been staring at my fuse box etc wondering if there are any problems I will encounter.

5. Several of the installers refer to the charging point grant being dependent on owning an EV. Why would I buy an EV before I knew if there were any problems in installing the charger on my supply?

6 Would love to hear from any UK users with BEV as to what real world range they get in our climate. I don't commute every day but it's about 50 miles when I do, no charger at work and it's motorway for most of it albeit in stop / start traffic at either end.

Thanks all and HELLO btw 8-)

epirali
Posts: 420
Joined: Sun May 24, 2015 7:05 am
Location: Maryland

Re: Questions Questions!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:08 pm

Greetings. I will only try to answer 1,3, and 6.

1) I own a Rex version, the range is obviously HIGHLY dependent on external temperature, speed of travel and use of pre-conditioning. In warm temperatures (say above 60F), driving a mix of highway and roads averaging an easy 55 MPH I get around 75 miles of electric range. In the cold of winter (30F) WITH precondition (both battery and heat) I can get 60. So if you were traveling at say 40-45 in warm weather you should be able to hit 93 in the BEV, but I can see 80+ is possible in Rex.

3) I have not a single Rex related issue on mine, but I tend to use the Rex as back up. I have ended up driving almost 100 miles once on the Rex alone in an emergency with no issues. So I'd say the insurance is well worth the extra weight.

6) Even in the most optimistic conditions of weather and driving this is not possible without charging at work. But if you can charge at work then it should be no issue at any temperature and speed.

Gif
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:24 pm
Location: Bottom right hand corner of Wales

Re: Questions Questions!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:26 pm

Ah, sorry I should have clarified, it's 50 mile for the full trip, not there and back but from your answer regarding range, I'm guessing it wouldn't be an issue most days as long as there is a full charge overnight.

epirali
Posts: 420
Joined: Sun May 24, 2015 7:05 am
Location: Maryland

Re: Questions Questions!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:32 pm

Gif wrote:Ah, sorry I should have clarified, it's 50 mile for the full trip, not there and back but from your answer regarding range, I'm guessing it wouldn't be an issue most days as long as there is a full charge overnight.
Absolutely not. If you have the Rex its not an issue even for longer trips and backup, and without and the weight savings 50 miles should be very easy to achieve. Add in pre-conditioning at home if that's an option (remember scheduled at least three hours before departure time) and you have margin to spare even in the coldest days.

busaman
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 11:00 am

Re: Questions Questions!

Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:34 pm

ive had mine for 2 years only problem has been 1 wiper motor nothing rex related and 11000 miles

if you have a fast charger en route no need to worry at all i often do a 300 mile trip which goes, 60 miles on battery maybe a little on the rex just to keep a little in reseve then plug in to a fast charger then another 60 miles last few miles on rex plug in to wall socket for the day while i work then return to the fast charge with a little rex then almost enough electric to get home and the only real wait was maybe 20 mins combined on charges after a coffee and a pee.. those ecotricity points are fast 380v@125 amps..

all in all happy
7.31s@203.3mph on one wheel

psquare
Posts: 501
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:57 am
Location: i3 REx, 225xe Hybrid UK
Contact: Website

Re: Questions Questions!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:01 am

