Guidance on the i3

Discussion in 'i3' started by Ali Shafai, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. Ali Shafai

    Ali Shafai New Member

    I am looking for guidance because I am in the market for a car and I am considering the i3.

    First, a bit about me…

    My name is Ali and for the past 6 years I have been leasing a Fiat 500e [2 3-year lease terms] and I’ve enjoyed the EV experience so much that whenever I am driving our family car [Volvo XC60] I feel like it’s a step back! When I first started down the path of trying an EV, I was looking at the i3 but the cost kept me away.

    One of the main reasons that I have always liked leasing is because it generally allows you to get into a much nicer car as compared to buying with little out of pocket in acquiring the car combined with an affordable monthly payment. Finally, you get to walk away when the car starts aging and more expensive service schedules come into view.

    Now that the i3 has been around for some time and a used one can be had at a more approachable price, and because our family dynamics are such that it will be our backup car seeing less than 10 miles a day, I am now once again seriously considering it. Also, I have to turn in my 500e in February 2020, so I am getting a head start.

    But, I have questions and things that I am ignorant of which make me nervous. So, I am coming to forums to get educated.

    I am going to list questions here and if there are posts that it has already been covered, please point me to it and I will go read about it.

    Thank you, in advance!

    Is there a model year sweet spot in terms of options vs. price trade-off that I should keep in mind?

    What do you recommend as the [must have] options for the car?

    Which options, colors, and model years should be avoided?

    How long is the battery expected to be in good working order?

    When I buy a used i3, does the warranty on the battery and/or the car itself transfer over to me as the new owner?

    My 500e has basically been maintenance-free, with only a tire rotation in 3 years of use. Is the I3 similar or are there more regular maintenance needed.

    What type of maintenance is needed for an i3?

    Does BMW cover maintenance for a certain number of years or mileage for the owner of the car. If so, is it only for the original owner?

    I am nervous about [buying] an EV, because I see that their value drops dramatically with each passing year. How big of a concern is this in case I want to sell the car in the future?

    In looking for the car, is the dealer the best way to go or should I also entertain services like Carvana and private parties?

    Is there a service that you know of where they can evaluate the car holistically and let you know whether you are getting a car in good operating condition?

    Finally, what tips/tricks, gotchas or anything hidden or not commonly known things should I watch out for as I look around for the car.
     
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member

    . . .

    Is there a model year sweet spot in terms of options vs. price trade-off that I should keep in mind?
    Any after 2014 and 2016 is pretty good.

    What do you recommend as the [must have] options for the car?

    I got the Rex because in 2016, charging options were thin. It is better today but I still find Electrify America unreliable and with EVgo, expensive. Maximum fast DC charging at 50 kW is time consuming and expensive.

    Which options, colors, and model years should be avoided?

    The 2014 had 'infantile' problems that were fixed under warranty.

    How long is the battery expected to be in good working order?

    I don't know as mine after 41,000 miles seems pretty strong.

    When I buy a used i3, does the warranty on the battery and/or the car itself transfer over to me as the new owner?

    Yes.

    My 500e has basically been maintenance-free, with only a tire rotation in 3 years of use. Is the I3 similar or are there more regular maintenance needed.

    There are maintenance reminders. The biggest thing are the tires. I only got 34,000 miles on my rear tires. The front are probably good for 38-40,000 mi. But I'm anal about my tires being at maximum sidewall and perfect, 4-wheel alignment.

    What type of maintenance is needed for an i3?

    The REx needs to run every 60 days and oil checked.

    Does BMW cover maintenance for a certain number of years or mileage for the owner of the car. If so, is it only for the original owner?

    My BMW maintenance transferred without a problem.

    I am nervous about [buying] an EV, because I see that their value drops dramatically with each passing year. How big of a concern is this in case I want to sell the car in the future?

    Mine is not for sale.

    In looking for the car, is the dealer the best way to go or should I also entertain services like Carvana and private parties?

    Look for end-of-lease either dealer or independent dealer.

    Is there a service that you know of where they can evaluate the car holistically and let you know whether you are getting a car in good operating condition?

    BMW can do a pre-sale inspection. Get the car records too.

    Finally, what tips/tricks, gotchas or anything hidden or not commonly known things should I watch out for as I look around for the car.

    Look for 'BIMMERCODE' app as it allows you set defaults for more efficient operation.
    Also, join 'https://www.mybmwi3.com/forum/'​

    Bob Wilson
     
    Ali Shafai likes this.
  3. Ali Shafai

    Ali Shafai New Member

    Bob,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to provide a great response to every question. I appreciate it!

    Ali
     
  4. sipabit

    sipabit Member

    Learn how to access the secret dealer menu on the display and check the health of the battery. Youtube it.
     
    Ali Shafai likes this.
  5. Ali Shafai

    Ali Shafai New Member

    Thanks for all the information and tips, I appreciate it!
     
  6. sipabit

    sipabit Member

    Let us know if you ever get one.
     
  7. Ali Shafai

    Ali Shafai New Member

    I sure will. My current lease on the Fiat 500e is up in February, so I'll start looking starting in December.
     
    bwilson4web likes this.
  8. sipabit

    sipabit Member

    Look now. I just noticed a couple days ago that huge inventory is swarming the West Coast USA market. Not sure if the same is happening for you. It feels like a new surge of leases are ending. Big inventory and still very little demand for EV's and even less for i3's. A year ago, a base model i3 with 94ah was priced in the low $30k USD. Now a base one is in the low $20k USD and a nicely optioned one is in the mid $20k's.
     
  9. Ali Shafai

    Ali Shafai New Member

    You are right, thanks for the head's up. Unfortunately, the vast majority are not Giga or Terra. I will continue to keep an eye out as I'll most likely pull the trigger either in December or January.
     
  10. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Next March, if you live in the right place with good incentives (eg. California), an electric MINI Cooper SE with the i3's motor and a brand new battery will cost less than $20K. Even in a not-so-EV-friendly state, the $30,750 car will cost $23,250 if you can take the $7,500 federal EV tax credit.
     
  11. Ali Shafai

    Ali Shafai New Member

    Thanks for that head’s up! I heard about the Mini and also heard that there may be a wait as there have been a lot of people putting a deposit down. Even if the Mini is readily available, my heart and eyes are set of the i3
     
  12. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    The i3 is a ground-up BEV design that has more room inside, has a bigger battery, and yet thanks to its carbon-fiber body is still lighter than the steel-bodied, electro-refitted MINI. So if cost is no object or if size matters, the i3 is a good choice vs the MINI.
     

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