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  • FIRST POST
    • Stageshoot
    • By Stageshoot 5th Oct 16, 5:42 PM
    • 470Posts
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    Stageshoot
    BMW i3 Electric Car - Am I Mad!
    • #1
    • 5th Oct 16, 5:42 PM
    BMW i3 Electric Car - Am I Mad! 5th Oct 16 at 5:42 PM
    OK Just looking for some opinions on this prospective purchase

    First about my driving

    I cover about 20k miles a year for work. Most days I do about 80-90 miles with 5 or 6 days a month longer trips of about 300 miles a day.

    I currently drive a 2015 Volvo V40 D2. It gets me an easy 65mpg day in day out. Its probably the best car I have ever owned.

    BUT I have started looking at the BMW i3 (with range extender). About 80-90 miles Electric range and the little petrol engine as a backup.

    For Charging I have FREE Charging available overnight so on days I do 80-90 miles it will be totally no cost motoring as I can charge it free overnight.

    On the longer trips I can fast charge it free when I get to my location before return trip so only maybe £2/£3 in petrol on these trips.

    I love the idea of Electric but have baulked at it up to now as did not like the idea of EDIT (NOT HAVING) a backup power source the i3 solves this for me

    I will be in Central London 3 days a week so this will also save me the Congestion Charge as its CC free) and It would get me free parking/charging in Westminster. so saving parking charges as well

    (Currently when driving into London I have to get in really early to avoid the CC and leave after the charge finishes which is a pain sometimes)

    I have found a nice 65 Reg well specced i3 RE for £21000ish

    My worries are with the rapid changes in battery technology is this thing going to be as out of date as in iPhone 4 in 4 years time!.

    Will it depreciate faster than a standard petrol/diesel car.

    Am I best holding off on the dream of Electric for now and sticking with what is still only an 18 month old ultra reliable and superb Volvo Oil burner..


    I know its a very personal and subjective choice but would be interested in thoughts and opinions.
    Last edited by Stageshoot; 05-10-2016 at 10:26 PM.
Page 1
    • knightstyle
    • By knightstyle 5th Oct 16, 6:33 PM
    • 4,033 Posts
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    knightstyle
    • #2
    • 5th Oct 16, 6:33 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Oct 16, 6:33 PM
    If I were in your position I would go for it!
    But double check the agreement.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 5th Oct 16, 7:35 PM
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    AdrianC
    • #3
    • 5th Oct 16, 7:35 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Oct 16, 7:35 PM
    I currently drive a 2015 Volvo V40 D2. It gets me an easy 65mpg day in day out. Its probably the best car I have ever owned.

    BUT I have started looking at the BMW i3 (with range extender). About 80-90 miles Electric range and the little petrol engine as a backup.
    Originally posted by Stageshoot
    So the Volvo's getting about 15mpg (nearly 20%) down on the official economy, but you're happy to go by the official range for the i3...
    For Charging I have FREE Charging available overnight
    Umm, not quite. Somebody else is paying for that electricity.

    Who? Is it long-term sustainable? What if the charge point is unavailable for some reason - maintenance, or somebody else's electric car being plugged in, or this kind benefactor gets bored of paying for your fuel? You need to be away overnight - electricity available then?
    I love the idea of Electric but have baulked at it up to now as did not like the idea of a backup power source the i3 solves this for me
    You didn't like the idea of a backup power source, but the i3's backup power source solves it.
    <scratches head>
    The i3's REX is, basically, a small generator in the boot using a motorbike engine. Running on that alone, it gets about 36mpg, and you need to fill up every 70 miles or so.
    • Stageshoot
    • By Stageshoot 5th Oct 16, 10:24 PM
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    Stageshoot
    • #4
    • 5th Oct 16, 10:24 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Oct 16, 10:24 PM
    So the Volvo's getting about 15mpg (nearly 20%) down on the official economy, but you're happy to go by the official range for the i3...

    Umm, not quite. Somebody else is paying for that electricity.

