The principal reason is quite simple. It is primarily because the general speed limit for rural roads in EU Member States is mostly 80 or 90km/h* or approximately 56mph. Remember, the i3 is designed and assembled in Germany.
The scientific reason is to do with increased efficiency loss beyond that speed. Most ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) consumption figures are based on this speed and this is also true of the BMWi3's aerodynamic drag. Any car's wind resistance increases to the square of the speed, so after the 56mph it becomes disproportionately disruptive to mpg or mpge efficiency. Every time you double your speed you need four times the energy to displace the air in front.
The term 'soft limit' refers to a software speed limit that can be defeated by pressing harder on the accelerator. This is for safety reasons if you needed to get up to speed with the traffic around you.
If you want to maximise your i3's efficiency and range, slow down when it's practical to do so and don't accelerate hard (although it is very easy to do). Make sure your tyres are pumped up properly and take out excess luggage weight.
Your i3 will come with a standard slow charging cable with a household plug to 'type-2' Mennekes charging plug. This is for domestic and slow public chargers. If you want to use the public fast chargers, you'll need to buy either:
*prices September 2016
This resourceful tip came from one of i3guide's readers who found a way to protect his BMW i3 when charging in bad weather.
Bob Watling noticed that owners were experiencing problems with charging, particularly in wet and cold climates, and devised a simple solution using a £10 folding golf bag head cover.
To read more, please click to go to the Charging page, to read Helpful Tips #3
The new 2016 BMW i3 now has 50% more range. Giving an increased distance of approximately 125-mile pure electric on one charge. It is estimated that if you drive carefully in Eco Pro mode, you could expect to get approximately 125-145 miles in the warmer months (20ºC). It will be interesting to see what new range hyper-milers can achieve from the BMW i3 going forwards from the July 2016 release date. So this is great news and brings this city car inline with the other small cars such as the Nissan Leaf.
The BMW i3 has an Intelligent Safety System to help the driver avoid a collision with other road users or pedestrians.
The quick short cut to the system can be found under the hazard warning light in the centre of the dashboard. The system can be turned on fully (the circle of light turns green); switched off completely; or set to avoid front-end collisions only (both the latter turns the circle red).
The system works by flashing up a warning light above the speedometer and then applying the ABS shortly after detecting there is no braking from the driver. The car will brake to avoid the collision and may sometimes bring the car to a complete stop if the object is stationary.
Where you might want to switch off the system is when you are creeping along through a crowded street, where the car will keep warning the driver and braking unnecessarily.
You can set the warning point to Early, Medium or Late in the Vehicle Settings menu.
AM Radio is effected by the electric drive train in the i3. The signal becomes crackly with electromagnetic interference. BMW isn't alone, though. Tesla also removed the old, American broadcasting medium from its cars. However, because so many people still tune in for the weather and traffic information, BMW are trying to find a way to reintroduce AM Radio to the i3 without adding extra weight (in shielding), or reducing the car's performance.
The BMWi3's Sat Nav has very good voice recognition software. Press the voice button on the steering wheel each time you want to ask something new – you'll hear the chime. It won't work unless you press the button. You will see why when I first start the video demo. The Sat Nav can be started even with the screen off, and the prompts will set up a route in under 30 seconds, completely hands free, keeping you eyes safely on the road and hands on the wheel.
Watch this simple demo and give it a try yourself. If you need to at any point, don't forget to press the button again and ask, "voice commands" and the system will tell you the voice options available at that point. After a few practice runs the Sat Nav will be able to select and lock in your destinations very quickly.
If you need to pause the navigation, ask it to "Stop Guidance"; to rebegin, say "Start Navigation" and it will begin again on the same route.
It will impress your passengers when you master this; you'll look like you're in complete control.
Learn how to use the DC Rapid Charger, both for USA and the UK. European rapid chargers are also similar. The principal is the same.
Source: YouTube: BMW USA
BMW debuted the future of simple hand gestures to remote park the i3 at CES 2016. All electric cars can already park themselves. But the ability to recognise hand gestures, allowing the driver to step outside the vehicle before the car parks itself, is new. Also aside from hand gestures, you can also get the car out of the garage provided your house is set up as a 'Smart Home' using the Samsung's Internet of Things app. Also see the iremote app which you should definitely download now, as this can allow you to link you mobile phone with your i3, then you can check your lights are off and your doors are locked; the status of your remaining charging time; and set preconditioning when you're away from your car.
Source: YouTube: BMW Blog
In both turbine style BMWi3 alloy wheels, the orientation of the spokes can vary if you're not paying attention. Look closely at the image above and then check the turbine alloys on your car to see if they're even. The left-hand images show the spokes orientated one way, which appear on most websites, while the right-hand shows how BMW orientate their alloys.
You might not think it matters, but some people have mentioned that the 429-style alloys (top left image) make a 'whoop-whoop' sound as they catch the air.*
Let's assume you have a normal tariff with a national energy supplier like E.ON. This also includes a normal set up in a family home without economy 7. And let's also assume, like most of us, you use more electricity during the day, so an economy 7 set up is not your best tariff, which is why you might not have it already. OK, so the normal cost includes a daily standard charge of 26.019p from the energy supplier, plus a 10.658p per kWh* standard charge.
If the i3 is run flat then a full charge is calculated to be 18.8kWh net battery capacity. Now let's add all this together for our full charge cost.
26.019p + (10.658 per kWh x 18.8kWh capacity) makes a cost of £2.26 per charge.
Cost per mile can then be calculated £2.26 / 85 miles (minimum full range of i3) as £0.026 [2.6p per mile]
30,000 miles: £780
20,000 miles: £520
10,000 miles: £260 (average mileage)
8,000 miles: £208
5,000 miles: £130
*Energy prices vary all the time (published by E.ON 1-year fixed until 2017 (v19)). Please visit your tariff and substitute the figures to get your costs.
