Why the BMW i3-REx

Discussion in 'EV (Electric Vehicle) Discussion' started by bwilson4web, May 15, 2016.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,601
    12,482
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus


    So I have an offer of $28k (end of lease buyout) for a used BMW i3-REx and started analysis:
    [​IMG]

    It turns out that 'mi/kWhr' is built into the car displays so:
    [​IMG]
    • 746W (1 hp) assumed vehicle overhead based on Prius metrics. Needs to be measured.
    • 18.7 kWhr usable pack capacity - rated at 22 kWhr but BMW specs show 18.7.
    • EPA roll-down coefficients
    • EPA lists the battery range as 72 miles, speed unknown
    It turns out, Edmunds has done a long-term study of the i3-Rex: 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test - Wrap-Up

    Resale and Depreciation:
    We purchased our i3 with range extender for $49,999. After one year and 10,400 miles, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator valued the BMW at $33,300 based on a minimal number of i3 sales available for comparison at the time. Given the tiny market for EVs in general, we weren't that surprised to find little interest in our used i3.

    Following a prolonged period on the market, we sold the car for the best price offered, a disappointing $26,000 from CarMax. Even after subtracting the $2,500 California rebate from the purchase price, our i3 still depreciated 45 percent. That's the worst ever for our long-term fleet, but it's slightly skewed by the fact that the i3 also qualifies the original purchaser for a $7,500 tax credit, a factor that doesn't enter into the equation.

    Bob Wilson

    ps. Why.
     
    #1 bwilson4web, May 15, 2016
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
    thatoneraccoon likes this.
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    80,824
    34,790
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    why doesn't $7,500. enter into the equation? it's really a $40,000. car is it not? still a lot of depreciation, but it is what it is. we're having the same problem with the pip.

    btw, saw one yesterday, i still like the weird look. inside looks fabulous.
     
    Data Daedalus likes this.
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,601
    12,482
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    Although I appreciate the problems of the first owners, I'm a second owner and have my own issues. In one respect, I may have over paid by $2k but it was pretty much what the local Toyota dealer offered for a Level 3 + TSSP. Still, there is trade-off. Too low, and someone else snatches it.

    I checked the 'lease' terms and conditions. You put up +$4k to get about $4k tax credit next year then $250/mo. for 36 months. The ending value, $27k, so the $28k is not that bad. I'm much happier getting out of the 1st buyer mess when there are so many out to snatch the incentives away.

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    80,824
    34,790
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    buying a one or two year old car has always been the best depreciation deal, if you can get it direct from the owner. dealers love these cars. but it seems you have stumbled on something extraordinary.
     
  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,601
    12,482
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    LESSONS LEARNED

    Buying a car has changed over time and there are new tricks and traps. I've paid my tuition to the school of hard knocks this month. Hopefully, this will give folks some insights.

    Understand Fair Market Value

    Of course there are car value sites but they usually are in the business of buying and selling a used car. Take their estimates with a grain of salt. However, my 'gold standard' are completed, car sales on eBay. So I found the range to be $24.5-30k.

    Make Sure It Is The Car You Want

    At one point, I was in the bank and almost bought a BMW i3, not range extended, because I had confused my eBay watch list. It would have been a fair market value for a range extended i3 but it wasn't the car I wanted. Sad to say, I paid a $500 tuition on that lesson learned and helped by the banker. But I learned about the VIN look-up to see how the car was built.

    CarFax And Others Can Be Wrong

    So I found a BMW i3-REx in Houston listed for $36k under 'make an offer.' It was rejected but I got a follow-up e-mail accepting the offer (Huh?) Regardless, I started planning the purchase, had the loan lined up but two criteria needed by the bank, bill of sale (or sales contract) and copy of title, were not ready. The salesman was going to take the car to BMW to have the check lights fixed (4 year warranty with 2 years remaining.) At the BMW dealer, the warranty work was rejected:

    Hello Bob , thanks for the patience in waiting for the BMW . I just got off the phone with the dealership . The check engine light is being addressed . They informed us that this vehicle had been involved in a previous accident and would no longer have any factory warranty . There is no record of this in the Car Fax so we started a search . We were able to locate information of the accident . I believe in being up front so please click on the link below to view the damage . If this is an issue and you do not want to move forward I understand . We pride ourselves in letting customers know of any problems if we become aware of them . This is why we do an inspection before we complete a deal .

