2 years BMW i3 – part 1

With manufactured in October 2013, and first registration on 11.11.2013 it is time for a little summary.

Since the i3 was a completely newly developed vehicle, I realized that buying one coud be a kind of adventure. In some ways it was, but sometimes other than expected. A failure of the vehicle did not exist in the two years and approximately 22,000 km. In the early days there were no problems at all.
The biggest change was the electric driving (mostly without braking, the ‚one-pedal-feeling‘) and to adapt to the range. In my ICE car the message to refuel appears at a remaining range between 80-100 km. The i3 had a range of 120 km, fully charged. The solution: Keep calm and know the route or plan it well.

The first problem arose in June 2014. The first warm days and the air conditioning has failed. This problem was to accompany me for a while. The main problem was a bug in the software. This was fixed relatively quickly, and the air conditioning worked again. However, not very long. The second failure of the air conditioning was solved by replacing the air compressor. Later in the year the reason for this failure was found: A raccoon with hunger. Unfortunately, this was not recognized by the BMW dealer, and there were a number of workshop visits necessary. A change of the BMW delar was the conclusion.

In October 2015, I have noticed a loss of oil in the rear area. The workshop has identified the air conditioning compressor as cause. The compressor was changed again – in total 3 times. Luckily these were all free actions. The air compressor is listed with cost of about 1900 €/2050 $.

What has to be mentioned:
– The lock of the rear passenger door has been replaced, the door didn’t open at the first attempt.
– The mechanism for the parking lock on the gearbox has been replaced, the parking position P didn’t work.
– The standard charger was exchanged (action of BMW, for me no defect was observed) – minor reworking (somme buffers at the rear seats), which were initiated by BMW and were carried out at a workshop stay without that I had a complaint.
– Various software updates, which have affected the charging capacity and the range calculation. With the latest version (mid-2015), the software has reached a good level.
– The timed charging for the use of off-peak does not work, i’m still wating for a solution from BMW.

Problems with the charging infrastructure, accessibility of charging points is a main concern. But this has little to do with the vehicle.

After I got used to the i3, i also got used to the range. At full speed on german autobahn (150 km/h – 93 mph), the range is about 90 km/55 mi. The i3 is really not made for this and it’s no fun. My ’normal‘ range is around 120-130 km (74-80 mi), with a maximum at about 180 km/111 mi.

What bothers:

I got used to the range, but not to the mismatching between current charging infrastructure and charging possibilities of the i3. The i3 can charge at AC with a maximum of 7.4 kW. For a full charge, this means about 3 hours. With a CCS quick charger that goes much faster, unfortunately, most charging stations in Germany are equipped with AC. It must either be built more rapid charger or charging possibilities of i3 have to get better.

Even with a functioning ac compressor the heating system has its own life. Sometimes cold air is produced even though the temperature has not changed. When it rains, and ECO PRO is selected, fogged windows are always a problem (a change into COMFORT has to be made)

The covers of the charging terminals (normal and rapid charging) are impractical. It’s carried over from a conventional ICE car. A simple cover with appropriate sealing would have been enough.

The front luggage compartment is a mess – it collects water, dust and leaves. From BMW there is a matching bag, this of course must be paid separately.

The choice of colors for the vehicle is poor and not varied – a little more courage is required.

Part of optional equipment is available only in packages and can be combined only with special colors or interiors.

In order to keep the base price slightly lower, some options are extra charged. But I think the heat pump, the rapid charging and the LED lights should belong to the series. Why a seat heater must be purchased in order to pre-heat the battery is likely to remain a mystery.

About drivability there is nothing negative to report. Unlike my previous vehicles, the seating position is unusually high. That’s something i had to get used to, but it has enormous advantages in apects of view. The low center of gravity (the batteries are installed in the underbody) allows an agile driving behavior, in spite of rather tall body. The narrow tires (155 front, 175 rear) have not been proven to be a disadvantage – okay, the i3 ist not a race car, but you are not underpowered or traffic obstruction.

Overall, I’m still very happy with the car and have not regretted the purchase in any way.

Rather, I would be delighted if the offer is further extended. An i5 with a size between 2er Coupe and 3 Series, 4 seats + enough storage space, a look futuristic look (like the i8) , 300 km real range, fast charging technology and a price below 50,000 € would be a step in the right direction.

In the second part, there are a few information about the cost of the past two years.

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