You can use a variety of apps from your mobile phone on the BMWi3's eDrive. Apps are powered through the 'BMW Connected' app, available to download from the App Store and Google Play store. iPhone | Android
Link your mobile phone, via a usb cable, to the car's USB port under the armrest. Open the BMW Connected app and follow the set up instructions. Once you see the app on your mobile phone showing as 'Connected' you can then scroll the car's menu to 'BMW Apps'. Now all of your mobile phone's compatible apps are accessable on the BMW i3.
Apps include: Spotify | Life 360 | Twitter | Facebook | Wikipedia Tour Guide | Audible etc...
Please read the BMW Connected Drive PDF, downloadable from this website, found under 'Documents' in the main menu navigation at the top, or by clicking here. There are other BMWi PDF guides available to download from the 'Documents' page.
There are two rear fog lights on the i3. They are set near the reverse lights, lower than the brake lights, so that they don't interfere with braking visibility. Often rear fogs are very bright and can dazzle drivers following behind. The i3 automatically switches the rear fogs off when the car is turned off.
The highway code states that you should not use your rear fogs unless visibility is down to 100m, the distance between each countdown marker (III / II / I) on motorway slip roads. Dazzling drivers, especially in the rain through wet windscreens or motorcycle helmet visors, does more harm than good.
For full technical data on the i3 BEV and the i3 REX, please click here to open the Technical Data page PDF.
Since taking my BMWi3 in for its winter tyres, BMW have also given my i3 a 'Performance Enhancement'. They upgraded the system software, which seems to have done a few things, including an improved range of 10 miles. The dashboard now as a new battery percentage monitor, which can be toggled by pressing the indicator button at the end of the column. Although this may seem like a tiny extra, it actually helps you to understand the range of the car's battery more intuitively. A rule of thumb I used previously was to count each energy bar as 20 miles. Now I can clearly see how far I can drive.
The enhancement has reprogrammed the i3's computer to be more efficient with the car's battery. You can see in the photo above that, having only used only 13.5% of my battery, my pure electric i3 still has 85 miles range left, and that's before I switch to ECOPRO+ mode.
The Enhancement has also added 'Comfort Entry' as a setting on the 'Doors/Key' option, which are on all 2015 models Click here to read this article too.Lastly, I have noticed that the rear door 'closed' sensor is less sensitive. (I used to get this warning a lot, but it seems to be better tuned now).
Select 'Comfort Entry' on the 'Doors/Key' option under the car's settings. Now when you come within 1.5 meters of the car, the remote access will automatically unlock the car doors and you won't need to take the key out of your pocket. This may not work on 2013 models of the i3. It will only work where you see a ribbed thumb area on the door handle.
The 2016 model is set to get 3 new colours - Fluid Black, Platinum Silver and Mineral Grey. The paints being replaced are the non-metalic Arravani Grey, and old metalics Laurel Grey and Andesite Silver.
However, the new Platium Silver seems to be a rename of the Andesite Silver. This would make sense since BMW used the Andesite colour in a lot of their earlier advertising campaigns.
The Fluid Black is by far the best looking. I would expect black alloys will be next, but we will have to wait and see.
There can be no doubt that running a pure electric car such as the i3 is the cheapest form of road travel. Then closely followed is the i3 ’s range extender which occasionally burns though its 9 litre petrol tank while it tops-up its batteries.
Based on 10,000 miles per year, on a normal home energy traffic the i3 will cost you £20 per month. Rather than a 40mpg petrol, drinking through nearly £200 per month.
BMW expects 70% of its i3’s to be sold through a lease deal - it makes sense as a company car. The zero emissions and the lease benefits will mean you can write-off half of the VAT cost of the loan, and as a 40% tax payer, it is beneficial to be able to write most of the cost of the lease off too. That and the low running expense, and virtually no servicing involved, it seems BMW are almost giving you the car for the next three years. The final loss to you is less than buying and selling-on a cheaper, regular fuel car.
Servicing is not for the first 3 years anyway, and afterwards, only requires a computer and fluids check; and a general health check of the vehicle, such as the tires and brakes. But as pure EVs have very little moving parts compared to their combustive cousins, who have hundreds of moving parts that need to work in pure synchronicity, this can only mean that there is less that can mechanically go wrong with our new EVs.
When you've bought your first EV car, you won’t automatically be subscribed to public charging services. So don't get caught out on your first long-distance drive without having first registered with Chargemaster.com, Ecotricity.com, Pod-point.com and Chargeyourcar.org.uk, amongst others. Each will send you a membership NFC card in the post, which you use to activate their respective charging stations. Each company has its own costs and some offer free charging. Your houshold charger will plug into slow charging services; but you'll need a type-2 Mennekes cable to use the 7kW fast chargers (remember to take these cables with you); and the Rapid AC or DC chargers will have their own cables attached to the stations, which you plug directly into your car like the fuel pumps. At the end of the first year, remember to check that your subscriptions haven't expired.
Tip: A little easier. If you're driving to a friend's or family's home, and they're generous enough to let you charge your car there, take an extension reel so you can comfortably plug in your household/domestic EVcharger cable. Remember that it can take 6-8 hours to fully charge on a domestic plug. Be careful about running the charging cable across any public access ways.
Seats up 260 litres
Seats down 1,100 litres
The i3’s 260 litre boot is comparable than other city EV's. The space works well for the weekly food shopping, and by folding down the rear seats the space increases to 1,100 litres, easily accommodating an adult's mountain bike, for example.
This morning my pure electric i3 showed me 101 miles on the range-o-meter. For anyone doubting the i3's 100-mile claim - here's the proof. Needless to say, I was pleased to see it and having done lots of careful driving, the computer rewarded me.
There have been a couple of theories about keeping a cleaner car to reduce fuel consumption. Some believe it has absolutely no impact on the mileage, while others think that like a pitted golf ball, the dirt helps to lower wind resistance. But the truth is that a clean car goes a long way to help reducing the extra drag of air resistance on the bodywork.
Discovery.com MythBusters found that a dirty car cuts fuel economy by as much as 10 percent, which would as much as 8-10 miles on the range if your BMW i3.
