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BMW i3 I01 (2014 - Current)
The BMW i3 and BMW i8 are the first two cars launch under BMW's new sub brand BMW i. The i3 is an all carbon fiber, all electric vehicle meant for urban mobility.

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  #1  
Old 05-09-2017, 11:19 AM
alext977 alext977 is offline
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Mein Auto: '13 MB S350, '12 Passat
Used i3 for retired parent

So here's the situation

- Mother is retired and lives in one of those 55+ retirement communities in the California Bay Area, but still needs a car to do some day-to-day driving for things like groceries, Costco, post office, visit the clubhouse to play bridge, golf, occasional nearby medical appointments (basically all the things older people do)
- I've measured her weekly mileage to be a whopping : 11.5 miles/week, with a high of 28 miles/week, and a low of 1.2 miles/week.
- Many of her neighbors have glorified golf-carts (some of which I don't think are electric) to get around the community, but you can't really take these outside the community
- She currently drives a '12 Passat, and it's an OK car, but I fear the numerous short trips aren't great for it (i've already replaced the battery twice)
- She absolutely HATES going to the gas station to get gas.
- She is able to use an iPad, iPhone, etc. without very much trouble so I think she'd be ok for learning the nuances of the i3.

Here are questions
- Has anyone purchased an i3 for their older parents that no longer drive very much?
- With the weekly mileage she travels, do I even need to get an L2 charger?
- I notice that the prices even for CPO i3s vary dramatically. There are ones that are priced 7-10k more, for a vehicle that has more mileage than others. Could this be due to the validity of the California Bay-Area Clean Air sticker on the vehicle? (This obviously doesn't matter to me in this situation).

Thanks for answering my questions!

Last edited by alext977; 05-09-2017 at 11:20 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-09-2017, 05:46 PM
Tirpitz Tirpitz is offline
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I'm trying to talk my mom into one.

With the milage you are reporting your mom could get by with the included Level 1 charger. It is slow though- does she have a spot she can plug it in and keep it plugged in for 8-10 hours? The cord is not hugely long either.

The i3 prices are really over all over the map. It is a car that people don't have a firm grasp on how to price. But in general you should pay for a car with one or both of the two packages (Parking or Technology) and more for a car with one of the more premium interiors (Giga or Tera).

If you can get a BEV not a REX. The REX cars have more stuff than can go wrong and your mom does not need the extra range. CPO is preferred because if something does go wonky only a BMW dealer is going to be able to fix it. Also aim for the 19" wheels. The 20" ones are just too thin and suffer from frequent damage due to potholes and road debris.
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Old 05-09-2017, 08:18 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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I'm retired, and I specifically bought the i3 because all of the short trips on my other car (which I kept for longer trips) just didn't like them. I had the same concerns about the battery, oil contamination from all of the cold starts and short trips, muffler, etc. None of those things are an issue with the i3. I find it great for over 90% of my driving, and it doesn't sound like your mother needs something to take on long trips. If she does need to go somewhere, I'd guess she'd probably fly or go with someone. At the amount of driving, it wouldn't take very long, even with the L1 EVSE that comes with it, to recharge it to full. One thing that you won't be able to do is set a departure time, as the L1 unit essentially doesn't have enough power. You can use the app to precondition the cabin, though, and wouldn't be a major issue on available range.
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Old 05-10-2017, 11:52 AM
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bocabimmer bocabimmer is offline
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Perfect car for the situation. Nothing wrong with using a level one charger.


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2013 X5 35i
2014 i3 BEV
2007 328i (E92) - BMW Performance exhaust, short shift kit, handbrake and steering wheel trim - CDV delete - CREE LED corona rings - LED license plate lights
2006 325i (E90) - SOLD - projector headlights, blackline taillights - satin grilles - shadowline trim - style 338 wheels
2000 ML430 - SOLD - heavily modded, I miss that truck
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  #5  
Old 05-10-2017, 01:00 PM
2014_F15 2014_F15 is offline
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Used i3 for retired parent

I got my parents into a REX in Jan '16 and they love it so far. I went with the REX just to avoid any incidents with getting stranded and they have used the REX a couple of times on trips where they would not have had the range otherwise. For me, it was just cheap insurance. They live in Rossmoor and the only issue with having an EV there is that the electrical infrastructure in their building is not really up to supporting L2 charging. That said, they have not had any issues with L1 charging overnight and they constantly tell me how much they love the car.