    Who? Is it long-term sustainable? What if the charge point is unavailable for some reason - maintenance, or somebody else's electric car being plugged in, or this kind benefactor gets bored of paying for your fuel? You need to be away overnight - electricity available then?

    You didn't like the idea of a backup power source, but the i3's backup power source solves it.
    <scratches head>
    The i3's REX is, basically, a small generator in the boot using a motorbike engine. Running on that alone, it gets about 36mpg, and you need to fill up every 70 miles or so.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Fair points.

    Yes the V40 can give a lot more, I can get 80mpg if I drive it like a saint on the Mway, from what I have read the i3 figures seem fairly accurate.

    I have access to 3 charging points next to home with no public access and have already been promised access at night so thats not an issue. (I agree there is a cost but its bourne by the electric supplier)

    Confused over comments about backup power source (I said I had been put off electric before as there was no backup in case of emergency the i3 overcomes that) EDITED ORIGINAL POST (Missed out Pertinent words Doh!)

    Yes I agree when on Petrol the i3 is very very poor at 80 miles for 9 litres. and that is something I am taking serious account of, and working out how many miles a month I would have to do on the petrol backup.

    Thanks for your points and I do agree Electric is not the Golden Goose, thats why I was looking for opinions its very easy to get clouded view when just looking yourself with the thought of a shiny new toy.
    Last edited by Stageshoot; 05-10-2016 at 10:27 PM. Reason: Missed words
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 5th Oct 16, 10:30 PM
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    AdrianC
    • #5
    • 5th Oct 16, 10:30 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Oct 16, 10:30 PM
    Yes the V40 can give a lot more, I can get 80mpg if I drive it like a saint on the Mway, from what I have read the i3 figures seem fairly accurate.
    Originally posted by Stageshoot
    If there's a difference between the "real-world" results from each, then it's due to the electric vehicle drivers adopting a much more parsimonious driving style. Official figures for all vehicles, regardless of fuel source, are worked out on the same driving cycle.
    http://www.dft.gov.uk/vca/fcb/the-fuel-consumption-testing-scheme.asp
    • Stageshoot
    • By Stageshoot 5th Oct 16, 10:42 PM
    • 470 Posts
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    Stageshoot
    • #6
    • 5th Oct 16, 10:42 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Oct 16, 10:42 PM
    If there's a difference between the "real-world" results from each, then it's due to the electric vehicle drivers adopting a much more parsimonious driving style. Official figures for all vehicles, regardless of fuel source, are worked out on the same driving cycle.
    http://www.dft.gov.uk/vca/fcb/the-fuel-consumption-testing-scheme.asp
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Agree that it is probably a more frugal driving style on Electric that accounts for the better real world MPG. Lets be honest nothing better for sharpening the mind to economy than knowing you are up the creek without a paddle if you dont drive economically enough to get home ;-)

    Really the entire MPG testing at the moment is a load of carp that has been twisted by the manufacturers to produce very hard to replicate real world figures just to put a car into a low VED bracket.

    I had a 0.9 Twinair 500 and that was laughable trying to achieve manufacturer figures. (But the savings on congestion charge made it worthwhile)

    The V40 is more realistic 80mpg is more than possible locked on 56mph on the M1 on Autocruise but its just so boring.

    that is one of my main worries on the i3. I am not a fast driver and am happy to sit at 60/65 to get a decent economy. But do like the option to move if needed, as all the Electrics seem to be limited on top speed it seems maybe they suffer more than traitionals by giving it the heavy foot.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 5th Oct 16, 10:46 PM
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    AdrianC
    • #7
    • 5th Oct 16, 10:46 PM
    • #7
    • 5th Oct 16, 10:46 PM
    Really the entire MPG testing at the moment is a load of carp that has been twisted by the manufacturers to produce very hard to replicate real world figures just to put a car into a low VED bracket.
    Originally posted by Stageshoot
    I'm not sure I agree.
    The ONLY way to produce figures comparable between cars is to have a lab-based defined cycle, consistent over a fairly long time period. That's what we've got, and have long had. Before the current setup, we had static speeds. EASY to game.
    It's just that the engine management technology has advanced to the stage where it's a doddle to get the car to recognise when it's on the cycle.