So I was told to try out AutoGlym - Extra Gloss Protection after I had cleaned my i3. This recommendation was much easier to apply than conventional wax based polishes. It comes out of the bottle in a water-like liquid and takes one application with a dry microfibre cloth. When it dries it leaves the body work really smooth and shiny.
In a technology teardown and benchmarking report by Munro ¹ it was demonstrated that the BMW i3's battery can easily be accessed and removed from the car if needed. BMW designed easy access to the battery to effectively repair any faults, making it routine enough for approved BMW i service garages to get their cars back on the road as quickly as possible.
The other positive point here is that when BMW bring out their improved (94Ah) battery in July 2016, there might be a possibility BMW offers the upgrade to existing (pre-2016) customers. There an early indication that this will only happen for USA customers and not for UK or the rest of Europe yet. The upgrade battery cost will be quite a large proportion of the total car cost, approximately $8,000USD (Battery cost link).
I think it is fair to assume BMW may swop out to upgrade the older (60Ah) battery on returned leased models in the USA, so these pre-owned i3's can be sold again as reconditioned. It makes sense, otherwise all the older i3's will quickly become redundant in the second-hand market, which wouldn't make a whole lot of sense when the vehicle's tech is still cutting edge. Maybe there's a business model there in third-party reconditioning if BMW don't do it themselves?
The battery is replaceable – BMW designed it that way.
This is a great video from Munro & Associates, who specialise in reverse engineering products. When Munro got their hands on the BMW i3, they said it was "the most advanced car on the planet", and they know what they're talking about having performed a lot of vehicle tear-downs.
Munro & Associates explain a little about the i3's strength and safety of its carbon fibre module. It is reassuring to know that carbon fibre is extremely strong under stress. Particularly for collisions. The module protects the occupants to a higher degree than found in a normal vehicle.
What was particularly interesting was the safety and cleaver engineering of the i3 battery. I've touched on the i3 battery a little in other articles, but the beauty of BMW's engineering is covered succinctly in this very short video.
Did you know the i3 also has a smaller 12V battery under the hood?
A common misconception is that all the electrical systems run off the car's main battery, well not so. Well, not directly anyway.
The BMW i3 has two electrical systems. All the internal electronics, the sat-nav, the connective drive, USB charge port, the wipers, cigar-lighters, etc, and even the headlights run from this small 12V battery. You can find it if you lift up the hood and look behind the storage box, on the right-hand side.
Only the main electric motor and the air-conditioning run off the large main battery. You will see the slight drop in range when you activate the air-conditioning. The air-con uses the heat pump exchanger to do its work, which pulls quite a bit of power out of the main battery. Hence why it's best to precondition your car (plugged in) to warm up or de-ice.
For most trips, the 12V battery is then happy to remain uncharged and being used for all the electrical systems. The on board computer allows the battery to recharge through the system again when the car is plugged back into a charging station. If there is a lot demand on the 12V battery (in the rain on a cold night, for example), then the 12V battery can recharge off the main system.
BMW designed the system this way to stop any waste of electrical energy when transforming down to 12V electricals. BMW really did a great job.
This short video and screenshot, courtesy of BMW Group, shows the installation of the liquid cooling and heating system for the i3's battery. This element extracts heat from the battery which can then be used to heat the cabin via the heat exchanger. Any heat above 20ºC is removed so a constant operating temperature for best battery performance and longevity is maintained.
The same element can also be used to warm the battery before cold starts, as part of the car's preconditioning cycle. Consequently it is a good idea to precondition the car on very cold days, before unplugging from the charger, to get the battery temperature up to a good level.
“But in the future, the point will be reached at which it will be simply uneconomical to adapt diesel drive systems to the requirements of an increasingly ambitious legislation. Then electric mobility will play the decisive role.”
– BMW CEO Harald Kruger
By 2016 the BMW i3 could have a new 150 mile range. This ties in with the announcement of the launch of the i5 in 2020, which is expected to have a 200-mile range.¹ Investment by Samsung SDI into their battery technology will improve capacity and double the driving distances, holding 250 Wh/kg of energy, compared with 130 Wh/kg today.²
Bosch’s newly acquired Seeo battery (pictured above), uses a solid state chemistry, capable of holding 400Wh/kg. It should be production-ready in less than 5 years.³
Since the launch of EV’s in recent years, the take-up has exceeded expectations and more people will begin to buy as battery technology like this, increases range.
Some i3's are fitted with run-flat tyres. When you get a puncture, your car's system will tell you immediately that it detects a lowering of pressure in any of the wheels – just as I discovered recently.
The tyre was easily replaced by BMW, but could have just as easily been replaced by any good car tyre garage, although they would probably have to order the 155/70/ R19 matching tyre in, which might take a day. Hence going to BMW for immediate service. Unfortunately there is no spare space saver tyre in the boot. If you get stuck far from home, the SOS button will enable a telephone conversation with BMW assist where you can have the tyre replaced for you on the road side, or you car recovered to the nearest garage.
If your fob doesn't work, it will most likely be because of a dead battery. So to manually unlock the BMW i3, slide out the key by pressing the small rectangular button on the back of the fob.
Take the key and insert it into the driver's door handle. You will find the small hole for it under the handle. Please be careful to insert the key without scratching the paint. This will pop off the handle cover to reveal the door key slot.
Push the fob key into the door lock as you would any other lock, and turn carefully. Once the door is unlocked, when you open the door, the car alarm will sound.
Take the fob and gently place it against the side under the steering wheel, where you see the icon of a key printed on the plastic. This will read the RF tag inside the key to turn off the alarm and turn on the car.
You will need to replace the fob battery.
BMW is to launch its new color for the i3 at the Frankfurt Auto Show this September 2015.
Hopefully there will be other updates to look forward to as its been a few years since the i3's launch.
Since I bought my BMW i3 in December 2014, prices have come down a little. The i3 BEV otr price was advertised at £29,950 ¹, and now in 2015 it is £25,680 ². The i3 REX was £33,100 ¹ and is now £28,830 ². Making a reduction of £4270.
BMW advertise that you can drive away with an i3 for as little as £299 per month ³. So when I think what I'm saving on fuel prices at the gas station, I remind myself that this saving is going a long way to covering my car's monthly payments. (I was spending £250 per month on petrol, and I'm still doing the same mileage today).