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Last edited by 2014_F15; 05-10-2017 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:41 PM
alext977 alext977 is offline
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Thank you for all the advice and feedback. Especially about looking for one with 19" vs 20" wheels. I'll also definitely look for one with Technology & Park Assist Package, and after examining the trim levels, a Giga model would be ideal.

Fortunately the garage where it would be parked is a private one with a 120v outlet nearby for the L1 EVSE. The main electric subpanel is right there too if I should need to get an outlet for an L2 EVSE.

Timeline right now is to start looking in early July - maybe a few more 2015 lease returns will show up around then. Plan is to swap the cars (since the Passat is titled to me) while mother is away for 20 days visiting other relatives... and act like nothing has happened. ;-)


-Alex

Last edited by alext977; 05-11-2017 at 02:48 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-15-2017, 07:17 PM
Davegsu Davegsu is offline
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My mother is 72 and she just got her i3 BEV earlier this year. She loves it and I'm considering one myself.


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Old 05-16-2017, 11:37 AM
alext977 alext977 is offline
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Thanks! I guess the only part I'm worried about is the strong regen. Probably not a show stopper, but is it still super strong in the default Comfort mode?
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Old 05-16-2017, 04:51 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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It took me all of maybe 30-minutes of driving the i3 to learn how to drive it smoothly. If you've never driven it, it's a little hard to picture. When going a steady speed, you're holding your foot in a certain position. To slow down, you back off a little. An electric motor normally doesn't have much of any resistance to freewheeling, but, it can be turned into a generator, which will. How much resistance (i.e. braking) depends on how much you back off. At the constant speed point, you're neither accelerating or decelerating...the more you back off, the more the generator creates resistance, and you will slow down more than from just the freewheeling effect...i.e., again, it will feel like you're braking. You can feather the pedal to allow it to coast at any speed, or increase the resistance (braking) to max possible just by releasing the pedal all of the way. Once you get the hang of it, you really never have to use the actual brake pedal unless the light changes and you're not prepared, or someone cuts in front of you, or some other emergency situation. This is actually safer, since unlike an ICE, as soon as you release the go pedal, you're already significantly starting to slow down, and then when you get on the brakes, you can effect a stop very quickly. Also, once you reach a certain regenerative braking induced deceleration level, the computer will turn on the brake lights, just like it would and does if you actually press on the brake pedal. SO, once you reach a certain braking level, however it is initiated, the car's brake lights will alert those behind you, allowing one-pedal driving to be safe.

Does anyone know if any other EV automatically can turn on their brake lights strictly because of regen? I'd not read about any others, which gives you an idea about how effective the i3's regen is. IMHO, having to manually turn it on or off is an unnecessary complication. BMW did spend a lot of time thinking about this.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:13 PM
the_mace the_mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadnashuanh View Post

Does anyone know if any other EV automatically can turn on their brake lights strictly because of regen? I'd not read about any others, which gives you an idea about how effective the i3's regen is. IMHO, having to manually turn it on or off is an unnecessary complication. BMW did spend a lot of time thinking about this.
The Teslas (Model S and X at least, not sure on the Roadster) do this. They have 2 regen modes, standard and low. Most people use standard which can pretty much slow you to a complete stop.
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:12 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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I know other EVs can slow you to a stop with regen, but the question was if they automatically turn on their brake lights once the deceleration reaches a point where it's prudent. IT was not clear if that is the case on the Teslas. The i3 definitely illuminates the brake lights by itself as a result of regen originated deceleration (or, if it uses the friction brakes).
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Old 05-18-2017, 05:25 PM
the_mace the_mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadnashuanh View Post
I know other EVs can slow you to a stop with regen, but the question was if they automatically turn on their brake lights once the deceleration reaches a point where it's prudent. IT was not clear if that is the case on the Teslas. The i3 definitely illuminates the brake lights by itself as a result of regen originated deceleration (or, if it uses the friction brakes).
Sorry if I wasnt clear. The Tesla does light its brake lights when regen kicks in "enough". It depends on the rate of slowing. For those with the older Model S's the fake car on the dash also lights its brake lights too.
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2017, 02:43 PM
alext977 alext977 is offline
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To alleviate my concerns - I went ahead and did a 3 day extended test drive of an i3, from my local BMW Centre, and indeed, as others have said it's not a big deal at all. Even in Eco Pro mode, the regen braking is easily controlled, and there wasn't really much of a learning curve beyond the first 2 minutes of stop and go driving. Thanks again to all who contributed!
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