2014 BMW i3 Driven
The BMW i3 is the newest EV on the block. The BMW i3 offers some very unique features that separates it’s offering from the rest of the Electric Vehicles. This electric vehicle was purpose built to be an electric vehicle. BMW has built and refined the vehicle based on their “g pigs” that leased the MiniE and 1-Series Active E. This is a good thing that BMW has had a head start and ironing some of the bugs out by introducing a brand new powertrain. (Considering some of the feedback from Active E users which BMW had numerous powertrain failures requiring some users to spend over a week in the shop).
The BMW i3 combines the power of the Active E’s powertrain with a new light weight chassis composed of carbon fibre. One of the first vehicles to have it’s monococue composed completely of the lightweight, rigid material found more typically on cars doing speeds in excess of 200mph and costing well beyond that of a years salary. I’m anxious to see how this technology trickles down to the rest of the BMW lineup as of recent their cars have seemed to be ballooning in size and weight and have lost that feeling of the “Ultimate Driving Machine” that was reminiscent of the e36 and e30 coupe’s.
What I like:
Carbon fiber Chassis. This Electric Vehicle is light weight.
Purpose built, you won’t find an equally cheaper model in the same rebadged chassis to do a direct cost comparison.
A small BMW. After owning a e30 all I’ve seen since is the vehicles gain size and weight (and more electronics). I’m all for the small BMW, just wish it didn’t look like a cube and was more low slung into the shape of the e30.
The onboard charger: 6.6kW: charge fast. Ties for top of it’s car class.
Battery: This battery has been shown to be reliable amongst most former Active E and Mini E drivers. I like that BMW has used a test market to get the data to bring a highly competitive and reliable product to the market without compromise.
Oh and the whole BMW Dealer Thing. I’m happy to say that the BMW i3 will be sold Online so you can bypass the arrogant BMW Service Centers known more for price gouging, shitty service and wanting to pull out your bear mace to take down the pesky sales person that constantly nags you on the phone….sorry I got side tracked on that one…”too personal”.
What I don’t like:
Exterior design. What the Heck (WTH) Am I looking at.? Dare a say bring back Chris Bangel!?….no I didn’t say that but seriously can BMW’s design department please make a more elegant car? Well I guess they did come through with the i8, it looks like the cars I thought we would have been driving today if you had watched “Back to the Future 2” in 1989.
Price: Well this you can argue over as most BMW’s have ballooned in price as well now starting at $35,000 and when you hit the options button it will take them north of $40K. The i3 can be had for around $44K, putting it above the LEAF (Which it should be) and right in VOLT territory (Which it should be) but it looks to be the size of a GOLF which is also where it comes in higher. I think this car will sell well though because it is leaps above the competition.
That optional engine/generator that you can tow around. If you are going to rely on that range extender (which is very expensive) you’d be better off getting another car. The BMW i3 may not fit all your needs but if you have a set commute this vehicle can be very practical for your use.
SAE Fast Charge port- Well maybe because theirs hardly any SAE DC Fast chargers available. If this is an option you may want to consider deleting it as it will likely not be used until a few years down the road. In California they are building (slowly) a network of fast chargers with the SAE DC combo port. Unfortunately BMW didn’t choose to go the same route as Nissan by adopting the Chademo standard.
BMW i3 Compatable Charging Stations:
BMW i3 Charging Station Recommendation:
The BMW i3 recommended charging station to match the 6.6kW output would be one of the following. BMW’s preferred supplier has created a very very ugly charging station that is large and obtrusive in design. This station even has a glove box inside.
Rated at 30Amps, AV’s EVSE-RS Charging Station will supply the full current needed to recharge your BMW i3 as fast as possible. AeroVironment was also BMW’s preferred supplier for the BMW Active E rollout and was most experienced supporting BMW.
Bosch is offering some of the lowest cost charging stations on the market. Look for the 30Amp Bosch Charging Station to supply the full current to your BMW i3.
GE – Wattstation
GE Watt station ihas a 30AMP unit that matches nicely with the BMW i3 Specifications. Look for the 30Amp GE-Watt station Charging Station to supply the full current to your BMW i3.