gmoggo
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2022 12:34 pm

2014 battery range issue

hi,

first time posting: I was gifted a 2014 i3 (base model) with a 14.5kWh battery, my teenage son drives it but the range is limited to about 45-50 miles,

the car has 30K miles on it and everything else works great, the issue is simply the range,

I am looking for suggestions on how to get a few more miles out of it: should I look into getting a battery that fares better? I have also heard of software updates that may add a few miles to the range, is that so?

I'm a complete novice to electric cars so bear with me and excuse the naive questions.

Thanks in advance,

G
alohart
Posts: 2561
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: 2014 battery range issue

Many early i3 owners are experiencing reduced actual range, especially in the U.S. The reason for the reduced range could be degraded battery cells, a battery management system (BMS) that is reducing the usable battery pack capacity to reduce its degradation rate and minimize the number of battery pack capacity warranty claims, or both. Replacing the battery pack would be so expensive that replacing your 2014 i3 with a 2017 i3 with a higher capacity battery pack might be less expensive. The higher capacity battery packs in 2017 and later i3's don't seem to be losing usable capacity nearly as much as many earlier battery packs.

Unless the in-service date of your i3 is quite early, its battery pack warranty likely hasn't expired. It might be worth a few hundred dollars to have a BMW dealer test the battery pack capacity to determine whether its usable capacity has decreased by more than 30% which would trigger the battery pack warranty. However, few battery packs have apparently been replaced under warranty because the system software update and capacity test frequently increase the usable capacity enough that the capacity test "passes" and no warranty replacement occurs. The actual range of your i3 might increase a bit as a result even if its battery pack isn't replaced.

A more radical approach would be to initialize the BMS using an older version of BMW's maintenance software, ISTA+. Unauthorized copies of ISTA+ could be downloaded from the Internet, installed on a Windows PC, and connected to an i3's OBD port with a cable (e.g., Amazon). If the BMS is responsible for much of the range loss, initializing it could increase actual range considerably. I have the ISTA+ software but don't plan to initialize the BMS of our 2014 i3 until after its battery pack warranty expires for fear that doing so might void the warranty.
Aloha,
Art

2019 BMW i3 Imperial Blue Metallic, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Heat Pump, 428 Wheels
[SOLD!] 2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging
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3pete
Posts: 206
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:03 pm

Re: 2014 battery range issue

gmoggo wrote: Sun Apr 10, 2022 10:49 am I am looking for suggestions on how to get a few more miles out of it
Just to level-set expectations, I would ask: "why?" and "how many more miles?"

If you're trying to get 4-5 more miles, try eco pro + mode. If you're trying to get 15-20 more miles, realistically you need a different car.

As to the "why": returning home with 5-10 miles range in a gas car is nerve-wracking and leaves a hassle for the next trip to fill up again. On an EV, any trip ending above 0 range is a successful trip (as long as you charge at home). It can take a while to flip that mindset that 10 miles of range at end of the trip is "plenty".
alohart
Posts: 2561
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: 2014 battery range issue

On 13 April, I tried to reply to your private message, but it remains in my Outbox. Nothing I have tried has resulted in it being sent. Might your Inbox be full?

This is what I tried to send:
Your 2014 i3 must have been one of the first sold in the U.S. if its battery pack warranty has expired. Did any dealer tell you your i3's in-service date which is when the warranty countdown begins?

Almost since buying our i3 in November, 2014, I've run the tire inflation pressure at 10 psi over the recommended pressure (43F/51R). This reduces rolling resistance enough to increase actual range a bit but not 10-15 miles. I haven't noticed any unusual tire wear, but the ride is a bit rougher. The risk of wheel or tire damage when running over a sharp-edged pothole is probably reduced a bit as well.

If I still own our i3 after its warranty expires in November, I would try to initialize the BMS using ISTA+. Apparently, newer ISTA+ versions don't support initializing an i3's BMS. I downloaded ISTA+ 4.10 a couple of years ago which is supposed to be able to initialize an i3's BMS. However, I haven't run it yet because I don't have a Windows laptop or the OBD to Ethernet cable required to connect a laptop to an i3. I have instructions for installing and using ISTA+ to initialize the BMS, so I think that I could do it if I had a Windows laptop.

How much additional range an i3 would have after its BMS has been initialized depends on how degraded its battery cells are. Several European i3 owners have reported their range returning to what it was when their i3's were new, but others have reported more modest improvements. I think it's worth a try.
Aloha,
Art

2019 BMW i3 Imperial Blue Metallic, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Heat Pump, 428 Wheels
[SOLD!] 2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging
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eNate
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: 2014 battery range issue

alohart wrote: Sun May 08, 2022 3:32 pm Aloha,
Art
2019 BMW i3 Imperial Blue Metallic, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Heat Pump, 428 Wheels
[FOR SALE] 2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging
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Hey Art, congrats! I hope this means you'll be sticking around, and it looks like this is another option to significantly increasing the range of a 2014! :D
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alohart
Posts: 2561
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: 2014 battery range issue

eNate wrote: Sun May 08, 2022 3:40 pm
alohart wrote: Sun May 08, 2022 3:32 pm Aloha,
Art
2019 BMW i3 Imperial Blue Metallic, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Heat Pump, 428 Wheels
[FOR SALE] 2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging
JuiceBox EVSE
Hey Art, congrats! I hope this means you'll be sticking around, and it looks like this is another option to significantly increasing the range of a 2014! :D
Thanks! I didn't have the option of driving a new 2021 i3 from San Antonio to Honolulu, but that's OK. Too bad the Forever Edition, or whatever's it's called, was never available in the U.S. Europeans get all the fun stuff.

