9 Wonderful Years of i3 Ownership!

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alohart

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2014
Messages
3,260
Location
Honolulu, HI
We bought our first i3 new in November, 2014. It replaced our 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV which was also a RWD BEV with about the same interior volume as our i3, but about 1 foot shorter due to a much shorter nose and about 20 miles less range. However, the i3 is much higher quality with a much more sophisticated suspension compared with the widened Japanese kei car EV conversion.

We bought our i3 near the end of the 2014 model year limiting our choices to what was available at BMW of Honolulu. I didn't want to pay for a REx system because I could drive completely around Oʻahu without recharging, Tera World trim because all-leather seats can be sticky in our warm, humid weather and their dark brown color made the interior feel too dark, metallic paint, 20" wheels, an HK entertainment system because we don't spend much time in a car, heated seats and battery pack because it's never cold in Honolulu, or DC fast charging because there were no CCS-1 DC fast chargers on Oʻahu at that time. I bought the i3 that met my requirements almost perfectly, an Arravani Grey Giga World BEV with the Technology & Driving Assistance package, DC fast charging, and Parking Assist which was the only way to get a reversing camera. Since purchasing our 2014 i3, 15 DC fast charging locations have opened, some with multiply chargers, so I am happy that our 2014 i3 included the DC fast charging option which we took advantage of on several occasions as the usable capacity of our battery pack decreased over time.

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When it became apparent that the usable capacity of our battery pack would likely not decrease enough for the battery pack to be replaced under warranty, I decided to replace our 2014 i3 after 7 years with a used 2019 or later i3 with options and packages identical to that of our 2014 i3. After I hadn't found such an i3 either in Hawaiʻi or on the West Coast after a year of searching, I asked IQAuto's InventoryCloud Buying Service to search for my ideal i3. IQAutos found a 2019 i3 at a West Coast auction house that matched our 2014 i3 except for its extra-cost Imperial Blue Metallic paint. It has the now optional heat pump which I don't need, but that's no big deal. Because it hadn't been detailed by IQAutos, I saved detailing costs which helped offset the shipping cost to Honolulu.

I had never purchased a used car that I hadn't inspected in person which was a bit scary. However, it was in great condition except for some curb rash on one wheel about which I was told before purchasing, a nasty cigarette smoke odor in the cabin, and a missing 12 V tire inflation pump. I treated the cabin twice with chlorine dioxide which has oxidized and eliminated the cigarette smoke odor. I transferred the inflation pump from our 2014 i3 and told its new owner where he could buy a used pump. I also swapped the 2014 CFRP trunk floor access panel with the 2019 aluminum version and the 2014 cargo floor carpet with its rubber hold-down straps with the 2019 version without straps. I considered but did not swap the 2014 center console cover with a wrist pad with its 2019 version without a wrist pad or the 2014 cargo net on the lower center dashboard panel with the 2019 version without a cargo net. I wanted to swap the lighter color 2014 Giga World (Lodge) interior and eucalyptus dashboard trim with the darker 2019 version and dark oak dashboard trim. However, I was concerned about problems that I might encounter keeping the seat heaters in the 2019 i3 but with 2014 seat covers and with swapping the door panels, center armrest, and rear seats, so I decided to keep the less attractive 2019 interior. The more than double actual range of our 2019 i3 makes up for any downsides to this replacement.

I had the roof of our 2019 i3 wrapped with vinyl whose color matches the Frozen Gray trim pretty well. This should protect the CFRP roof from UV degradation in our strong tropical sunlight as well as reflect some IR radiation (heat) from entering the cabin. I installed the Wokeby trunk extension and frunk sealing which are high-quality accessories that enhance an i3. I installed a 12 V system monitor to keep track of the health of the 12 V battery. This has already detected a failing 12 V battery which I replaced by the Ohmmu 12 V lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery for a Rivian truck. I modified the Ohmmu Tesla Model S screw-on SAE battery posts to fit properly on the Rivian battery. This battery's considerably lighter weight, greater usable capacity, more constant voltage as the charge level changes, and longer life expectancy justify its higher price for me.

I used the BimmerCode smartphone app to customize behaviors of both of our i3's so that they behave as I prefer (e.g., start in Eco Pro mode by default, eliminate all warnings, reminders, and sounds when starting, fold the side mirrors when locking the doors, unfold the side mirrors at 5 km/h, reassign the open hatch fob button to open frunk, display tire temperatures as well as pressures, set blinker count to 5, default ACC following distance to the nearest, enable climate control and cabin air circulation memories, enable AM radio, turn on LED's in exterior door handles when reversing). Although I don't drive at night on dark roads very often, I appreciate the adaptive LED headlights on our 2019 i3 that are included with the Tech & Driving Assist package. With BimmerCode, I have been able to enable their ability to turn individual LED high beam segments on and off to avoid dazzling drivers ahead while leaving the high beams on. This is disabled in U.S. i3's.

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If I could find a 2021 West Coast i3 Giga World BEV with the Technology & Driving Assistant package and Galvanic Gold Metallic paint in excellent condition at a fair price, a true unicorn, I would consider replacing our 2019 i3 to extend our i3 ownership even more.
 
I'm a fan of the various blues BMW offered, but luck of the draw my first was a grey i3. When I replaced the '17 with a '21, scarce availability put me back into a look-alike grey, which actually suited me just fine -- I still have family and neighbors who don't know it's not the same car, and I prefer to keep that thrifty image.

PS yes I did tell my wife! :)
 
That grey colour on an i3s would have looked amazing. With the black rims it would look incredible honestly. Love that color.
 
How funny that we’re both posting about happy years of ow er ship at the same time. Your username reminds me of my early posts in here.

All the best! P
 
Similar but different experience. We bought our first i3 Rex in August of 2014. Loved it. When we heard BMW was going to stop production we looked into buying a new one and to gain the longer legs (mileage). We ordered the i3S without Rex as we no longer needed the Rex with the improved mileage. Covid caused delay in production in Germany but we got it and traded in our 60,000+miles 2014 i3Rex for the new one. We continue to love our 2020 i3S. We didn't try to sell our 2014 because it needed the strut-covers replaced, tires, and a few other things that I can't remember... and was easier. Rear tires on the i3S wear out 2x faster than the front. I hear that is because the rear tires do the engine braking.

We haven't modified our i3 much at all. We did install a volkswagen trunk cover insert that folds up when the seat is up and down when flat. Friends made the logo that covers the volkswagon logo.

I'm really interested in the BimmerCode smartphone app. Where can I learn more about that?

Ed in San Diego
 

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Thank you Alohart. More decisions with 23 OBD Adapters to chose from.
Reduce the number of choices by finding the least expensive adapter that Amazon sells. The adapter doesn't need any fancy features. In 2017, I bought a Vgate iCar 2 OBD to WiFi adapter which still works perfectly with BimmerCode and Bimmerlink. The current model is a Vgate iCar 3 OBD to WiFi adapter which isn't included in the BimmerCode list of adapters. However, that just means that it hasn't been verified to work by the BimmerCode developer, not that it wouldn't work.
 
alohart –

I just want to post here with thanks for your years of posting.

You've contributed so much knowledge here for the past decade and I'm very thankful for you having done so.
 
alohart –

I just want to post here with thanks for your years of posting.

You've contributed so much knowledge here for the past decade and I'm very thankful for you having done so.
Thanks, frictioncircle! Over almost a decade, I have learned about everything I know about i3's from this and other i3 groups. It has been a pleasure to pass on what I have learned just as many others have done.
 
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