    [​IMG]

    I remain grateful to an honest salesman as this could have been ugly! Sad to say, the car was put back up on eBay without noting the earlier collision damage and still listed at $36k.

    I settled on a BMW i3-REx out of Charlotte NC that I'd identified in early May. But the VINcheck report indicated there was a lien. Calling the dealer, they claimed there was none and showed a CarFAX report saying the same. I called VINcheck and they said, call the dealer who I'd just gotten off the phone. Fortunately, multiple car check reports showed no evidence of a salvage title.

    Get Powerful Friends: Ebay And Banker

    I knew this car had the BMW version of TSS-P and loaded but there was still a question about the various car reporting services giving conflicting information. It turns out that Ebay has a powerful, buyer protection service and reading the terms and conditions, they will cover up to $50,000 to resolve a conflict. This includes a non-reported lien or previously unreported damage. So I accepted the $29.9k price which means I had Ebay warranty on my side.

    Now I had already gotten loan approval for 28K for the earlier i3 purchase. So I went back to my banker and had them handle the technical details of the purchase: (1) bill of sale, and (2) clean title. While I was in my banker's office, she was able to identify the first buyer, who he sold it to, and confirmed the lien was removed. She also explained how the dealer in NC could handle the Alabama sales tax so all I need to do will be the tags.

    In parallel, I sold employee stock and had a nice $29k cash in my brokerage account. The cash is delayed 3-5 business days but I had some small change. As practice, I wired $100 from the brokerage account to my bank and in the office confirmed it arrived and there were no fees involved. As early as Monday, I can transfer the money to the banker but I'll probably wait until I drive the car back home. The banker agrees so the loan is just a 'bridge' and there will be no car payments. After a couple of months, I may drop comprehensive ... we'll see.

    Hire The Dealer To Check-out The Car

    Having put $500 earnest money down on the deal and actives the eBay warranty, I ordered a "Used Car Inspection" from the local BMW dealer, the expensive $199 one that includes a road test. This fully meets the eBay warranty requirement of 'due diligence' and has the best expert eyes checking out the car. The car seller already has a 'series 7' at the dealership so they will drive the i3 over and return in their 'series 7'. They understand this is required to complete the deal. My banker agrees.

    BTW, the seller wanted to see my driver's license and insurance. So I added the BMW i3-REx with collision and comprehensive and $1,000 deductible. I sent the seller a photo of both and the banker was happy to see the insurance card too.

    I am scheduled to fly to Charlotte on Friday and hope to have the dealer report before leaving. The seller knows this but I am fully willing to take the flight and a bus ride back without the car. I'll also get a chance to see them face-to-face. Worse comes to worse, I can take it for an extended test drive and schedule the car inspection with the Huntsville dealer.

    Preparing To Drive The Car Home

    Thanks to a BMW user forum, I ordered a $150 software patch that allows setting the engine 'sustain charge' level to 75%, the European level, instead of the CARB 6%. What this means is I can leave with 100% SOC and after driving to the Interstate and getting to cruise speed, I can turn on the engine while on cruise control to keep the traction battery at 75%:
    • engine warms up at a low, highway, constant speed, load
    • when more power is needed, it draws automatically from the traction battery
    • full 168 hp is available while the 34 hp range extender engine handles any shortage
    My "blink" card for a charging network arrived in today's mail. I've also added two 'plug-in' apps to the cell phone. I've also learned out how to call the 'usual suspects' to identify charging stations. One of the i3 options is a high-speed, DC charging option, 80% charge in 30 minutes if I can find the charger. Regardless, I can run the range extender in 80 mile segments while maintaining the traction battery for all 168 hp.

    I also ordered Autoenginuity with the BMW option. This is a diagnostic software that will let me see what a BMW technician can see.

    The Plan

    There are two routes from Charlotte that differ by 7 miles: (1) via Atlanta, or (2) via Knoxville. Knowing Atlanta traffic and it is a 3-day, holiday weekend, no way I'm giving those cracker-heads a chance to dent my new car. Instead, I'll climb to Ashville and take the I40 pass. It means an early climb from ~700 ft to ~2800 ft which is an excellent vehicle test. Best of all, on the back slope, the car will fully charge … YEA!!!

