BMW i3

Car Review: BMW i3 (2013-2019)

The BMW i3 is an electric car with head-turning, futuristic good looks. It has great eco-credentials and is a must for anyone looking to purchase a second hand model. Just be aware you will pay more for the pleasure compared to other electric cars on the market.

BMW i3 Interior

The Good

1. 100% Electric cars don’t need constant engine and radiator checks and top ups

2. Great for the environment

3. Quiet compared to a combustion engine

4. The updated model released in 2016 can travel up to 186 miles on a single charge

5. Fun, funky, and spacious interior

6. Smooth, powerful take off

7. Charging stations are popping up at shopping precincts everywhere so you can partially charge while you shop

8. Also available with a range-extending engine (REx version) but then has an engine also

9. The rear ‘coach’ doors open backwards allowing more space to get in or easy access to adjust the front seat and pack/unpack shopping with ease

10. The owner’s manual has a ‘worst case charging scenarios’ section – an essential read!

11. Low running costs

12. Great technology

13. Recycled materials have been used for the interior panels

BMW i3

The Bad

1. Range is only 80-112 miles on early models (2013-2015) 

2. If you like the grunt of a powerful engine and exhaust, this isn’t the car for you

3. If left sitting for long periods of time, the overall battery life can diminish

4. Back seat passengers can’t open the doors easily

5. Unlike petrol powered cars that take minutes to fill, electric cars like the i3 take hours to fully charge depending which model year and battery pack strength you are looking at buying

6. Be aware you will need to purchase a level 1 or level 2 iWallbox electric car charging station at your home which can set you back a couple of thousand dollars with installation and labor included.

7. Some states also require a permit which costs anywhere from $50 to $200 as well.

8. Charge range drops considerably in cooler weather

9. The i3 has a lightweight carbon body shell which if damaged needs a specialist repairer

The Essentials

While there is no engine or radiator, or all the traditional elements used in combustion cars, you still need to do a thorough check of the tires, steering, and undercarriage before you consider putting a deposit down on one.

You need to do your homework on charging times for the cars battery pack, and do some research around your living/working area and shopping centers for charging stations should you need one. Also do your research on local laws regarding permits for charging stations to install at home.

Finally check for any recalls ­online for the particular model you are looking at, and ensure the recalls have been addressed.

The Alternatives

Nissan Leaf (2010-present), Volkswagen e-Golf (2015-present), Chevrolet Volt (2010-2019)

The Verdict (Out of Ten)

7 out of 10

Overall, the BMW i3 has awesome futuristic city styling and an impressive interior along with ‘Green’ credentials and great visibility. The main tip I will give you is to do your research for hidden costs before buying any electric car.  

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