Yeah, I'm not going anywhere. Hopefully, our 2014 is going to a good home soon. I fully charged our 2014 yesterday after my wife had driven it ~20 miles from the docks, probably without A/C since it was cool and cloudy. The estimated EcoPro range was 82 miles. That's certainly plenty for anyone who wants to replace a gas guzzler commuter car with a nice EV here where commuting distances can't be very far (50 miles to the opposite corner of the island from this corner). We never have to worry about winter range reduction. Probably should have sold it before auto loan rates climbed, but I didn't have a replacement at that time.

Charged the 2019 to 94% yesterday after a similar 20-mile drive. The My BMW app estimated range is 176 miles, or 187 miles at 100%. Wow! Will never need to charge en route again. This range increase is offset by a wallet contents decrease, but that's OK.
Aloha,
Art

2019 BMW i3 Imperial Blue Metallic, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Heat Pump, 428 Wheels
[SOLD!] 2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging
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frictioncircle
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: 2014 battery range issue

eNate wrote: Sun May 08, 2022 3:40 pm Hey Art, congrats! I hope this means you'll be sticking around, and it looks like this is another option to significantly increasing the range of a 2014! :D

Agreed, glad to see you've got a new BEV to keep you on the board, alohart!
alohart
Posts: 2561
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: 2014 battery range issue

gmoggo, sending you a private message failed again. The message remains in my Outbox and is never sent. Is your Inbox full?
gmoggo wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 4:01 pmThank you for the replies you posted for my issue: I am totally out of warranties and am considering initializing the BMS using an older version of the ISTA+

I have no idea how to do this, is there a youtube video or a DYI site you recommend that would highlight the steps to take and also where to download the software from?
I've never used ISTA+, but I downloaded it in 2018 in case I needed to use it. I am uploading it to my Mega.nz account so that I can provide a download link to you. The download link is https://mega.nz/folder/iwUUlTTR#ZFtJJNFHWSYrPfcJENvILg. It is huge at over 14 GB, so your download could take ~2 hours.

Most of the files are compressed, so when installed, ISTA+ would require even more space. I don't have a Windows laptop, so I have never installed it. I don't use Windows, so I couldn't provide any installation assistance.

In the "ISTA+ 4.10 folder" is an "Instructions" folder containing an ISTA+ guide and 2 files that describe the battery initialization process. I think that I could perform the initialization successfully following the instructions in these files.

Good luck!

Although I addressed this message to gmoggo, anyone who wants the older ISTA+ version that apparently supports BMS initialization could download it using my Mega.nz link. However, I can't guarantee that this link will remain valid, so grab it while you can.
Aloha,
Art

2019 BMW i3 Imperial Blue Metallic, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Heat Pump, 428 Wheels
[SOLD!] 2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging
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agzand
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:00 pm

Re: 2014 battery range issue

Art:

Congrats on the new i3! It should be a fun car for Hawaii's narrow roads. Just curious, how is the inventory in Hawaii? Was it a popular car? Are they importing used i3s from other states?

Thanks,
alohart
Posts: 2561
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: 2014 battery range issue

agzand wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 11:39 amCongrats on the new i3! It should be a fun car for Hawaii's narrow roads. Just curious, how is the inventory in Hawaii? Was it a popular car? Are they importing used i3s from other states?
Thanks! So happy to have an i3 with a Batt. Kapa. max value of 39.1 kWh rather than 14.7 kWh, and with an estimated EcoPro range of ~200 miles rather than ~80 miles. We can drive round-trip anywhere we want without having to charge en route.

Oahu's roads aren't so narrow. This is more of a typical urban-suburban (megacity :D ) driving environment.

I think i3 sales were pretty good on Oahu. It's really an ideal short-range EV environment (low average speeds, no cold weather). However, BMW of Honolulu seems to have ordered a high percentage of REx models which really are a waste when the farthest distance across the island is ~50 miles.

I imported a used i3 from California because no 2019 or later Giga BEV's with the Tech package have been available here for the year or so that I've been looking. The dealer told me that most current owners and lessees are choosing to keep their i3's.
Aloha,
Art

2019 BMW i3 Imperial Blue Metallic, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Heat Pump, 428 Wheels
[SOLD!] 2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging
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