    If I pass by a WalMart or Autozone, I'll pickup a spare gas can and fill it at my first stop.

    Google Map shows the Charlotte to Knoxville run is just under 4 hours, 230-245 miles. I anticipate two fuel stops for the 2 gallon, range extender engine. I will be climbing until I reach the pass. Then on the downhill side, YIPPIE!!!!!

    I expect to be at the Charlotte airport about 3 PM and have the car by 6 PM. The 4 hours to Knoxville will be just perfect and I'll have options: (1) nap at a charging station, or (2) drive until tired and take a nap on the way home to Huntsville. Regardless, I'll be home by Saturday sunset with our new BMW i3-REx. Along the way, I'll also take metrics to validate my BMW i3-REx model.

    BTW, God is laughing her nice person off,
    Bob Wilson
     
    #5 bwilson4web, May 21, 2016
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  6. silverone

    silverone Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    84
    34
    0
    Location:
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2014 Chevy Volt
    Model:
    N/A
    Looking forward to your initial review. You may have picked the best time to strike while the iron was hot, due to the publicity and lawsuits around the US spec battery buffer (which you've already worked around).

    I'm curious whether the 6% buffer would be sufficient for the relatively small climbs you'll be doing in this trip.

    Congrats on the i3, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
     
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,601
    12,482
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    I hadn't heard about any lawsuits but don't really care if the patch works.

    I had briefly thought about testing but 'Why?' Others have already paid that price and if I can avoid an obvious problem … promote myself to a better class of problem.

    Bob Wilson

    ps. More details: BMW i3 REx electric-car lawsuit: range-extender power loss alleged
     
    #7 bwilson4web, May 21, 2016
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
    hotelprisoner likes this.
  8. Frederickdawg

    Frederickdawg Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    584
    316
    0
    Location:
    Hernando County FL
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    I would never rely on any buyer protection given by eBay to buyer or from anyone else for that matter.
    Here's a good example, my mom buys a brand new car. 3 years later whilst I'm detailing it, I noted rust bubbles forming around rear wheel arches, inside hatch body seams and sill body seams.

    Long story short the manufacturer voided the warranty as they claimed the vehicle had a previous body repair. Bear in mind mother was first owner so there was no incidents during her ownership. The tested the body panels and all panels paint thickness was not original.
    Point being , the onus was on her to prove she hadn't crashed the car or had it painted. Her lawyers against the manufacturer.

    The vehicle was obviously damaged before being supplied to her and kept a secret by the franchisee.

    LG-H901 ?
     
    Andyprius1 likes this.
  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,601
    12,482
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    In my case, the incremental cost was modest and the terms and conditions clear. It isn't clear if the eBay guarantee was involved in your case but I've had good luck with eBay in the past. In particular, the occasional items shipped that were DOA. One more update:

    Finding Car

    Ebay has a feature that a search function will send an e-mail when a new listing shows up. So this morning:

    Following: bmw "i3" -series range > $15000 - $55000
    eBay item number: 401124062470

    miles: 4118
    asking: $27,980 (Buy It Now)
    The search function looks for: BMW (upper or lower case); "i3" case sensitive; without any form of 'series' in the description, and; price range $15-55k. So I used a BMW VIN decoder and found this one lacks many of the TSS-P like safety options and was built six months earlier which shortens the remaining warranty. The extra $2k covers the TSS-P like features not found on the 2016 Level 2 ECO.

    Bob Wilson
     
    #9 bwilson4web, May 21, 2016
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  10. silverone

    silverone Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    84
    34
    0
    Location:
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2014 Chevy Volt
    Model:
    N/A
    Here is the news of class action that hit the web

    Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against BMW For Unsafe i3 REx Reduced Power Operation

    That being said, I can't imagine the loss of power and resulting speed from the condition would be that immediate or dangerous.
     
    bwilson4web likes this.
  11. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,601
    12,482
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    "May 18" was the day I committed to buy mine and would not have changed my decision. As for the lawsuit, I'm not setting my hair on fire and not changing my planned route … up the Smokies.

