BMW I3S the first 2700 miles long post sorry……

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  • #98399 Reply

    Well I live in the Lake District, there are minimal electric chargers, the car has a small boot and can only go 170miles and then needs to be charged. Why oh why would I have an electric car when there are larger more middle of the road cars to be had??

    Well the truth is I wanted something different, yes there are savings to be had and environmental benefits to be shared but actually for the last 10 years or so, 4 or 5 changes of car have not really excited me with the progression I have seen. I’ve had from new BMW 535D, Volvo XC60, Toyota Avensis * 3 and apart from the power of the BMW they were all similar and I wanted something different.

    Well I read with interest about electric cars the pro brigade and the naysayers and both sides appeared to have strong arguments…….I still read the arguments aswell!

    Well late 2018 I borrowed a Nissan Leaf to see what all the fuss was about. I was impressed with the quietness not so impressed with car….too slow/minimal range…..however I thought that if the technology advanced then electric was something to be considered.

    Fast fwd to the middle of 2019 Volvo XC60 D5 RDesign lease coming to an end and actually I was quite glad….It was noisy, slow, old tech actually quite agricultural and fundamentally boring…. (sorry if you have one and like it, I didn’t).

    So I did what everyone else does, looked at the lists, read the reviews, got overwhelmed and then hoped more exciting vehicles would become available because the cars on offer felt like the Volvo XC60…..

    When the Ioniq and the I3 appeared I thought Christmas had arrived early here was potentially something different.

    The deposit for the Ioniq was ridiculously high so ruled it out of the selection process however the I3 was definitely an option. I went for a test drive taking my boy and was blown away with the tech, the performance, the quietness and how fundamentally different it was from any other car I had ever been in. Within 30 minutes we had decided that we were going to have one and we would have to work around its shortcomings (more on that later).

    We ordered an I3S (sportier version of I3 larger motor, lowered suspension, wider wheels, different styling). It was in Jacara beige, new colour this year with a 42kw battery good for 170 miles in summer reduced to 140miles when it’s a little colder (I’ve achieved this range in the last couple of weeks).

    Before the car arrived we needed to install a home charger, this was managed through BMW and really quite professionally because I was keen that the charging cable didn’t become a trip hazard or restrict access when the car was charging.

    October 23rd it was handover time, Volvo left at the dealership and I3S collected, I was quite happy with my homework and Youtube watching so the new car didn’t really phase me although I did need the help of Facebook forums to sort out some small niggles (all my operator error). Interestingly I felt I knew more about the I3S than the salesman a fact which surprised me given the I3 has been for sale for 4 years now and isn’t really a new model.

    Rolling forward to December, 6 weeks of ownership has passed really quickly, 2700 miles on the clock and no reason to contact the dealer at all. All charging has been done at home apart from once when I wanted to see if I could public charge (I didn’t actually need to, but wanted to be able to operate public chargers should I need to).

    The car is extremely futuristic internally (read space ship!) different materials, 2 large display screens, subtly placed buttons, no central drive train tunnel. No rattles, no noises and actually I sometimes choose to drive in absolute silence apart from the hum of the tyres. Lots of USBs available aswell.

    The seats are quite far back in the car which almost makes it feel like a two seater, the suicide doors are distinctly odd and interestingly the front seatbelts top body mounts are located in the back door frame.

    I specced improved audio, which I do like and having such features of Spotify, BBC news, the local weather, Wikipedia directly on the big screen is very different to the almost prehistoric Volvo.

    Probably my favourite bit of the car is the performance. Press the quiet pedal from the lights and it engages immediately and pushes on quickly…..its the fastest BMW 0 to 30mph ever produced and boy it shows. No noise and the large wheels, stiffened suspension help it to navigate bends well. Clearly progressing quickly consumes battery power (as it would reduce fuel of an ‘ice’ internal combustion engine). To this end it has 4 different economy modes which each reduce performance but increase battery range. The I3 has regenerative braking which actually charges the battery when coasting or slowing down a feature can see range actually increase on a journey…..Never seen that before!

    I expected to change my driving habits more than I have, I thought I would worry about range (I did worry once 68 mile journey required, 72 miles indicated on the battery. I drove very carefully and actually completed the journey with 5 miles left in the battery). Once I forgot to lock the car which then stopped it charging overnight automatically, luckily I had enough range but it could have a problem…..

    The boot is small of this there is no doubt, however I still have managed to get 4 adults with tennis bags an hour down the road and back for a cost of 80p

    I have solar panels on my house, its not too effective yet for powering the car because this time of year is not good for solar generation however from probably March to October (so long as the car is available to charge whilst the sun is shining ) I am hoping to take advantage of the rays and turn them into miles. The charger has an intelligent mode which chooses within reason when to charge (cheap tariff, solar, need).

    One nice feature the car has is the ‘Connected’ App which essential controls the car from your phone, set your departure time and the car will be warm, demisted and good to go. Its been nice this last few days…..You can set your sat nav, send your car an email, change the display, see how efficiently you have driven compared to other I3 owners.