    The fundamental problem is that people base their buying decisions on the wrong things.
    • missile
    • By missile 5th Oct 16, 11:09 PM
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    missile
    • #8
    • 5th Oct 16, 11:09 PM
    • #8
    • 5th Oct 16, 11:09 PM
    80-90 miles is the best the beemer will achieve on a full charge. In practice I expect you will get less?
    My friend has recently purchased a Tesla which has a far greater range. Nevertheless it was quite tiresome to wait an hour to "fast" charge during a longer journey.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home
    • sillygoose
    • By sillygoose 5th Oct 16, 11:31 PM
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    sillygoose
    • #9
    • 5th Oct 16, 11:31 PM
    • #9
    • 5th Oct 16, 11:31 PM
    Also be aware that heating, which you need quite often in this country also comes from the battery and will hammer the range down from the official. You can always use the heat sparingly but on longer journeys being cold is a miserable life.

    Also have you tried one? when the engine runs on an I3 its a bit frenetic, sounds like a petrol strimmer on full throttle about to blow up! (I have sat at charging stations with these parked next to me and always thought what the hell is that racket!)
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 9th Oct 16, 11:34 PM
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    Richard53
    I have access to 3 charging points next to home with no public access and have already been promised access at night so thats not an issue. (I agree there is a cost but its bourne by the electric supplier the electricity supplier's customers)
    Originally posted by Stageshoot
    Fixed that for you.


    If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart. (Attrib. to Socrates)
    • captainawsome
    • By captainawsome 10th Oct 16, 9:26 PM
    • 354 Posts
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    captainawsome
    Also be aware that heating, which you need quite often in this country also comes from the battery and will hammer the range down from the official. You can always use the heat sparingly but on longer journeys being cold is a miserable life.

    Also have you tried one? when the engine runs on an I3 its a bit frenetic, sounds like a petrol strimmer on full throttle about to blow up! (I have sat at charging stations with these parked next to me and always thought what the hell is that racket!)
    Originally posted by sillygoose
    Range extender switches off at 9mph so whatever is making the noise, it ain't the range extender.

    Also the range extender is exactly that, it's to give extra range. People look at it as a hybrid when it's not, th petrol engine cannot drive the car and is not linked to the drivetrain in any way it's just a generator. I think the OP is looking at it the right way though, petrol is a fallback not a way to drive around. (I know this has already been said)

    The earlier models would struggle to get 70miles of real world motorway driving, and as low as 50 if you drive it hard with big electrical loads on. The new 94aH models make much more sense and have DC charging as standard which is the option to go for. Long battery warranty and BMW standing behind the product (which they do quite well) would mean I'd be comfortable enough to buy one.

    Just my personal opinion of course, but I am an i3 fan.
    • bowlhead99
    • By bowlhead99 10th Oct 16, 10:06 PM
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    bowlhead99
    My worries are with the rapid changes in battery technology is this thing going to be as out of date as in iPhone 4 in 4 years time!.

    Will it depreciate faster than a standard petrol/diesel car.
    Originally posted by Stageshoot
    That's my problem with something like an i3 or Tesla, nice though they are. Bought new or nearly with top notch dealer support, great idea (albeit for a large cash outlay).

    But in 4 years time, things will have moved on. The type of person that wants an electric car, will be able to get one for less money as the tech becomes more ubiquitous, and the batteries get smaller and lighter and range gets longer etc etc.

    Their choice will be, get an affordable and reliable long range "traditional" car new, or a slightly older and not quite as good but way cheaper "traditional" car at five years old, like your Volvo...

    ... or a brand new super awesome electric or hybrid car with 250+ mile range and all kinds of auto bells and whistles...