    Bob Wilson
     
    #11 bwilson4web, May 21, 2016
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
    silverone likes this.
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    80,824
    34,790
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    i can understand some people not wanting to pay for the software patch. and if it really does brake from 80mph to 45mph when you hit 6%, that's probably not a good thing. class action lawsuit unnecessary though.
     
  13. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    13,769
    5,865
    0
    Location:
    eastern Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    tremm298 likes this.
  14. silverone

    silverone Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    84
    34
    0
    Location:
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2014 Chevy Volt
    Model:
    N/A
    I don't know exactly the i3's rEX mechanism for handling charge under 6 and 3 percent SOC, but would expect a warning period and then EV power reduced by half - just like the Volt in that condition. The modes provided on the Volt just make it harder to get into the problem, as I'm sure the software patch for the BMW will do.

    I've gotten to Propulsion Power Reduced mode on the Volt (due to operator error - no fuel) where they cut half the EV power, and it wasn't a drastic reduction for an interstate 6% grade hill 2 miles long, although I doubt I'd be passing anyone.
     
    tremm298 likes this.
  15. silverone

    silverone Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    84
    34
    0
    Location:
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2014 Chevy Volt
    Model:
    N/A
    Nor would I. Enjoy the trip!
     
  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,601
    12,482
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    Since I'm the guy who ran his 03 Prius out of gas over 40 times and the 2010 Prius just under 10 times, I may have a clue. Still, I was planning to make and validate some BMW i3-REx altitude vs kWhr charts:
    • grade vs speed @34 hp - how quickly can one ascend different slopes
    • mph vs MPG - how far one can one go on just REx
    • altitude change vs kWhr - how far up a hill can one go depending upon state of charge
      • regenerative efficiency on descent
    One thing not described in the Owner's Manual is 'creep', the synthetic forward motion built-in to the Prius that continues to piss me off. The accelerator initiated regen holds no terrors for me. I also want to confirm that shifting between "D" and "N" works as well as on our Prius.

    Bob Wilson
     
    Data Daedalus likes this.
  17. silverone

    silverone Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    84
    34
    0
    Location:
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2014 Chevy Volt
    Model:
    N/A
    I'm thinking the i3 has Creep mode, but it also has excellent regen braking and hill hold, so you might not experience too much creeping. You might be so enthralled by the one-pedal driving that you forget all about it.

    Your history of testing different operating conditions is part of what makes your EV choice so interesting to me. From 6-100% SOC, there's really not much to test!
     
  18. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,601
    12,482
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    It is the range extended engine system is what has my interest. First I need to benchmark the fuel-to-kWh efficiency. I need to know if it is linear and quantify. Then I can look at potential optimizations:
    1. tapping the ICE coolant system for cabin heat
    2. use of cooled exhaust to improve fuel-to-kWh efficiency
    I also want to map out the 12V and high-voltage circuits. After all it is just a power-wall on wheels. <GRINS>

    I am also interested in some aerodynamic tricks. It may be possible to reduce the coefficient of drag with a boat-tail, vortex generators, air dams or other stuff.

    As for the 19" wheels, nice to see Model A and T style tires coming back. But the OEM wheels and tires are specific to the BMW i3 series and likely expen$ive. So while the rubber is still good, I'll be looking at alternatives which entails different wheels and tires. In my case, top speed is less important and I like the idea of faster acceleration for some loss of top speed. I have no interest in speeds above 80 mph.

    The interesting aspects are not the traction battery but the body and engine systems. There are advantages to being 'the owner.'

    Bob Wilson
     
    bostonbruins8703 and Andyprius1 like this.
  19. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    13,769
    5,865
    0
    Location:
    eastern Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    I suspect you will be stuck with those wheels, if you don't want to hamper aerodynamics.
     
  20. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    22,601
    12,482
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    Actually I'll be ordering a tow kit and mounting a 'spare' on the rear. This means I won't have to use the tire repair kit AND can select a single wheel and tire configuration to test. Then when it comes time to replace the tires, I can make a sensible choice. Probably one pair of wheels and tires at a time over two years.

    The OEM wheels can go on eBay to offset the cost.

    Bob Wilson