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BMW i3 / i8 / ActiveE
Are you excited about the upcoming BMW i3 or i8? Interested in learning more about the BMW ActiveE? This is the place for you!

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  #1  
Old 07-05-2014, 09:49 AM
lencap lencap is offline
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Almost Pulled the Trigger - But Didn't

why i didn't buy a BMW i3

I've struggled with purchasing the i3. I had a Leaf and found the EV drivetrain experience far more engaging than I expected. While I liked the experience the Leaf isn't an "all new" car like the i3, it's underpinnings are the Nissan Versa - a car built to a price point which seemed to cheapen the entire Leaf experience for me.

The i3 is clearly in a different league, and while I do want one the economics don't seem to work. First BMW labeled the new car as a 2014 model - so in a few short months the identical car will be available, but with the all important model designation of 2015.

Ordinarily that wouldn't be such a big factor, but given the ridiculously low residual values that BMW is placing on the i3 depreciation is indeed a big factor. BMW's lease residual shows a 21% retained value after 5 years - truly a horrible number. Add to that BMW's refusal to pass along the full $7,500 tax credit that the Nissan Leaf and Smart E Cars do, and it's hard to justify a monthly lease approaching $700 for the i3. This is especially true when the Leaf can be had for roughly $200/month with $2,000 down or less. The Smart e Car is $139/month with $2,000 down.

Yes, the i3 is a far better vehicle than either the Leaf or the Smart car, but it isn't worth $600 a month more, at least to me. Add to that the problem of 2014/2015 model year depreciation, and what appears to be a large inventory of i3 cars nationwide (614 i3s offered on cars.com as of this writing) and I think the best course for me is to wait until at least 2015 to decide.

But then again I'll be one year closer to Tesla's supposed 150-200 mile range "common car" priced at $35,000 or so. Hard to see how the i3 holds resale value in that comparison. Maybe was trying to tell us something with their low residual values - even they realize that the car is a "work in progress" and will likely see significant changes in the next few years. I don't mind being an early adaptor, but the cost of this experiment seems excessively tilted to the consumer. Perhaps if BMW absorbed more of the costs (higher residual values, more attractive leases) I'd be more aggressive in buying one.

So, for now, the car is a delight, and I like it, but I don't have to have it, and BMW hasn't done very much to entice me into buying one now. I do like the car, and strongly favored buying one, but the economics have to work, and right now they don't.

Last edited by tim330i; 07-08-2014 at 12:48 PM. Reason: changes for main page feature
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  #2  
Old 07-05-2014, 11:21 AM
ktagly2 ktagly2 is offline
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Add to that BMW's refusal to pass along the full $7,500 tax credit that the Nissan Leaf and Smart E Cars do, and it's hard to justify a monthly lease approaching $700 for the i3

People can get up to $7500 as a tax credit when they purchase the car. That's between them and the IRS. The tax credit can ONLY go to the person with whom the car is registered under. When corporations purchase the car, the IRS gives them up to $4800. When you lease the car through BMW, they do pass on the $4800 in the form of a line item rebate since they tecnically own the vehicle.
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  #3  
Old 07-05-2014, 11:32 AM
cblandin cblandin is offline
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Agree 100%. As a Volt owner, I'm in the same spot. After 24 months in the Volt, I really like it BUT am looking for a sportier replacement. While I like the i3, and can get past the awkward looks, the pricing is just painful compared to its competition. Who knew BMW, the king of lessors would have no great lease deals. Fortunately, I have 12 months left on my Volt lease and by then I suspect BMW will have better deals AND Volt 2.0 will also be on the verge of coming out (heck a quicker and better handling Volt SS would be compelling for me).
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:24 PM
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bredi bredi is online now
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I'm starting to think the i3 was never intended to be a success.
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  #5  
Old 07-07-2014, 10:44 AM
Carac Carac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lencap View Post
The i3 is clearly in a different league, and while I do want one the economics don't seem to work. First BMW labeled the new car as a 2014 model - so in a few short months the identical car will be available, but with the all important model designation of 2015.
Imagine finding out the $135k plug in hybrid you had been eagerly awaiting is only available with a $10k interior package where $7-8k of it is going to floor mats/cargo cover, black gear knob, and door sills. That the size of the battery only gives you a ~$3.7k rebate and that your car will be a 2014, even though you're taking delivery in Sept/Oct. 2014. There's a lot of "just the tip" going around with the "i" brand.
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  #6  
Old 07-07-2014, 12:33 PM
drlonline drlonline is offline
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I've also been disappointed to find out the initial i8's are considered MY2014. I have to wonder if part of BMW's thinking was that they could raise the price for the soon to come MY2015 if the demand seems to support a higher price point.
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  #7  
Old 07-07-2014, 01:13 PM
Carac Carac is offline
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Originally Posted by drlonline View Post
I've also been disappointed to find out the initial i8's are considered MY2014. I have to wonder if part of BMW's thinking was that they could raise the price for the soon to come MY2015 if the demand seems to support a higher price point.
It's what Mercedes did with the SLS, increasing the 2012 price $7k over the 2011, only thing that changed was they added blind spot detection. Nissan has continuously increased the GT-R price from $69k in 2008 to $76.8 in 2009, all the way to $101k in 2014. Even the new Corvette got a mid-year $2k bump. My intuition says they're offering it as a 2014 this late so when they increase the price on the 2015, they can say their original "$135.7k" only applied to the first model year and "make good" on the promised price from last September...even though with the, currently "manditory", Pure Impulse package you could argue that the base price of a 2014 i8 is $146k.

