qsch
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:04 pm

Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:12 pm

Hi, I live on a small Caribbean island and the i3 really seems like it could be good to import. The island is only 9 miles long by 3 miles wide and one rarely drives more than 5 - 10 minutes, maximum 15 minutes (the longest one can take to the end of the island). Two things which worry me however are the hilly inclines (although usually not more than 4 - 5 minutes) and also the fact that the roads are not as good as they are in Europe. They have some small potholes (like on some island in Greece) and speed bumps. I think this vehicle could work great if it can handle inclines as one rarely drives more than 5 - 10 miles per day at a maximum but it depends on whether it can handle the conditions. Thanks and regards PS: The voltage there is 220 which could be good for charging and I can add various panels to help with the electric supply to my grid, hence reducing costs.

Fisher99
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:00 pm

Hills won't be a problem, nor will range on that small island. As for the potholes, the i3 is very agile, with quick steering making avoiding potholes fairly easy, but you might want to avoid getting the 20" wheels.

My bigger concern would be "where are you going to get it worked on if/when it has problems?".

qsch
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:04 pm

Re: Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:52 am

Thanks a lot for your help. I am not sure what kind of issues the i3 could potentially have. Your question also crossed my mind, fact is there are mechanics which are a bit more mechanically proficient than technical. There are no dealers on our islands, but there are other high end vehicles. Parts are usually sourced from the US or Europe. The question would be what type of magnitude problems would an i3 have? Can a standard mechanic fix this or would it have to be through a dealer?

alohart
Posts: 1850
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:18 am

qsch wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:52 am
The question would be what type of magnitude problems would an i3 have?
It's a crap shoot. Should one get unlucky, the A/C compressor, one of the electronic modules, a motor mount, etc., could fail. In these cases, a repair could costs thousands of dollars, and a mechanic who's not certified to repair an i3 would likely be unable to complete such a repair.

For almost 5 years, I've owned a 2014 i3 BEV on a small tropical island, although not as small as yours. It's had a defective electronic module and a defective motor mount bolt replaced under warranty by a BMW dealer on the island. The software that controls the deployment of the driver's airbag was updated to reduce potential injury to a small driver not using a seatbelt.

I wouldn't want to risk owning an i3 where no BMW dealer exists.
Aloha,
Art

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

jadnashuanh
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:23 pm

The basic BEV i3 is pretty simple and reliable from an overall standpoint, but while electronics are usually pretty reliable, diagnosing them if they do fail takes some knowledge. The basic drivetrain as in suspension, brakes, etc. is pretty straightforward. The chassis isn't likely be be impacted with rust as most of it is aluminum, CFRP, or plastics. After a few infant mortality issues (annoying, not deadlining the vehicle), mine has been reliable. Anything mechanical has potential gotchas. The odds are you won't have any problems. IF you do, it could deadline the car for a long time and might require shipping it somewhere to be repaired, or at the minimum, waiting for parts to show up. BMW parts tend to be expensive (there are some exceptions), but reliable.

Depends on what your tolerance for the car being offline for awhile, if it does fail.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

qsch
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:04 pm

Re: Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:15 am

Thanks so much both of you. That is some really useful info. It seems that the basic design is relatively straightforward and the main issue is if there is something more serious. Obviously there is a risk for this to happen with any vehicle. Generally there are guys on the main island who could problem solve issues if there is a technical problem. Fact is once there is a serious problem, regardless of what type of vehicle one has, one would have to import parts from abroad, which people here are accustomed doing. It just would not make sense to export the vehicle, even for imports all vehicles are 140% duty on cost and freight. The only problem is if it's too technical to fix by anyone other than a dealer, or the wrong part is ordered ie. if it is an extremely complex vehicle.

Fisher99
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:05 am

I think if I lived on that small island with less than great pavement I'd be driving a Jeep Wrangler from the 60's-70's era. Back when the engines had carburetors, distributors, points, and condensers. If the car quit running you could look into the carburetor while moving the accelerator pump and see if it was squirting fuel into the carb. If not you had a fuel flow problem (probably out of gas). If you had gas, then you popped the top off the distributor and checked the points. If you carried a spare set of points and condenser you could swap them out and be back on the road in 15 minutes. Ah, the simpler life... :D

Having said that, i am really loving my i3. Just don't know if I'd own one with no dealer within a reasonable distance. My dealer is an hour away and even that makes me a tiny bit nervous.

qsch
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:04 pm

Re: Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:38 am

Fisher99 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:05 am
I think if I lived on that small island with less than great pavement I'd be driving a Jeep Wrangler from the 60's-70's era. Back when the engines had carburetors, distributors, points, and condensers. If the car quit running you could look into the carburetor while moving the accelerator pump and see if it was squirting fuel into the carb. If not you had a fuel flow problem (probably out of gas). If you had gas, then you popped the top off the distributor and checked the points. If you carried a spare set of points and condenser you could swap them out and be back on the road in 15 minutes. Ah, the simpler life... :D

Having said that, i am really loving my i3. Just don't know if I'd own one with no dealer within a reasonable distance. My dealer is an hour away and even that makes me a tiny bit nervous.
Hi, thats funny and good points. I actually have two friends from the States who have old 70's and 80's wranglers there. They always seem to have issues, especially the fuel pump, and the body is not great for salt air. I swear they change the fuel pump every year or two. Lots of rotten rusty spots and constant maintenance needed. I on the other hand had a Series 3 Lightweight Landrover and never had issues for many years (let alone rust). Now I drive a 1950 Series 1 Landrover, but I need something contemporary for clients (I run a real estate biz), and moving around the island quickly and comfortably. I will use the Series if I am going to the beach with family, on Sundays, or off the beaten track. Funny for you to mention those jeeps as I know them very well! The i3 striked me due to the fact it is different and electric and I can power it myself through my PV system. It also looks quite nice and I believe there are not many things body parts which could deteriorate due to salt air.

alohart
Posts: 1850
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:37 pm

qsch wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:38 am
Now I drive a 1950 Series 1 Landrover, but I need something contemporary for clients (I run a real estate biz), and moving around the island quickly and comfortably.
Unless you never need to transport more than 1 client, an i3 would not be ideal with its narrow suicide rear doors that cannot be opened unless the front door on its side is open. Anyone sitting in the front seat must remove his/her seatbelt before the rear door is opened. There are no A/C vents in the rear and the rear windows cannot be opened, so the rear can become uncomfortably warm in warm weather.

I always drive with the rear seats folded down to create a nice, usable cargo area. I rarely carry rear seat passengers because of the inconvenience of ingress and egress, especially when parked next to a vehicle or wall.
Aloha,
Art

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

jadnashuanh
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Is an i3 right for me? For small Caribbean island?

Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:17 pm

IF you can stop where you can open both doors fully, getting in or out of the rear on the i3 isn't really a big issue to me...four adults can sit in the car.

IF the roads aren't great, you definitely do not want one with the 20" wheels, though.

There are few regular maintenance tasks on the BEV i3...flush the brake fluid every 24-months and change the cabin air filter. Pretty much everything else is just visual checks to make sure something else isn't going, like tires, brakes, etc. With the sun there, your windshield wiper blades may not last all that long, and they are a weird size (three different ones), so you might want to keep a spare set around.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

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