    ...or your five year old i3 electric car, limited to 80 miles, if their batteries weren't on their last legs, with 2015 stone age tech that puts you in mind of a Sinclair C5 compared to the 2020 iwhatever model. I think it will date heavily and the kind of people who are into electric cars, the early adopters, will move on to the new model must-have tech. People will want the new new electric tech, or the old fossil fuel tech, but nobody will want the old new electric tech.

    So, depreciation has the potential to be pretty painful as nobody will want it any more than you do once the motor and batteries have 100k miles on them.

    I think the congestion charge thing is a red herring. At the moment, you either suck it up and pay the £30 a week, or you change your travel times to go in early and avoid the charge (and get lighter traffic probably). If you have an electric car you can have the heavy traffic and not have to pay the £30. But buying a £21k car to save £30 a week takes 700 weeks. A thousand weeks if you were willing to drive at more awkward hours once a week.

    Yes there is a fuel cost saving too. But laying out £21k for prospective per-mile "savings" does not always get you overall savings. Personally if I had a car I loved I would keep it, pay congestion charge and road tax when needed, and then eventually -once run into the ground- buy a proper modern electric, second or third or fourth generation or whatever, where they have solved the range issues, added many more charge points countrywide, probably steers itself, etc etc.
    • Zola.
    • By Zola. 11th Oct 16, 11:03 AM
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    Zola.
    I love the thought of an electric car but as you have highlighted, it could be outdated very quickly, as this is still all very much in its infancy.

    I would be inclined to hold off until it becomes a little more established.

    I prefer the Hynudai Ioniq personally

    http://www.hyundai.co.uk/new-cars/ioniq?gclid=CKKmyuG_0s8CFQYq0wodsrwJEQ&gclsrc=aw.d s
    • rhysadams
    • By rhysadams 11th Oct 16, 1:04 PM
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    rhysadams
    The i3 is a fun little car to drive and very nippy however on a longer run its quite scary and have been limited to 40-50mph on the M1 when the range extender kicked in.

    Personally I think you are on to a winner however I don't feel that the BMW is the best Hybrid/Electric car out there.
    • almillar
    • By almillar 17th Oct 16, 1:06 PM
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    almillar
    i3 is a great car, I don't personally like the looks, but the inside looks nice. By now you'll already know that it's only a 4 seater, and the boot isn't very big.
    Resale value - Tesla do, or used to, guarantee a buy back price on their cars - was this only in the US?
    And also, haven't any of you heard of PCP? I'm driving a Renault Zoe for 2 years and handing it back, and I don't care how much it'll be worth!
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 17th Oct 16, 3:14 PM
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    Gloomendoom
    And also, haven't any of you heard of PCP? I'm driving a Renault Zoe for 2 years and handing it back, and I don't care how much it'll be worth!
    Originally posted by almillar
    Depreciation is factored in to the monthly payments, but at least you do know up-front what it is going to cost you.

    If I have interpreted the BMW finance page correctly, two year PCP will cost just over £14.2k a year for 8k miles p.a.
    Advice; it rhymes with mice. Advise; it rhymes with wise.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 17th Oct 16, 3:45 PM
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    AdrianC
    If I have interpreted the BMW finance page correctly, two year PCP will cost just over £14.2k a year for 8k miles p.a.
    Originally posted by Gloomendoom
    So just under 89p/mile before insurance, maintenance, electricity etc.
    • gzoom
    • By gzoom 17th Oct 16, 7:40 PM
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    • 176 Thanks
    gzoom
    I have found a nice 65 Reg well specced i3 RE for £21000ish

    My worries are with the rapid changes in battery technology is this thing going to be as out of date as in iPhone 4 in 4 years time!.

    Will it depreciate faster than a standard petrol/diesel car.

    Am I best holding off on the dream of Electric for now and sticking with what is still only an 18 month old ultra reliable and superb Volvo Oil burner..