I can see the i3 being an even harder sell. You have competing cars that upon comparison, give you more for less. BMW is banking on people choosing "i" products over other cars due their use of mass produced carbon fiber, renewable and sustainable production methods, etc. When at the end of the day, it's still a car and money is still THE deciding factor for their customer base. After driving an i3, I would buy/lease one in a heartbeat if it made sense with my location and driving habits, but unfortunately it doesn't. The i3 is a great car hampered by some unfortunate financial posturing and styling that doesn't gel with everyone (I, for one, like it).
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  #8  
Old 07-12-2014, 09:47 AM
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BestCS BestCS is offline
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I won't be driving an electric car unless the world runs out of gasoline. In case that happens, I have a large supply of Birkenstocks!

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  #9  
Old 07-12-2014, 03:23 PM
apollner apollner is offline
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Mein Auto: i3;previously X6;650i;M5
I traded in my 2012 X6 x35i with Individual Package and BMW Performance wheels for an i3 BEV. It was a gorgeous car and had served me well. However, I haven't looked back since the changeover. That car was almost twice the price of the i3, but the new EV is an invitation to the future. The seats are no less comfortable, despite the fewer, manual adjustments. It can't match the X6's top speed, but it will leave it in the dust off the mark. The cabin feels extremely roomy, not unlike the X6, even more so up front. It will run circles around the X6 in in city maneuverability and in the parking garages. It is much smoother and linear in acceleration and very quiet and peaceful inside. So, I would hesitate to only compare it to other EVs on price and features. Rather, the total driving experience is what should be assessed and based on that, determine what value you place on ownership.
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  #10  
Old 07-15-2014, 02:29 PM
rmjames007 rmjames007 is online now
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Good Write up. Thanks for the information
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  #11  
Old 07-25-2014, 04:55 AM
trunkrecords trunkrecords is offline
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Wow... so many petrol apologists on this thread that I can't breathe because of the fumes!

Seriously though...going electric is a LIFESTYLE choice. Some of us get it and some of us do not understand the difference between owning and driving an electric vehicle and a petrol auto. Isn't it obvious to anyone who considers an electric vehicle that you have to first and foremost be determined to wring every volt of range possible when driving? The highest purpose of electric vehicles, imo, is to clean up the pollution already in our atmosphere and reduce the use of petrol. i.e. Electric car drivers who are charging at home with solar are LEADING the rest of the unwashed masses toward a day when renewable energy WILL power the transportation sector and the ridiculous criticisms voiced by many petrol apologists today will seem quaint and myopic.

When you own an electric vehicle, regardless if it is a BMW or not, you have a responsibility to LEAD, aka set a good example, for all of the other people who don't yet understand the importance of what we early adopters are doing. Drivers who still want that adolescent rush of speed experienced when one depresses the accelerator to maximum are COMPLETELY missing the point and are not candidates for electric vehicles... in fact, their opinions do not matter. Why? Because they MISS THE POINT of being carbon neutral, efficient and a responsible driver.

Flame away but do realize more and more people are beginning to think my way. A fully electric transportation paradigm is coming and I for one will be at the vanguard showing the way for those who cannot see the point at the moment.
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  #12  
Old 07-25-2014, 07:50 AM
Jamolay Jamolay is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trunkrecords View Post
Wow... so many petrol apologists on this thread that I can't breathe because of the fumes!

Seriously though...going electric is a LIFESTYLE choice. Some of us get it and some of us do not understand the difference between owning and driving an electric vehicle and a petrol auto. Isn't it obvious to anyone who considers an electric vehicle that you have to first and foremost be determined to wring every volt of range possible when driving? The highest purpose of electric vehicles, imo, is to clean up the pollution already in our atmosphere and reduce the use of petrol. i.e. Electric car drivers who are charging at home with solar are LEADING the rest of the unwashed masses toward a day when renewable energy WILL power the transportation sector and the ridiculous criticisms voiced by many petrol apologists today will seem quaint and myopic.

When you own an electric vehicle, regardless if it is a BMW or not, you have a responsibility to LEAD, aka set a good example, for all of the other people who don't yet understand the importance of what we early adopters are doing. Drivers who still want that adolescent rush of speed experienced when one depresses the accelerator to maximum are COMPLETELY missing the point and are not candidates for electric vehicles... in fact, their opinions do not matter. Why? Because they MISS THE POINT of being carbon neutral, efficient and a responsible driver.

Flame away but do realize more and more people are beginning to think my way. A fully electric transportation paradigm is coming and I for one will be at the vanguard showing the way for those who cannot see the point at the moment.