Anyone thinking of changing their car should seriously consider the i3 for the savings you make in owning a new vehicle of this calibre. If you can do it by lease hire, then the Benefit in Kind taxation is amazing for Zero emission vehicles. Over my 3-year lease I will have only lost the price of fuelling a petrol car. I feel like I'm getting the car for free.
If more potential customers realised these benefits, I'm sure more would buy electric. In conversations I have with interested potential owners, it's the price that puts them off, when they haven't considered the savings (mentioned above); and then their next question is the range of the car – most car journeys are no more on average than 7.3 miles per day!†. But should that figure seem skewed to you, then let's consider that perhaps most of us rarely find ourselves driving more than 50 miles a day - and for a single charge, that's still well within range.
So if you already own the i3, perhaps explain this to others, or send them this page link. I'd like to think more of us could be driving electric when we hadn't thought it was possible.
The used EV market is beginning to take form. Up until now, nobody could predict the demand for second-hand EVs. But now that time (and milage) is here, we can see that second-hand BMW i3 could be stronger than we might have thought:
So the average price in 2015 is £24,736, which is only a small drop from the £28,000 price tag for a brand new model. This is an indicator of the strong BMW brand and the existing 8-year or 100,000 battery warranty being passed on in the next sale, not to mention anything remaining of the 3-year vehicle warranty. If you also consider for a moment, this loss is the same as the £4,500 government grant. In fact the depreciation may not have passed on to any seller just yet.
Prices Sept 2015. Source - http://www.autotrader.co.uk/used-cars/bmw/i3
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
– George Bernard Shaw
While you are planning a route where you might need to recharge half way, it is a good idea to call the electric charging company ahead of your journey just to make sure that their chargers are working and not out of order. This might seem a bit daft because you don't call a petrol station to ask if their pumps are working, but as this new technology takes off, it's best to be sure that your journey is not hindered by faulty equipment. Any charger company can remotely check their machines though their computer network. Your BMW's navigation system will tell you what company is providing which charger at the service station you are aiming for; and Zap-map.com is another great tool when pre-planning a long drive.
This is a great tip, and your should take the time to program the buttons as they respond immediately when pressed, making direct functions to radio stations, navigation destinations, phone numbers, petrol engine start/stop, turn off the display and menu entries quick and easy. The settings are stored for the Profile currently in use.
Here's how to save the functions:
To delete the button assignments, hold down numbers 1 and 8 simultaneously for 5-seconds. Then click "OK".
If you want to reset your milage ODO without going through the computer menu, there's a little and descrete reset button on the left side of the speed-o-meter.
In case of an electrical malfunction of the charging port lock, the charging port flap can be manually unlocked.
Open rear door on the side of the charging port flap and remove the foam cover. Pull the blue knob, arrow. This releases the charging port flap. If necessary, press the knob back into the initial position.
Your BMW i3 is fitted with a front-end collision sensor which constantly monitors the road ahead and keeps a look out for pedestrians. It can be set to brake your i3 'Early' or 'Late', depending on your preference.
However, in very heavy rain or foggy conditions the computer warns you that the sensor can no longer calibrate the distance in front of the car.
The sensor camera, which the warning refers to, is housed in the front of the rear view mirror unit. It would great if BMW could update their software so this little camera could be used as a dash-cam, but the software currently doesn't allow for this. Also there would need to be a micro sd-card installed that could store the data for later retrieval.
Incidentally, the circular sensor below the camera is another sensor for the automatic windscreen wipers.
Your BMW i3's front lights have fibre optic LED daytime running lights for safe driving. These LEDs come with both front lighting options as standard. The i3 can be purchased with one of two front light options. The first is a standard halogen, which gives off a very bright, slightly yellow light; and the other option, costing an additional £710, is the LED adaptive lighting, giving a very white light.
The adaptive LED front lights follow the car's steering, helping to provide more light on tight left and righthand turns. They do not function by boxing off or blocking out the i3's full beams to oncoming or followed traffic ahead. This is because the front lights are not capable for full beam. Instead, the full beams are below on the front bumper. The Apaptive LEDs are also self-levelling, depending on the weight in the back of the car. The LEDs also consume less power to run than the standard halogens.
There is a setting on both options which is important to note: On the lighting dial, situated down between the steering wheel and the door, there is a side-light setting. This dims the LED daytime running lights, but turns on the rear lights. This is useful to save a little more power if you need your rear lights, but not wasting power on the main lamps on a cloudy morning.
A lot of people assume the lower lights on the front bumper, where the indicators are housed, are the fog lights. But they are in fact the full beams. The i3's do not have front fogs – only rears. If you have the standard halogen lights, there will be a manual option to raise and lower the main lights on the same lighting dial. In foggy weather you can manually adjust them to point lower to avoid the glare of your lights bouncing directly off the fog at you.
The i3's key fob comes with a semi-transparent protective case and also a diamond icon button which can be re-programmed to do one of three functions.
You can change this button's function to either turn on Auxiliary Climate Control (preconditions the interior of the car before driving); open the Tailgate (useful if you've got your hands full – however this doesn't fully open the boot door); or turn on the Home Lights (this turns on the head and tail lights – useful if you need to find your car in a carpark at night without unlocking the doors).
Another good tip is to 'long-press' the unlock button and the windows will fully open as the doors unlock. Keep your finger held down to open the sunroof too. As soon as you lift off the button the windows and sunroof will stop opening.
If your key fob stops working, you can pull out the key and insert it into the bottom of the door handle, where you see a vert descrete rectangular slot. This pops off the cover of the handle and allows you to up the door manually. You will then need to reset your key fob by holding it over the key fob symbol on the steering column closes to the door, where the painted key symbol sits. Follow the instructions on the i3 screen.
Here are two neat little tips for the wing mirror controls.
On the driver's door handle, you can set the near-side mirror to automatially tip downwards to show you the kerb when you're reverse parking.
