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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 07-14-2014, 02:00 AM
joyofspeed joyofspeed is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 54
Mein Auto: E46 M3 ZCP / E83 X3
i3 first impression and questions about worlds and options

Hey folks,

I'm seriously considering the i3. As much as I love driving my M3, Bay Area traffic is truly grating. Really what I want is the sticker, but I suspect I can't put it next to the quad exhaust on the ///M.

A year ago I test drove all sticker-eligible cars. Hated the Leaf, felt nothing for the Volt or Spark EV or Ford Fusion or the base Tesla Model S. Was mildly amused by the Fiat 500e. Really liked the Tesla Performance Plus - feels like a big M5 - but not for $110k. So did nothing and continued to sit in traffic in a 3-pedal M car*.

For those familiar with the area, I live in Silver Creek area, drop off two kids at school in Los Gatos at 8:20 am, continue to Sunnyvale Moffett Field (all on i85) and trudge down 101S in the evenings. The round trip is 55 miles, we have charging stations at work, so the range is not a concern and I'm not interested in the range extender.

This past Saturday, while running errands, I dropped by Stevens Creek BMW with my wife and 22-month-old Lexi. (6-year-old Ben was at grandparents) While waiting, we explored the car. The looks don't really do it for me, though I can live with them. And the interior felt... BMW-esque but too non-traditional, I wasn't thrilled. After a 40 min wait (no appointment) we finally got to drive a base-model i3. My expectations were very low, but in the end, it was the drive that won me over. I really liked it. No, it's not an ///M3, but it's spritely and nimble and probably tossable. I suspect I can have fun with it, just different fun than a big(ger), way more powerful, car.

There were four of us on the test-drive. Myself, my wife, the sales guy, and Lexi, in her car seat. (Yes, I did move the big Brittax Advocate G4 for the test-drive. It fit fine, as will her brother's Graco Nautilus next to it.) So the car had passenger load of approx 550 lbs. (Regular load would be me with kids or solo.) We took some city streets (Stevens Creek), spent 3-4 miles on i280, and then went up a twisty residential street. And it felt nice. It accelerated briskly, and there was that 1-foot driving I experienced in the Tesla. The fit and finish was nice, and I probably can get used to the quirky interior and outside looks. Having the latest iDrive with BMW Apps will be fun to play with. It's a Bimmer after all.

As the car is not cheap, I don't want to spend more than necessary. I haven't yet decided to lease or buy. We always buy cars and keep them for a long time (our '02 E46 330 was 10 years old and had 162K miles when sold, in great condition). But in this case I'm tempted to lease as it's new technology evolving rapidly. But it may be cheaper to buy, so we'll see. I am planning to get the Technology Package and HK sound. So now the questions:

1. Giga vs Tera - Is the main difference in the partial vs full leather (and different wheel style)? Where is the cloth on the Giga? For sure the dark leather on the Tera would wear better with the kids, but $2700 is a premium as well.

2. DC Fast Charging - should I get it? where would I use it? I'm not sure what chargers we have at work, but they are newly installed a few months ago.

3. 430 wheels with mixed tires - what does "mixed" mean? Staggered or something to do with composition, since other tires are listed as all-season? Is there any handling benefit, seems to be unlikely.

4. What do you get without Comfort Access? Standard lock/unlock? What do you do with the "key" to drive - I don't recall a key slot, but maybe I just missed it...

5. BMW Charging Station - asking $1080. Other options are available at ~$600, including a Bosch Power Max unit. Will they work? Am I missing something?

6. Initially I plan to use the 110v charger at home. I should have 12+ hours between evening and morning drives, plus two other other cars if necessary.


*For those concerned about fate of the ///M3, rest assured that it's staying.

Thx,
Max
__________________
Cruise control?!? We don't need no steeenking cruise control!!!
E46 ///M3 ZCP (Xena)

'05 BMW ///M3 ZCP (current)
'08 BMW X3 (wife's current)
'96 Jeep Grand Cherokee (semi-retired, for snow, lives at Tahoe)

'02 BMW 330 (retired, well-loved wife's)
'96 Saturn SC2 (retired, wife's)
'89 Mercury Sable (retired, why did I drive this? ah - yes, it was cheap)
'83 Mazda 626 (parental hand-me-down - free!)
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  #2  
Old 07-14-2014, 08:44 AM
Drbeqg Drbeqg is offline
Drb
Location: Huntington Beach, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: Lexus LS460L
Charging unit

Hard on the run this morning but let me answer one of your questions. I recently purchased a Clipper Creek charging unit--HCS-40. Great unit and it charges the i3 in about three and a half hours. It is made in Auburn, not too far from you, and costs about $590. Give Clipper Creek a call, tell them what your set up is like, and ask what it would take to install.
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  #3  
Old 07-14-2014, 12:01 PM
ktagly2 ktagly2 is offline
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Location: Worthington, OH
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 21
Mein Auto: 2014 BMW 328i xDrive
1. Giga vs Tera - Is the main difference in the partial vs full leather (and different wheel style)? Where is the cloth on the Giga? For sure the dark leather on the Tera would wear better with the kids, but $2700 is a premium as well.

Tera also gives you upgraded wheels, standard SIrius and standard garage door opener

2. DC Fast Charging - should I get it? where would I use it? I'm not sure what chargers we have at work, but they are newly installed a few months ago.

I would get it. You probably won't see these stations many places right now. They're really expensive stations, but they did just become the US standard for fast charging back in November. They'll charge an i3 in about 30 minutes. Its a good way to "future proof" your car a bit

3. 430 wheels with mixed tires - what does "mixed" mean? Staggered or something to do with composition, since other tires are listed as all-season? Is there any handling benefit, seems to be unlikely.