+10!!
Well stated and I agree completely. Of course I ended up with a 328xd wagon because no electric vehicle met my needs at the moment, and I bucked with some desire. When the right car comes, and my solar panels are installed, I will be getting an EV.


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  #13  
Old 07-25-2014, 09:30 AM
ddk632 ddk632 is offline
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I don't see why buying into electric has to mean no more fun.

The i8 is a step towards showing that you can have your electric (hybrid in this first incarnation) cake, and eat it too. As is the SLS AMG Electric Drive, albeit out of most normal people's price range.

There are now electric LeMans race car prototypes, a full blown Formula E electric race series about to start, electric motorcycles starting to make the rounds with demo rides near the famous Rock Store in Malibu, and this is just the beginning.

Electric can absolutely still give you "that adolescent rush of speed experienced when one depresses the accelerator to maximum " when done properly, and you wouldn't be missing any point whatsoever for enjoying that capability.

Not everyone wants to drive like a grandma to eke out an extra mile of range every time they drive. Especially if you're using solar power to charge your electric vehicle, there's not really any difference to the environment how you choose to drive your electric car.

Don't know about you, though guess I may, but I don't plan to ever grow out of that allegedly adolescent rush phase. I love driving way too much to ever give that up.
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  #14  
Old 07-26-2014, 07:15 AM
apollner apollner is offline
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I didn't buy my i3 to be "green" or to drive any more responsibly than I already do. I don't have any "issue" with petrol cars as I've owned many great ones over the years. I don't plan on having to "compromise" my driving style (occasional fast sprints and twisting through the curves) or comfort.

The i3 is a great car on many fronts, but does have it's downside with its limited range. This was an engineering decision, not a technical problem, as evidenced by the alternative approach Tesla offers. However, the Tesla solution adds hundreds of pounds to the weight of the car and thousands of dollars in cost. If you mostly commute in or around the city, lugging all that extra weight around and storing so much charge may be overkill. However, for those having longer commutes, it may be a requirement.

I do have to be mindful of where I'm driving during the week to be sure that the car has sufficient charge. Hopefully this will be less of a problem as the charging infrastructure builds out. States such as Maryland have already announced programs to build DC Fast Charging across the State in order to help EV adoption. Office buildings and shopping centers are all adding chargers to make it more convenient to the growing ranks of EV drivers.

Let's not typecast who the i3 buyer is, as this car offers many features and benefits not found on other BMWs or other EVs. I choose to drive it for its compact but spacious design, quick acceleration, nimble handling, and advanced technology. After all, that's what being a motorhead is all about!
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  #15  
Old 08-06-2014, 09:50 PM
tiburonh tiburonh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apollner View Post
I traded in my 2012 X6 x35i with Individual Package and BMW Performance wheels for an i3 BEV. It was a gorgeous car and had served me well. However, I haven't looked back since the changeover. That car was almost twice the price of the i3, but the new EV is an invitation to the future. The seats are no less comfortable, despite the fewer, manual adjustments. It can't match the X6's top speed, but it will leave it in the dust off the mark. The cabin feels extremely roomy, not unlike the X6, even more so up front. It will run circles around the X6 in in city maneuverability and in the parking garages. It is much smoother and linear in acceleration and very quiet and peaceful inside. So, I would hesitate to only compare it to other EVs on price and features. Rather, the total driving experience is what should be assessed and based on that, determine what value you place on ownership.
Sounds great
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  #16  
Old 08-13-2014, 11:36 AM
Zack Zack is offline
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I passed a phase of initial excitement and buy NOW feelings.

First of all there is a looks of i3. It's not ugly but looks kind of dorky. I could never buy Smart car, this is close to it but again, I could get used of it.
Interior is much better looking that exterior so that is easy one.

Deal breaker for me is financial part and even more electrical performance.

> It is relatively expensive car (53k+ in Canada) but that is kind of relative point. What is worse is future. There are already less costly EV cars but they are not BMW. As OP said in year or 1.5 years there will be Tesla E out for around 40k, looking totally amazing with at least 200 km range. That automatically means that i3 value will drop dramatically after 2-3 years.

> Lastly, as I read on this forum 160km (100 miles) is very, very optimistic value. People here report more like 80 miles (130km).
First of all battery normally charges up to 80%. Then any highway use really kills it. I posted question about true highway range and over 60 people read the post but nobody answered, yet. That tells me that highway performance is nothing to write home about.

In conclusion I believe that person in NA needs 200 km range (130 miles) at minimum. Why? All distances are great here. Unless one lives downtown and drives in circles there close to some public chargers. I live 60km away from Toronto so one charge would be sufficient (maybe) for single ride forth and back. If wife or somebody uses car for trip for groceries or there is heating and cooling in game we are talking about very tight drive.

I am not crazy REX. It really beats the purpose of having EV car in the first place. It adds cost, maintenance, complications and not so great performance to the pot. Ford Fusion Energy is nice size car, loaded with features, 20 miles electric only range and engine to take you anywhere. Costs less than 50k.

Last edited by Zack; 08-15-2014 at 05:22 AM.
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