    It has a really tight turning circle so is easy to park, visibility because of lots of glass is good (however a bit limited out of rear) and once you are in the car its quite roomy. The doors are of the suicide nature and in order to get out of the rear, both front and rear doors need to be opened which sometimes makes it difficult to get out in supermarket parking spots.

    One thing I have picked up through the Facebook forums is that many of the public charging spots are free, particularly in Scotland. Not once have I not been able to go where I want because the car was low on charge, so I do feel the car suits my lifestyle.

    Did I make the right choice for me and my family? Absolutely I thought that I would have to change my habits to accommodate the car, actually I haven’t really although the car took a bit of getting used to initially (is it charging??). One thing I have noticed is the savings are phenomenal. I roughly estimate its cost £60 in electricity to do 2700 miles, my Volvo would be close to £500…..So for me I am delighted with my choice. I love driving it, it makes me smile in a way previous cars didn’t…

    I do feel I can comment from a position of strength because I actually drive an electric car, many people judge when they have never even sat in one…….Please feel free to quiz me?

Viewing 10 replies - 26 through 35 (of 35 total)
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  • #98698 Reply
    Menorca Mike

    I will do Brydo cheers will have a test drive etc next summer

    BBC Breakfast expert, VW Golf driver.

    #98718 Reply

    Just a point maybe worth mentioning.  I’m looking at an electric car next year and have been doing my sums re electricity costs and off peak tariffs.

    I’m with EDF who offer an elcrtic car driver tariff with lower rates overnight; 8p instead of 14.133p.  Sound great, doesn’t it?

    When I worked the figures out on a spreadsheet, using my last year’s consumption and adding 10,000 miles at 3.5 miles per kWh this ‘cheaper’ tariff would actually cost me £28 MORE a year compared to my current tariff!!

    Why?  Because the Off Peak tariff charges a lot more for both the gas and electric standing charges and for the peak rate of electric.  The gas is a single rate, again more than I pay now.

    Moral of the tale – Don’t be conned by great sounding headline rates.  Do your homework so you don’t get caught!


    #98975 Reply

    #98983 Reply

    Thanks for the table, Brydo.  It illustrates my point brilliantly.  The first in the list, British Gas, quotes a great price for off peak elecy at 4.7p.  A shame they only provide this rate for 5 hrs which wouldn’t be enough to fully charge a low battery.  The other 19 hrs you pay 20p, nearly 6p more per kWh than my current deal.

    There’s no info there about daily standing charges or gas kWh charges.  I would expect that there’s no savings to be made on any of them unless you’re doing at least 12,000 miles a year and even then, any savings will be minimal.

    Maybe the situation would be better if you’re prepared to go against Fire Brigade advice and run washers, dryer and dishwashers overnight.  That’s not something I would be comfortable with.

    #98987 Reply

    Thanks for the table, Brydo. It illustrates my point brilliantly. The first in the list, British Gas, quotes a great price for off peak elecy at 4.7p. A shame they only provide this rate for 5 hrs which wouldn’t be enough to fully charge a low battery. The other 19 hrs you pay 20p, nearly 6p more per kWh than my current deal. There’s no info there about daily standing charges or gas kWh charges. I would expect that there’s no savings to be made on any of them unless you’re doing at least 12,000 miles a year and even then, any savings will be minimal. Maybe the situation would be better if you’re prepared to go against Fire Brigade advice and run washers, dryer and dishwashers overnight. That’s not something I would be comfortable with.

    Have a look at Octopus Energy

    In 2005 I suffered a brain injury which has left me with mental and physical disabilities.
    Unfortunately I do get confused and get things wrong, so I apologise in advance.

    #99013 Reply


    ‘The differences in dual fuel charges per supplier, EDF, Octopus Energy or British Gas pail into insignificance when comparing the savings against a petrol or diesel car.

    Everyone should look around for the best deal. I currently own a 4 bed detached house with gas central heating which is being used a lot at this time of the year. I have an electric oven, dishwasher, computer, washing machine, separate dryer as well as lots of other electric devices. My daily electric consumption is 7Kw per day. So 20pence or 30 pence or 40 pence per Kw is not going to make a massive difference when compared to the money I will be saving against a petrol or diesel car.

    I drive 18000 miles a year and not only will be helping the environment I will also be saving hundreds and hundreds of pounds a year in fuel costs.

    5 hours charging each day at a rate of 4.70 pence per Kw will be more than enough to recharge my car. If you are talking about using a 3 pin plug to charge your car then 5 hours is nowhere near enough time. I will be getting the 7Kw charger for home which is a supplied as standard from BMW. I can’t imagine why other manufacturers wouldn’t offer the same unit power.

    The BMW i3 has a 42Kw battery. So with the 7Kw charger it would never take longer than 7 or 8 hours from flat to full. That is taking into account the extra time you need to charge the final 20% as to keep the batteries in tip top condition. I have no intention of every running the car down to flat. Therefor I believe that as long as I charge over night during the lower priced rates on offer I will not be exposed to the 20p per Kw charge for normal use.