Not all season, but also not performance. Lies somewhere in between. Still has a lateral grove, but not great in the winter

4. What do you get without Comfort Access? Standard lock/unlock? What do you do with the "key" to drive - I don't recall a key slot, but maybe I just missed it...

There is no key slot on the car, with or without comfort access, you just need the key inside of the cabin to start it. Comfort access allows you to leave your key in your pocket all the time. You can grab the car handle and it will unlock. Touching the grooves on the top of the handle will lock it.

5. BMW Charging Station - asking $1080. Other options are available at ~$600, including a Bosch Power Max unit. Will they work? Am I missing something?

They'll work. BMW is charging more for it to say BMW. You can finance the BMW one with the car though, along with the installation of it.

Last edited by ktagly2; 07-14-2014 at 12:03 PM.
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  #4  
Old 07-14-2014, 01:33 PM
hyperzulu hyperzulu is offline
Ich bin schneller
Location: Granada Hills, CA
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,663
Mein Auto: 2012 335is DCT
Does BMW have a legitimate leasing program for the i3? I suppose they may, but it may be very unattractive. They do offer Owners Choice which utililzes the $7500 tax credit and also a "walk away" option. I haven't investigated what that walk away entails. For instance, are you on the hook for diminished value if your car should happen to be in a bad accident?
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  #5  
Old 07-14-2014, 01:48 PM
ktagly2 ktagly2 is offline
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Location: Worthington, OH
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 21
Mein Auto: 2014 BMW 328i xDrive
Yes, there is a legitimate leasing program, and yes it is unattractive (really low residual). The walk away is just like a lease walk away. The balloon payment is the same as the residual (plus $7500 if you use the flex program). So if your car is in good condition you would just pay the $7500 and walk away. If there was damage to the car, you would owe money for that damage (just like a lease).
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  #6  
Old 07-15-2014, 08:38 AM
jtoast jtoast is offline
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Location: Oklahoma
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: MR2
I ordered an i3 Rex in June and am expecting delivery in August. I personally ordered mine with all options except the upgraded 20 inch wheels and the fast charger. I personally didnt like the ride with the bigger tires and, being in Oklahoma, the closest fast charger to me is over 200 miles away. While the network may expand in the next few years, I didn't see it worth the $700 to gamble.

As to your questions:

1) I didnt like the feel of the cloth in the lower end interiors. It felt rough and my jeans seem to catch a little as I was getting in and out of the drivers seat. I also thought that if I'm going to pay that damn much for a car, I might as well have leather.

2) Fast charging - like I said above, I skipped it because I live in the midwest. If I was in CA I would have most definitely bought it as your infrastructure is building out much faster than I expect mine to be.

4) In addition to what Ktagly2 covered, I believe comfort access also stores several settings in the individual key fob. For example, if you and your wife had different radio presets, the station would dispay the ones based on who's driving. My car is currently on a ship so I can't say how well that works in practice.

5) I personally purchased and installed a ClipperCreek HCS-40P rather than the one that BMW offers. Less cost and better reviews.

6) Lease deal is terrible. I personally will probably buy mine unless something changes when my car comes in next month.
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  #7  
Old 07-15-2014, 08:50 AM
apollner apollner is offline
Registered User
Location: DC
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 74
Mein Auto: i3;previously X6;650i;M5
From a Giga owner

Good questions!

Here's my take:
1. Giga vs Tera
I had a car on order configured as a Tera. Then the lease pull-ahead program was announced so I need to act quickly and see what was available. The dealer got their first Giga and it would be months before I could get a Tera, plus lose out on the pull-ahead program and delay getting the i3. Once I sat in the Giga I realized how much I really liked it. The leather supports you where you need it, and the wool is quite soft and less prone to temperature fluctuations. Most BMW interiors these days can be cleaned quite easily with the right cleaners. I too had a concern with our baby. Have not had any major spills to pick up so far. This interior really complements the car, giving it a modern, clean, and updated look. The Tera leather is nice, but not unlike what we've all been driving up until now.

2. DC Fast Charging
I've seen several posts on this. My take is that municipalities are realizing that if they don't build the infrastructure, people will be hesitant to buy EVs. Maryland, for example, just announced a program where they will outfit the entire State with Fast Charging so that people can have the comfort of knowing that they can go about their business without fear of running out of juice. Yes, it's true that you can probably count on one hand the number of DC Fast Chargers near you today, but this is all going to change in the near future. And although Level 2 is much faster than a household outlet, there will be the occasion when you just don't have 3 hours to wait around to charge up. If you end up not using it, at least it will help on resale.

3. 430 wheels with mixed tires
Don't know what this means

4. What do you get without Comfort Access?
Comfort Access comes standard on all models, it is not an option. As described above, it allows you to keep the key in your pocket and lock/unlock/start/stop the vehicle without using the key. It's one of my favorite convenience features (on this and previous BMWs) along with soft close doors, which are not available on the i3. Also, I recently found out that the divided insert in the main driver cup holder is meant to hold the key. The fob basically sits in the narrower side of the divide.

5. BMW Charging Station
So far, I'm using free Level 2 stations around my area or the outlet in my garage. I would try this for a while to see if you even need a home Level 2 charger.

6. Initially I plan to use the 110v charger at home.
See #5 above.
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  #8  
Old 07-15-2014, 09:04 AM
Drbeqg Drbeqg is offline
Drb
Location: Huntington Beach, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: Lexus LS460L
Cloth versus leather

The two cars in which I did a test drive had cloth seats. I liked them. San Jose is much like living in Southern California--the sun beats down on us continually, making cloth the cooler choice. I ended up with leather buying the Launch Edition of the i3, fearing, misplaced as it turned out, that I would have to wait too long for a more customized model. BMW did a nice job with its seats, cloth or leather--providing a comfortable but supportive upright feel.
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