Move the switch away from you, as if you wanted to adjust the off-side mirror, then every time you reverse the mirror will move down to show you the kerb (don't scratch your alloys!). Conversely, if you switch the button towards you again, then the mirror will stay in the normal position. The driver's wing mirror does not tilt.
The second great little tip, and this is really clever thinking by BMW, is in the near-side wing mirror again. It will tilt outwards when you have the near-side indicator (turn signal) on and full steering lock. This helps the driver to see the blind spot at the near-side of the car before turning, or pulling out.
Try these out for yourself.
The most common problem with removing a parcel shelf from the boot is to try to lift it out at an angle, or to try and turn it on its side before pulling it out.
If you do that, the shelf will rub against the door seals and you could cause some damage. The most simple way to remove it is to lay it down again once you have unclipped the strings, and gently pull it out of its hinges towards you. Don't try to lift it at an angle again, or take one corner out before the other – just simply slide it flat towards you.
The BMW SIM card is permanently installed so you can use BMW ConnectedDrive functions such as BMW TeleServices, Concierge Services, Internet, Remote Services and Real Time Traffic Information in many countries around the world, without needing your own mobile phone. At the same time, the integrated SIM card is a prerequisite for using these services. If you ordered either the ConnectedDrive Services or Intelligent Emergency Call options, the SIM card is directly installed into the i3. This makes it accident-proof and assures you of a direct link to the outside world even in difficult situations. Also see the SOS Button article further down the page.
BMW look after the SIM card charges so that you never have to top it up.
When you're in Eco Pro+ mode, your i3 will be limited to 55 mph. But when you're up at that speed, if you need to, in special circumstances, you can press harder on the accelerator and the car will break this limit and go faster. There's a slight delay while this limit is forced. But the car will jump up in speed normally after that.
You will notice that the slow driving style prompts are now more frequent on the speed-o-meter. The car will be asking you to bring your power consumption into the centre of the power bars, for cruising or coasting, to save power.
It might also be worth knowing that the dipped beams (front lights) will be slightly dimmed in Eco Pro+ while night driving. Which is not noticable under street lit conditions.
To call this information graphic up on your display, you need to switch to Eco Pro mode and then select 'eDrive' from the 'Vehicle Information' menu.
The driving style analysis is a meausre of smooth driving, which will contribute to increasing your range. This is calibrated and updated on your screen very couple of minutes by the i3's computer. The two things that are taken into account are your:
The road symbolises the efficiency of the driving style. The more efficient the driving style, the smoother the depicted route becomes. If, on the other hand, the driving style is inefficient, a wavy road is displayed.
On the right-hand side of the screen also comes a star system, which is a fun way of rewarding your driving. On the morning drive run, my son and I try to get all the stars before we reach the school gates. Conversely, the stars are also taken away from you. Where I normally lose stars is on acceleration. I guess I'm still enjoying the car too much.
After a few requests, here is the tip for quickly finding the outside air temperature.
On the end of the indicator stick there is the onboard computer button which cycles through the information display. Keep repeatedly pressing the button to go through the following information:
You can select what information from the computer to display in the instrument cluster. Go to the Control Display "Settings", "Instrument cluster", then select the desired displays.
Zap-Map.com released an interesting article today revealing a new study suggesting that EV's are less stressful to drive than normal noisy fuel cars.*
The BMW i3 has great sound proofing from the wind and road noise. Personally, I have noticed this difference when I drive in my friend's conventional fuel car. The engine revving adds a layer of noise which now seems unpleasant and, oddly enough (for readers who have never driven in an EV), now also seems unnecessary.
70% of motorists are not wrong to suggest they would be less stressed in a quieter cabin. This is more true for drivers over 30 years-old. Just taking away that level of sound makes for a far more pleasant journey; and it is widely known from other studies, traffic noise can have an impact on people's health, especially in urban environments.
I very much doubt, that within my lifetime, I will see a shift over to fully electric vehicles. People for years to come will still like the raw sound of sports exhausts, but perhaps all it takes is a mental shift, such that has happened with the ban on smoking already in shared public spaces. Here's hoping we can reduce all our stress levels and improve the health of millions, at least for the new generation.
If you want to control some of the functions of your i3 without taking your hands from the steering wheel, you can use the voice command button to ask the car to perform: menu, mobile phone, climate, and navigational functions. Please click on this link to see the full commands list.
You'll notice a button on the centre console that has an A and M eitherside of a car symbol. This feature is already automatically set to 'A' as default.
'A' represents Automatic and the 'M' Maunal.
The setting 'A' circulates fresh, outside air into the cabin, past a special sensor at the front of the car, which will close the draw if it detects any bad air.
The manual setting 'M' circulates and filters only the air inside the cabin. So it has manually shut off any outside air from coming in.
I always leave it on automatic. However, where it might be useful to switch it to 'M' Manual, and save electricity, is during hot weather. Then you're not having to cool warm air coming in from outside the whole time when you have the AC running.
A very small but useful tip: If you ever want to cancel your i3 turn signal (or indicator), just push it again in the same direction. It's much easier than pushing it the opposite way when you might accidentally indicate in the other direction.
You can also toggle the indicator controls in the menu settings to have them wink once, or three times, per nudge.
100% green (wind turbine) energy used to power Leipzig factory, 50% less energy and 70% less water used,
95% of the car can be recycled
You might think it's your tyres, but it's not. It is in fact your turbine-style alloy wheels which are fitted back-to-front. As they rotate in the opposite direction they were designed for, the fast air movement over the black part of the alloy's metal edges causes the 'whooping' noise you're hearing.
The wrong way round? Sounds stupid... Well, look again at which way your turbine alloys rotate. You will need to remove and swap nearside with offside. The correct position, especially for the 429 alloy design, is for the silver leading edge (not the black painted leading edge) to spin counter-clockwise.
Youtube Source: surfingslovak
With the proximity sensor turned on, very quickly you can begin to judge the distances. The camera is almost a 180º wide-angle lens, so if you reply soley on the camera and ignore the proximity graphics (proximity, pathway and turning radius lines), and ignore the ultrasound sensor beeps (playing loud music), you could very easily bump into something. You'd be surprised how close you can park to objects with the entire system's help.