    Compared to driving a petrol or diesel car the figures you are quoting are small. You are right, everyone should look around for a great deal. But from my experience the most important figure is the off peak price that will make or break how much you will be paying each year.

    To everyone, If you only drive 100 miles a day then go electric if you can. You Will save a fortune and help the environment- it really is a no brainier but if you like petrol or diesel cars then crack on 😊

    #99533 Reply

    So, further to earlier posts, I went for a prearranged test drive yesterday.  Having read much on the internet, and knowing what we need/don’t need (with regard to my wife’s mobility/health issues) and likes/dislikes I had a serious checklist to work through. I should add that I had driven our other shortlisted car (XC40) 48 hours earlier, and that ticked every box, so the i3 had a lot to do.

    The dealership/salesperson were great. However, the experience got off to a bad start because apparently their charger had broken (allegedly for the second time in 24 hours) and consequently the i3 only had 60 miles on the range indicating.  So, for someone new to a EV, immediate range anxiety!  They could have got round this by using the domestic socket slow charger, but they didn’t. Anyway, the salesperson explained that I was unlikely to use all that due to the regenerative braking etc. to I was reassured.  After a basic instruction course I was let loose for the afternoon.

    OK, the important first impressions:

    Entry/exit/wow factor: The car looks small when parked next to other (mainly) BMW’s. However, when you open the door there is a lot of room. I am 6’2″ and 18 stone, and entry/egress is easy, lots of headroom and seats are adjustable for height as well as the usual fore/aft and recline.  I was quickly able to get comfortable. There is NO lumbar support though, not even as an option, which may trouble some people.

    The windscreen is large and sits well ahead of the front seats, this adds the the spacious feel.  There is no transmission tunnel at all, so again this adds to the spaciousness in the front. There is a wow factor as the design is very minimalist, and the materials used throughout are high quality and different. A concern for me, being rather old school, is that “lightweight” is everywhere, which means things flex a bit in places and there was the odd creak from the door panel with my elbow rested on it. Similarly when the doors/boot are opened/closed they feel very light without the reassuring clunk of a conventional car.  Not a criticism, just something to get used to.

    I wanted to pair my phone to check the sound quality of the standard set up, and also wanted to use the sat nav just to get a feel for it. I have not used BMW idrive before, but I can see why people say its the best on the market. Really simple and intuitive to use. Fantastic.  I also like the simple/uncluttered driver display, very well thought out.  The sound quality was just good enough for the basic system, but audiophiles would definitely want to upgrade.  On the other had I received an incoming phone call and the sound quality was excellent.  Horses for courses.

    OK, so what about the driving?  This is where the ‘WOW” starts. Simply an astonishing and fun experience. Moving off in silence and building speed as fast or slow as required, all very controllable.  The one pedal driving for me was amazing, very easy to get used to in all three driver modes. I used the car on a mix of A, B and badly surfaced country lanes.  Overall I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the set up is relatively hard, but the soundproofing is very good and consequently for me the fun factor outweighed anything else. It is a car that I could easily live with and enjoy driving every time.

    With regard to my wife’s standard wheelchair, it does fit in the boot without the seats folded.  (The rear seats to recline slightly as well as fold, but I left them in the standard position).  There is no boot lip, so I found it easier to put the chair in and out than with our current car (a Qashqai).

    I did over 30 miles, and the range was still 45 when I returned it, so for me range anxiety should not exist and could be easily managed.

    I did not want to hand the car back because I really did enjoy driving it so much.

    In summary I would echo Ian’s words, “try one to see if it works for you”, it is an amazing car.

    Having said that, for me there are a few issues that are important to me.  At the price it is the BMW does lack some safety features. There are fewer airbags than on many conventional cars, and some safety systems have to be specified as extras, even autonomous emergency braking.

    The heater, whilst adequate, is not as powerful as from a combustion engine, and is degraded in two out of three driver modes. I could easily live with this, but my wife couldn’t with her health issues.

    Finally, we live on a hilly, windy lane which is not gritted in bad weather, so I would worry about the rear wheel drive and narrow tyres.  Again, I could live with getting stuck, but not with a wheelchair user on board.

    In conclusion, it was a close decision, but mainly for the reasons above I’m going to order an XC40 this afternoon.  I’ll have to carry on paying for petrol for the next few years!  I hope that I don’t put people off, the car really would work for many (including me if my wife did not have the issues she has).




    #99546 Reply

    Simono, thank you for a very good review. I think you’ve answered a number of questions for a lot of us on the forum.

    #99547 Reply

    The tyres on the i3 rely on the contact patch being longer (because of the large wheel diameter) rather than wider (as seen on most modern cars), if you do the maths the contact patch is quite similar to other cars on the market.


    An article on  i3 wheels/tyres –

    #99561 Reply

    Thanks for that, really interesting and I completely agree, with the last statement especially – that it is that everything on the i3 is as optimised as humanly possible. I think that is what I felt and remains the root of a few concerns.  I hope that my message is understood, that the i3 is an amazing car and actually better than I was expecting prior to driving it.

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