    I know its a very personal and subjective choice but would be interested in thoughts and opinions.
    Originally posted by Stageshoot
    Having now used a pure electric car (Leaf) as my main car for over 18 months I find it odd why any one would choose a petrol/diesel car if current EV mets their work/lifestyle needs.

    The i3 is a fab little car, my only real compliant it's just too small for a growing family.

    Real life range will be similar to the American EPA rating, the EPA range of my Leaf is about 75 miles, which is almost exactly what I get in real world use around the year. In summer it's as high as 90 miles, in winter worst I've seen is 70 miles.

    Regarding range/price, just bare in mind the bigger battery i3 has just come out, so you should be able to pick a smaller battery car alot less than £21k, more £18K, some apparently have been able to pick up ex-demos for £17K.

    Battery charge capacity is increasing all the time though, Renault have just announced the 40kWh Zoe which will have nearly double the range of the old i3 for £30Kish before discounts. GM in the US are about to start delivery of the Bolt, which is retailing for $37K and has a 60kWh battery. Tesla on the other hand have just introduced a 100kWh battery pack, but at a starting price of £120Kish.

    What ever you buy now will be available for cheaper in 2-3 years time, but like all things electronic, if you wait for the next best thing your never buy anything at all.

    I leased my Leaf and am glad I'm giving it back to Nissan, only because the extra-bit of range offered by having a 30-40% bigger battery makes long M-ways a reality. We've now got a order in for a Tesla, it's hugely more expensive than the Leaf, but will deliver the real world range we are happy with as a family. Even in 5-6-7 years time the Tesla will still be 100% suitable for our needs regardless of what else is on the market.

    Personally I cannot think of a better time to get into EVs than now, a few decades from now you can be proud to tell people you were amounts the first to get an EV. I still remember the first digital camera we bought, it only took photos in VGA resolution, could only store 16 photos in it's memory and the battery ran out of charge after about 50 shots, some friends at the time said digital cameras would never catch on
    Last edited by gzoom; 17-10-2016 at 7:44 PM.
    • almillar
    • By almillar 18th Oct 16, 1:58 PM
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    almillar
    Depreciation is factored in to the monthly payments, but at least you do know up-front what it is going to cost you.
    If I have interpreted the BMW finance page correctly, two year PCP will cost just over £14.2k a year for 8k miles p.a.
    Yep it's factored in, and can be ignored for PCP. My point being that with PCP the number at the end, is fixed at the start. That means it's simply not a risk.
    So, this was the answer to 'what if electric cars depreciate loads?' - that question applies to any car, but PCP removes that risk. Petrol, diesel or electric.

    It looks like people do have trouble selling second hand electric cars because of real and genuine concerns like battery life and the fast development of them. Biggest problem with it in my experience is with the Renault Zoe, and the battery rental that goes along with it. It's fine when you're buying a new one, and it's all just wrapped up in a PCP, but if I wanted to sell it privately, I'd be passing an £80/month lease onto someone else.

    Therefore I'd say PCP/Lease is the way to go with electric cars, but again, these are the most popular methods for people to 'buy' petrols and diesels too, so no problem there.

    If I have interpreted the BMW finance page correctly, two year PCP will cost just over £14.2k a year for 8k miles p.a.
    So just under 89p/mile before insurance, maintenance, electricity etc.
    Yes, as with most other deals. Granted, maintenance is sometimes included.

    For comparison, I'll be spending ~£4k running a Zoe 15,000 miles over 2 years.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 18th Oct 16, 9:32 PM
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    AnotherJoe
    Depreciation is factored in to the monthly payments, but at least you do know up-front what it is going to cost you.

    If I have interpreted the BMW finance page correctly, two year PCP will cost just over £14.2k a year for 8k miles p.a.
    Originally posted by Gloomendoom
    You must have seriously misread it. That's more than a thousand a month. A quick look at quotes is showing me around £300/month and anyway it's a £30k car so you'd pretty much have bought it at that price ! Were you looking at an i8?
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