If you activate the Park Assist, by pressing the button down next to the Connective Drive controls, I noticed that the i3 will map the position of the car parallel and then the car behind as it reverses. If the car behind is on the curb your i3 will also try to mount the curb, as the assist lines up. Get ready to intervene by pressing the brake pedal to override the assist, or deactivate the assist by pressing the button again. To resume the parking assist, press the button again and follow any on-screen instructions.
Watch European Auto Source's production video showing how an i3 gets assembled from start to finish.
BMW rollout 100 BMW i3's* per day to meet world-wide demand.
YouTube source: europeanautosource
Hopefully you have bought an i3 with the DC rapid charge option. This looks like a rectangular port beneath your normal 7pin charger socket. If you have this, it will allow you to connect to the DC rapid chargers at motorway services, such as Ecotricity, who provide DC Rapid chargers at Moto service stations throughout the UK. Having this socket will enable you to charge your i3 to 80% in 25mins. Enough time for a quick coffee and it's off on the road again.
You can use the cup holder slots in the end of the centre console to hold the new i3 tablet mount. This is the perfect position, away from the windscreen and within easy reach. Also the charger socket is just under the centre of the i3 dash board, so in this position the tablet is just inches from a cigarette charger, keeping the cables out of sight.
You may have wondered what those three rectangular holes were at the end of the centre console by your knee?
These are slots to hold extra cup holders. There is already a cup holder under the armrest that can be taken out and moved to the front into one of these slots. You can also buy an extra cup holder from BMW directly here.
According to InsideEvs.com, it is best to leave your car with a 70% - 80% charge and leave it unplugged. It will be fine for up to 2 months. If you need to leave it any longer, please speak with BMW first. Unfortunately there is no timer in the car's menu that you could set to begin charging the day before you return home. It would be great if BMW could add this feature, but at the moment the timer only works over a 24 hour period. Remember to lock your home BMW pure wallbox to prevent anyone else using your electricity while you're away.
Perfect in city driving conditions, the BMW i3's tight turning radius (9.86m*) is comparable to that of the black London cabs (8m*), which have been designed to turn a full 180 degrees over from one lane to another without a 3-point turn. Personally I have found the i3 to be perfect for u-turning easily on most roads. Just watch your alloy wheels on the curbs. Incidentally, the turning radius of a BMW 320i is 11.3m*.
If you want to find out the standard widths of carriage ways in the UK, please visit Leicestershire City Council
BMW's i3 user manual states that you should not charge your car during a lightning storm. But what if it's 3am and you're fast asleep?
If you have an iWallbox, installed by Schneider Electric or other BMW specialist, then there will be an isolator switch (protecting the charger, and your car, from a power surge), and a seriously large earth pin added to the circuit to divert all that energy away from your wallbox. However, if you can, it is best to disconnect the charger from the car and turn off the wallbox.
Charging your BMW does not attract lightning. Especially if it's under a cover, and no, your car won't travel through time like it did for Back To The Future's DeLorean.
Contact with water and the high-voltage system is typically safe even in the following example situations:
The i3 has an automatic deactivation system should an accident occur. The high-voltage system is switched off automatically to prevent risk of danger to the occupants and other traffic.
Although some enthusiasts like to modify their cars to make them look sportier, BMW have advised owners or unqualified garages not to attempt to modify their i3's, unless they are BMW trained personel. This is primarily due to the chance of high voltage electrocution, even for simple things like body work, or retro fitting accessories.
So long as you're also cool with voiding your car's warranty, it is best not to tinker. Besides, the car is already extremely quick and turns heads everywhere it goes.
Having said that, there are some very cool looking mods from companies, such as the Japanese EVO-i3.
You can set up your BMW i3's computer screen to show one of four widgets available alongside the main menu. The default screen will then always appear with either the local weather and clock to the right; or your trip computer, showing a useful count-down of your range against the miles to the navigation finish.
Most people go for the Clock and Weather split screen. So I thought I would show users how to find this one.
1. Start on the main menu and nudge the central control dial towards you.
2. Select Split Screen
3. Scroll down the Split Screen Content list until you find BMW Online Widgets
4. Push down to select this option and, after the car connects via a 3G network, Widget Setting will display
5. Choose Digital Clock with Weather, then the screen will automatically take you back to your new main menu.
You'll love this fact like I do. Bridgestone were asked to design the i3's wheels and came up with this ingenious solution (which is a modern take on those used at the start of motoring). Their tyres are thin for the aerodynamics of the car, but also tall so that the large diameter of the wheel continues to give the same contact patch with the road service as a Mini Cooper’s tyres.* The contact patch is the amount of tyre that is in contact with the road service at all times. So not only do you get aerodynamics, but you also maintain the same grip. It looks like tall skinny tyres might be the next big thing.
QI: Narrow tyres are used by rally drivers in snowy conditions to help cut through the snow to the pavement. Admittedly rally drivers use tungsten-studded winter tyres, but the tyre's narrowness also helps.
For more information about Bridgestone's new Ologic tyres and why they might be the tyres of the future, please visit here.
This is a really sensible way of getting your car ready to drive, especially in cold conditions (and in the heat of summer too). You should be doing this before every trip, even if you are plugged into a public charger.
You can save yourself mileage anxiety and retain your electric range by heating (or cooling) your car's interior before you unplug from your charger. This way you will use the charger's power to preheat, de-mist or air condition your car before setting out. We have to think differently from our fuel driving days when there was no alternative.
Now this can be done quickly and before stepping into your car.
I recommend that you set-up the preconditioning timer in the car's menu options, or by using the downloaded iPhone or Android BMWi Remote app, which I take you through the set up of in another guide article on this page.
I'm saving £250 per month in petrol costs and still doing the same mileage. I put this saving towards the purchase price.
This app connects you with your car so you can see range distance remaining, driving style, and your car's location, and can set up preconditioning timers. All data that you set up, such as preconditioning or navigational routes, get sent to the car's computer through the app so you can plan your journey before you leave.