Hello and welcome to the forum.
Gif wrote: 1. Looking at UK specs on BMW approved used cars, the BEV says "electric range - up to 62 miles" but the REX says "electric range - up to 93 miles". Thought they were exactly the same car and the REX should therefore have a lower electric range having to carry the extra weight around. Where does that 62 versus 93 miles come from?
I don't own a BEV, but know for sure that the BEV range is higher. 75-100mi if I remember correctly. Obviously restricted by what Epirali pointed out. The max electric mileage -before the REx kicks in at 6.5% SOC- I achieved is 75.5mi. During a UK summer, combined REx mileage for me is about 160mi rural, ca 130mi at motorway speed (that's 65-75mph for me). I have now taken my i3 to Germany, NL and Belgium 3 times. We've just crossed the 20k mile mark after 15 months.
Gif wrote: 2. I know the higher capacity battery is due out soon but I have seen comments about possible upgrades for existing users in the UK. Does anyone have any facts or authoritative information about this as I don't think I can justify shelling out for the new priced new model?
It has been confirmed (there was a post by Tom Moloughney on this) that there will be no i3 battery replacement programmes offered by US and UK dealerships. Whether there will be an aftermarket at some point remains to be seen. Given the capital and knowledge investment to provide such a swap at this point, I have doubts we will see something like this anytime soon.
Gif wrote: 3. My natural inclination is to go for the security of REX but reading the pages on here, the REX models seem to have a greater share of the problems. Is this right or just a misguided perception I've picked up?
I think this is your perception. There are purists in the EV arena who look down on REx drivers, as they're not pure enough, or "use a dinky little engine" or have "a poor solution from an engineering perspective" or "have a car that defeats the object". Fact is: a) REx drivers do more electric miles, because they can go where BEV owners leave their 2nd car i3 at home. b) REx have better residuals, because of battery upgrades and degrading SOC in older models. At the end of the day, it is all about one's usage pattern. Most of our journeys are local (35-50mi per day), but occasionally I go on long journeys to Germany or the north of the UK. 92.3% of our journeys are electric.
Gif wrote: 4 Anyone any experience of installing a home charger in UK and if so who did you use and what was the process like? I've been staring at my fuse box etc wondering if there are any problems I will encounter.
I went for a Type 2 Polar charger in Dec 2014. The process was nice and easy. Many electricians are now focussing on EV charge point installations.
Gif wrote: 5. Several of the installers refer to the charging point grant being dependent on owning an EV. Why would I buy an EV before I knew if there were any problems in installing the charger on my supply?
That's right. I ordered my charge point before I had the car and Polar wanted to see the order confirmation from the BMW dealer when I ordered mine.
Gif wrote: 6 Would love to hear from any UK users with BEV as to what real world range they get in our climate. I don't commute every day but it's about 50 miles when I do, no charger at work and it's motorway for most of it albeit in stop / start traffic at either end.
Winter pure electric: 65mi (battery and cabin preconditioned, with heating and seats on)
Summer pure electric: 82mi (no battery or cabin precon)
REx normally doubles the range. As mentioned above, after 20k miles, 92.3% of our journeys are electric.

Tips from me:
Thinking of fancy wheels or the HK upgrade? I would spend the money on a REx instead.
Have some money left and thinking of fancy wheels or HK upgrade? Put the money towards solar panels if your situation allows it.

TOEd
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:15 am
Location: Toronto Ontario Canada

Re: Questions Questions!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:51 am

Welcome!

i3 is an excellent vehicle overall.

In 3 months we have driven 3600 km on electric and 3800 km on the REX. Filled the gasoline tank about 28 times. No mechanical problems with the REX so far. You can read about issues around small gas tank and loss of power while driving up long grades elsewhere on this site. Probably not an issue for you unless you drive into the Alps.

Charging infrastructure where we travel (northern USA and Ontario Canada) is poor but improving. So REX is essential. Next time we drive on a longer trip to USA we will probably drive our ICE car because finding chargers is just too much of a hassle. Few hotels have chargers. Even the hotels that have an outside electrical outlet won't usually let you use it due to "liability" concerns.

This is our second EV. We had a smart ED for two years and loved it.

epirali
Posts: 420
Joined: Sun May 24, 2015 7:05 am
Location: Maryland

Re: Questions Questions!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:47 am

I would like to second a great point psquare made. With my Leaf I used to decided NOT to take electric if I had concerns about range, or if there may be a change of plans. That reduced my electric driving. But with the Rex, as he correctly pointed out, I don't have that issue. I'll always choose electric knowing I can go all the way to zero and still get home (say 5 miles) or in a pinch I can still run emergency errands.

