The expense discussed above is about $500-600 in CA, USA if you ask the dealer to do it. But you can do it on your own. Under $200 for the battery + $50 or so for the app/OBD2 reader to register the new battery, and some tools. It's detailed out pretty well in my videos but feel free to comment there and I'll try my best to help if you have further questions.
A few days ago I read this string and replaced the 12 volt on my wife's 2014 I3. It still did not start so had it towed to dealership thinking maybe its a simple issue of the battery needing to be registered to the vehicle. Last night after they spent 2 days trying to diagnose it they got back with me with a $7638 estimate to repair. I am going to dealership after posting this to discuss this with the GM. We have not had a good experience with this purchase. We bought it new in 2014, it was the first one ordered in Florida and has 69k miles. Within the first year the main battery went out 3x and they replaced it for free as a warranty issue. The main battery has an 8yr/100k warranty. Before the 5yr warranty expired the range extender started to have problems and dealership would peddle with it and it would go and come back to working. Then it finally went out right after warranty expired. They quoted us $5500 to repair it. Then after discussing the matter several months later the manager said he got the parts from BMW to fix it however it would cost us $1500 in labor with no guarantee that it completely fix the problem. Now within 3 months of that conversation we got last night's estimate of $7638 which does not include range extender fix. Last night's estimate is for: Base Control Unit $2977.99, Safety Box $952.99, Cover for High Voltage $117.99, Seal screw $7.99, Warning Sticker $6.99, and $24.75 for anti-freeze. I don't understand why the labor is so high if its just plugging together electrical parts! I am not even sure that they even know if what they quoted us is the real problem since it took them so long to diagnose and because of what they said previously about the range extender fix. Also, this dealership has not sold many I3's so they do not work on them often.
"Additional Service Recommendations" is header for another page and it states technician found "Battery Switch: Hi Voltage Contact Switch Stuck" requires immediate attention....I guess maybe this is what is the actual diagnosis is. I will ask them to explain in detail today.
Yeah this sucks. I was so proud of my wife when she researched the EV's over 6 yrs ago and she contacted BMW and ordered her I3 as soon as BMW allowed people to order them....even the dealership was excited because she was the first one in Florida to order one and we live in tiny Gainesville.
Do you guys have any advice? These cars lose tremendous value which we didn't expect and thought it would hold value comparable to Tesla's. Wife is out of town this weekend, so hopefully I can get a better repair deal, consider trade in on a used hybrid, or ask Elon Musk if he can fix it cheaper and/or blast it into space during the next SpaceX launch. Either way I would like to give her better or slightly better news.
Thank you for your advice!
I would have the car towed back home. Then check the HV disconnect switch. They can be a little finicky getting set back on, from the disconnect, as there is a locking tab that must be released before the switch will actually move back in place fully. If that doesn't fix the issue, consult a different BMW dealer. In my area there are three - one that is excellent with i3s, one just so-so, and the last couldn't spell i3 if you printed it on a 30" by 20" poster 6 inches high for them to copy from. Sounds like your dealer is the last one. Jacksonville has two BMW Dealers, and I think an AAA membership gets you three free tows a year of some distance (100 - 200 miles) - worth checking what AAA offers if you need the car taken to Jacksonville.
FYI - on an i3 all battery registration does is record the date of the battery swap in the system, nothing more. Many people have changed out their i3 12v without registering it and had no problems.
If the switch is actually 'on', try just plugging the car in to charge overnight. as sometimes takes a while for the car's computers to reset after a battery swap. You can also get a phone AP called BimmerLink, which, with a blue-tooth ODB dongle to plug into the cars ODB port, will let you see any error codes the car is throwing, and clear them yourself. One guy had to clear errors several times, to help reset the cars computers back to normal after his battery swap.
Supposedly, they are working on something with corporate. We were suppose to hear something about 8-9 days ago after I had what seemed to be a good conversation with the dealership GM after I stopped by 12 days ago to discuss the matter. I am going to email them today. Maybe it got stolen