When you get your new car, you won’t be able to use the BMWi app right away. You'll need to register your car with BMW's ConnectedDrive. It's very easy. Just follow these four steps:
You can then set up timers for preconditioning, see your battery range, and remotely operate your locks, windows and headlights.
For further instructions download the Official 'How To' BMW PDF by clicking here.
The following table presents retail sales and registrations for the top-selling national markets by year through December 2015.
If you ever thought that the i3's regenerative braking was on the strong side, then think again.
Whenever you lift your foot fully off the accelerator, as all i3 drivers know, the car immediately begins to brake.
Having jumped in an i3, straight from a fuel car where you can coast with the foot off the accelerator, the regen braking in the i3 prevents coasting in the conventional sense, but hugely improves braking reaction time, so helping to avoid or reduce collision speeds.
The i3 can still coast like any car. You only need to keep the white power marker in the centre of the console, so you're not using or recharing any battery. This becomes intuative after a while.
The optimist would say that this type of regenerative braking is vitally important. The pessimist would ignore the simple fact that their braking reaction could be improved by this system. Wouldn't you and your passengers feel safer knowing that the ability to brake faster was built into your car? The time it takes to react to begin braking is an average of 1.5 seconds*, which at 55mph, leaves you covering a distance of 120.9 feet before the brake are applied. This braking distance can be reduced while your foot leaves the accelerator and moves over to the brake. So the i3's regenerative braking is a much safer system to drive with.
Source: Visualexpert.com, Marc Green Phd
Nuts 'n Bolts vs. Watts 'n Volts
This video is a great example of the advantage that the i3 has over its heavier petrol cousins, with the enormous amount of torque that its electric motor provides from a standing start.
Off the line and up to roughly 45mph, the i3 will match most fast cars. It's where its high torque gets matched a little later that gives the M3 its advantage to keep accelerating away. The result of this drag race is a close call, with the M3 "only just" winning. What's interesting is that the i3 pulls away faster at the start (also carrying a passenger), with the M3 levelling in speed near the end of the race.
It is worth pointing out that torque is what gets you to your speed and horsepower is what helps you maintain it. Most people really want torque and not horsepower when buying fast cars.
You might be right to say it's not much of a drag race because the M3 wasn't using launch control; but in this way it makes a good demonstration of the initial torque of the electric motor during everyday driving, away from the race track.
What I personally like about the i3 is that there is no revving on the start line. So it takes others by surprise when you plant all that torque into the tarmac.
YouTube source: Business Car Manager
The simplified graph below shows the torque of the i3 versus the M3. You can see circled in yellow the advantage that the i3 has over the M3. There is immediate torque for the i3 to use from a standing start.
Here is a great video of the BMW i3 on the race track, produced by BMW USA.
YouTube source: BMW USA
Obviously it's not just BMW i3's that have Anti-Dazzle wing mirrors, but the fact that the i3's have them is testament to the fact that BMW have chosen to included them as a standard for their new electric customers.
I thought I'd post this article because it's unusual to see them working during the day, and they look nice with their electric blue tint.
The i3's exterior door handle lights don't come with the standard interior package, but are part of the all the other interior worlds (Loft, Lodge, and Suite).
The light activates when the car is unlocked at night. It's an attractive extra touch, which creates a downlight strong enough to illuminate the ground right by both doors.
The door handle light only shines in white, while the interior lighting can be switched between orange (classic) and white (modern) in the car's 'light settings'.
The BMW i3 passenger compartment has been made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which is as strong as steel and 60% lighter (40% lighter than aluminium*). The frame was a joint venture between SGL Automotive and BMW Group. The carbon fibre plant is based in Moses Lake in Washington State and is powered by hyroelectric, helping towards the i3's green credentials that won it the Green Car of the Year Award, 2015. The carbon that goes into making the fibres is 95% pure and is produced in furnaces at temperatures of 1,400 degrees celcius.
Electric drive vehicles require important composit materials of this kind to ensure lightweight driving, longevity of the battery, and so improved efficency.
If you want to read more about the passenger compartment's saftey, the repair costs and ease of replacement of the i3's carbon fibre parts, please visit ecomento.com.
*Source: SGL Automotive
The only company in the UK that is authorised by BMW to install the BMW wall boxes is Schneider Electric.
You or BMW will need to contact them to ask for the installation ahead of your car delivery. It will only take a day to install, but you will need to give Schneider time to plan the installation. The basic cost for a standard installation will be *£560 inc. VAT. This includes the government grant (*£500), which Schneider take care of in the cost plan. If, however, your wallbox cannot be set up in the same room or garage as your electricity meter, the installation may cost you more as you will have to have more wiring installed to run to your mains electricity meter. This might include extra armour cabling, an isolator switch, an earthing system and additional mains board distribution blocks. Schneider will make this clear on any non-standard quote. Schneider also install an electric smart meter, a government requirement as part of the grant award, which sends packets of charging data back via a SIM to Schneider. This data is anonymous, but is sent back to compile data to plan electric driving consumption and new infrastructure for the future.
There are two types of BMW wallbox.
*prices correct July 2016 for more info on other charger options please visit Zap-Map
8 modules each with 12 cells,
(60Ah) 18.8kWh capacity, 360 volts,
8-year battery warranty or 100,000 miles, integrated liquid cooling and warming system to keep optimal operating temperature of 20ºC
The range on your i3 after fully charging can sometimes show as lower than the advertised expected total. Instead of 85-100 miles (BEV model) you see 65 miles! So what's going on here?
The car's computer is predicting your range based upon your car's settings and on your previous driving style. Possibly, too, if you were driving last time in very cold conditions, perhaps with an icy or misted windscreen from the set-off. Night time and rainy conditions require headlights and wipers. Hilly terrain can also put an increased drain on the battery. Windy conditions are also noticeable to the car’s range, albeit very slight. The electrical energy to drive through a headwind has to come from somewhere.
If you're seeing a 65-mile range on a full charge, you'll need to re-train the range-o-meter to start showing you better mileage. This will require a few driving style alterations and a couple of menu settings that should readjust your predicted range over a couple of days or recharges.