Gif
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:24 pm
Location: Bottom right hand corner of Wales

Re: Questions Questions!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:09 am

8-) Thanks to everyone for that input, very useful. I dropped in Sytner Cardiff yesterday as they are noted on the BMW site as one of the i centres. They had a lovely little corner of the showroom put over to the i3 with some wall chargers and info and pictures and lots of expensive looking computer screens around snazzy desks. I got in the car and looked in the boot and kicked the tyres etc as one does when looking at a car.

Now normally, by this point I would have three sales people fighting for my business. In this case, not one. Maybe the i3 man was the guy I saw waving someone off on what looked like a test drive outside. Anyway, nobody else troubled me and I left, which in one way was good as I can't stand pushy sales people but in another it left me wondering about the comments I've read regarding knowledge and / or willingness to try to sell these cars.

First impressions - it felt really comfortable to sit in and suited my driving position. It felt like a nice space to be in. It is a bit quirky and I can imagine some of my petrol head friends having apoplexy when they saw it. Boot looks a tad small with that high floor but since I'm gonna have a 4x4 backup (used and already owned) parked on maintenance charge in the garage for very long trips, large loads and adverse weather, I don't suppose that's an issue. :? Pause for howls of dissent from green lobby :?

I'm kinda 75% down the road to being a full member of the club I think, we'll see what happens next few days.

PS the DVLA form to remove my cherished plate was posted today 8-)

terminus
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:08 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Questions Questions!

Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:39 am

I am in the UK and ordered an i3 REx on "Day One" - May 9th. I was given an "estimated" delivery date of end July, though I doubt that, really.
I have a bit of experience of hybrids as I have owned a Vauxhall Ampera for 18 months. Having always had Golf-sized hatchbacks previously I have found it a bit of a battleship to park, especially reversing - even with the rear camera.
It has a summer time E range of >40 miles and >30 miles in winter, which is fine for most of my drives, which are just potterings around locally. There is another 330 miles or so on a full tank of petrol and with a 1.4 litre engine it feels very quiet and unstressed in this mode, which I have to exploit every couple of months when I need to do a longish journey (320 miles round trip).
I am expecting the 94Ah i3 should give over 100 miles easily on battery (I hope); and it just had too tempting a spec. to resist - especially being more compact. I am ordering all the extras (except music subscription and ciggie lighter!) and am looking forward to the sunroof (much missed on the Ampera) and driving assistance, etc.
No doubt the little petrol engine in the i3 will be a bit screamy by comparison with the Ampera, and it is annoying that the fuel tank is so small (restricted because of US-Californian regulations, apparently).
I am still looking into getting the charge point installed. I don't need one for the Ampera, as max charging current is 10A and a full charge is OK overnight on Economy 7 (or daytime totally free on a sunny day from our solar panels!) The BMW chargepoint is a total rip-off. I would avoid. Even the more common ones are outrageously expensive, and the Govt. is getting ripped off with their £500 quid subsidy. After 1st July the requirement for metering and GPRS reporting of electricity usage is being dropped. That will mean that a chargepoint will simply consist of a circuit breaker, connector/lead and casing. That can't possibly cost more than £50 to manufacture, but I bet that even with the 75% Govt. subsidy we will be paying over 100 quid. It's the metaphorical "licence to print money"!
Nonetheless I am eagerly anticipating my new car (- just steeling myself for the "depreciation shock" on my relatively new Ampera).
On the general point of BEV vs. REx: I would never get a pure BEV until there are as many available charge points as there are vacant petrol pumps! Short of towing a trailer with a petrol-driven electric generator, when you run out of battery you really are "up the creek without a paddle". (Your 20000 mAh power bank for your iphone won't be a lot of use!) In extremis, at least if you finally run out of petrol you can call for a rescue for a jerry-can of fuel!

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