Lastly, start to enjoy saving your range. If that becomes your focus, you'll automatically become a better driver. 10 out of 10!
Now here is a nice surprise...
For a while, I hadn't noticed that I could tilt the i3's front seat forwards, like you do when you need to climb into the back of a regular 2-door car.
This feature allows extra room to climb comfortably into the rear seats. Not that I have found I needed it. But it might make things especially easy if you want to carefully take in and out a baby seat, for example.
When I was on my first test drive, the BMW dealer, who was about 6ft-4inches tall and who I never thought for a second he would fit in the back, climbed in without having to tilt the seat and had plenty of leg room while seated, too. The cabin space in the i3 is plentiful and very cleaverly designed with space in mind. Hence the reason why I never noticed that the seat tilted forwards before.
The hinge is just behind the headrest, as black plastic handle which you gently pull towards you.
The BMW i3 has a taller ride height than most cars. Probably more comparable to its X5 relative. Although the i3 is not a 4x4, it's ride height gives the driver a more comfortable ride and advantageous perspective of the road.
The short video demonstrates the views an i3 has on country roads. This applies in town too, where the designers have obviosuly condsidered the benefit to being able to see very slightly above most cars, enabling the driver to better appraise traffic flow.
The other thing about this video is it demonstrates the relative silence of the drive on a normal road.
The diagram below shows the ride heights of different BMW's. The top illustration is the BMW 3 series, which demonstrates a ride height of most regular cars. The i3 rides higher by 17cm and so is closer to the vantage height of the X5.
If you have the BEV model – that's the pure battery car – the motor has a slight electric whistle to it, very hard to detect normally, but almost audible on hard acceleration; and a winding-down whistle on deceleration (regenerative breaking), still very quiet.
I have listened to the REX model – that's the i3 with the 250kg onboard petrol engine – and although it is still virtually silent, you can hear the the generator humming along.
With all cars, though, you can never escape the road noise of the tyres. But with the new Bridgetone i3 tyres, they are designed to reduce the friction noise so are quieter still than conventional tyres.
I prefer the pure battery (BEV) version. It’s slightly faster and more silent. I don't need the full range that the REX offers as all my driving is local, yet I have 'braved' the long-distance driving and recharging successfully. More on this if you read my tips on public chargers.
However, with the quieter BEV model, it might be worth considering adding the driver assist package to your car's options. This will stop the car before you can react to any pedestrian stepping out in front, and believe me this i3 BEV can stop on a coin at 20 mph in city streets.
One in the centre, under the dashboard.
Another in the centre console under the arm rest.
And the last one in the boot.
The other great thing about the electric motor is that it will hold your car on a hill if you let lift off the accelerator pedal. The steeper the hill the more power the display will show it is using to hold the car. On steeper hills it is better to hold the car on the footbrake to avoid using more electricity, but the hill start is very precise and will not allow the car to slip at all.
I've never had the guts to try it. But this morning, I discovered that it does absolutely nothing!
BMW have obviously fitted a safety measure to prevent accidents. So if you ever wandering or were worried about accidentally pulling it up, you're quite safe from locking up the wheels and skidding to a sudden halt.
There have been a few episodes, in other cars, where drivers have tried to close the passenger window, mistaking it for a window button. I could see how this could easily be done if you had recently swopped from an older BMW. The 2004 BMW 325i, for example.
So you want to set up a dash cam, but like me, you definitely don't want to use the car's battery to power it. Most dash cams use the cigarette lighter socket, but if you do that, the drain on the small 12Volt in the front is suffient that over time the mcar's main battery recharges this small 12V. Then you begin to notice a difference in range over a long drive, or if you leave it in while the car is parked. The draw on the auxillary battery continues after the car is turned off.
So here's what you need...
I'm going to assume you are using a Blackvue dash cam for this purpose. So you'll need the camera stuck onto your windscreen and probably the best place for that is up at the top, next to the rear view mirror on the opposite side to the driver (out of your way and hidden). Keep in mind where the windscreen wipers reach. You want the camera to be able to record clearly when it's raining. Next you will need a UPS (an uninterrupted power supply). I would recommend the Lukas lk-530-12v battery. Finally, roll out the cable that comes with the dash cam. Thread this around the edge of your windscreen, down past the door, and under the dashboard. Use little adhesive clips to secure the cable. Once that's hidden and reaches the UPS battery, which you can store in that little net pocket in the middle between the driver and passenger's feet, you'll need to connect the UPS to the cable. OK, the camera will now record continuously until you flick the top switch on the UPS off. If you forget to do this, the dash cam will continue to record for the length of the battery (8 hours) or for the size of your micro SD card.
I keep the dash cam recording even while I'm parked.
When you need to recharge the UPS, disconnect the cable from the battery, remove it from the net pocket, take it inside and recharge it using a 14V 3amp laptop charger, which you can buy here.
This feature can be turned 'on' and 'off' in the car's 'Settings'. Once you have Traction Control enabled as 'Normal', your car will provide the right amount to traction in snowy conditions and also help to prevent you making icy cornering errors. I have noticed it working very well in snowy conditions as it limits the power to either both or one or other back wheels (rear-wheel drive). You will notice the ABS being applied occasionally, but this is to prevent skidding as you corner. This, in combination with a full set of Blizzak LM-500 winter tyres, will have your i3 very well set up for driving in snow.
However, as instructions indicate, there will be limited driving stabilisation and driver assistance, such as collision warning and lane holding, because of the already slippery nature of snow and ice.
Above your head, by the interior light switches, there is an SOS button, which uses the car's built in phone to dial up the BMW emergency service. They will ask what the emergency is and help you from there. So long as there is a mobile signal for the car to pick up, you'll be able to make this free hands-free call.
What you may or may not know about owning your first BMW i3. This guide will help you through the blind spots, inform you of things no one explained and left you to discover for yourself, reveal the nice little surprises, and help you correct the things that don't seem right at first. This is a guide for new owners, and we hope that there will be a lot more of you who follow.