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      02-15-2014, 08:29 AM   #1
jhv
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Video: BMW i3 - world's most desirable affordable electric car? by Autocar

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BMW, along with Tesla, is doing what looked impossible a few years ago. Electric cars are finally becoming desirable. Maybe it took the power of a couple of premium brands to help them on the way. Or maybe it's the radical looks and carbonfibre structure of the BMW i3? Either way, EVs are here to stay. And if the BMW i3 is anything to go by, they're here to be enjoyed, rather than endured.
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      02-15-2014, 10:15 AM   #2
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The more and more I see the i3, the cooler it seems to get. Not going to go out and buy one anytime soon, but I might try it out just for kicks.
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      02-17-2014, 09:04 AM   #3
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I have now driven it a few times extensively and each time it gets a little better. The sensation from the regenerative brakes of the i3 when you depress the accelerator pedal and it starts to slow down as if you stepped on the brakes still takes a little getting used to. Acceleration is quite nice as it's basically all torque from a standstill. Those who watched the drag race video of the i3 versus the E92 M3 Coupe shouldn't be trying to race any sports car, let alone an M3. It's even more obvious the M3 suffered from traction issues which is why it looked like the i3 was able to hang around but daily driving performance is not an issue. I tried to get above 75-MPH but ran out of street after nailing the throttle and waiting 15+ seconds. Handling was actually quite the surprise. I tried to get it to oversteer a few times but I only got it to squirm here and there. Perhaps an aggressive Scandinavian Flick was in order lol. Fair amount of understeer. The tires are so skinny! I think they are 155's lol. Still not thrilled about the styling on the exterior design itself but the interior is a nice place to spend time in. Oh I also did not like the transmission gear lever design.

EDIT: None of the ones I drove were the REX version

Last edited by Ghetto2315; 02-17-2014 at 10:34 AM.
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      02-17-2014, 11:33 AM   #4
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wow... I guess the engineers thought to themselves as long as we put a BMW badge on the car we can make it as ugly as we want.

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      02-17-2014, 12:37 PM   #5
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I think the i3 looks pretty sharp. But as I understand it if you have the range extender the car switching over to engine power is not seemless like it is on the Chevy Volt? Does anyone know what the process is?
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      02-17-2014, 01:00 PM   #6
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In my understanding, the gas engine never powers the car. It is only used to charge the batteries, so there is no question of switching to the gas motor - the drive is always electric
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      02-17-2014, 01:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rs_philly View Post
In my understanding, the gas engine never powers the car. It is only used to charge the batteries, so there is no question of switching to the gas motor - the drive is always electric

Yes, i'm aware that the engine is not connected to the drivetrain as in the Volt. But my question is can you be driving down the road using just battery and when the battery power gets too low, does the engine automatically turn on to charge the battery without the driver having to do anything.
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      02-17-2014, 01:34 PM   #8
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I am sorry, but the i3 is butt ugly and looks like a cross between the Smart Car and the Scion micro van thing. Would not buy one even if it were $15k.
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      02-17-2014, 01:49 PM   #9
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I am sorry, but the i3 is butt ugly and looks like a cross between the Smart Car and the Scion micro van thing. Would not buy one even if it were $15k.
Don't be sorry. You're entitled to your opinion.

I wish I could start a poll on here. I'm curious if there is a correlation between the age of a person and weather or not they like the i3. It seems like people feel strongly one way or the other.
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      02-17-2014, 05:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmin View Post
Yes, i'm aware that the engine is not connected to the drivetrain as in the Volt. But my question is can you be driving down the road using just battery and when the battery power gets too low, does the engine automatically turn on to charge the battery without the driver having to do anything.
Yes, that is exactly how it works.
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      02-17-2014, 08:59 PM   #11
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In other than the USA, it appears you can choose to turn the REx on earlier if it met your needs. In the USA, to get the HOV and special use things, the programming won't allow you to turn it on early, or if it does, only slightly above the point where it would turn on automatically.
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      02-17-2014, 10:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bimmin View Post
Don't be sorry. You're entitled to your opinion.

I wish I could start a poll on here. I'm curious if there is a correlation between the age of a person and weather or not they like the i3. It seems like people feel strongly one way or the other.
I am 44 if that matters. . Why not make an electric 3 series? Or maybe an electric 2 series? I just do not understand why Tesla can make a beautiful electric car, but All the major car companies produce God awful looking ugly electric cars. Almost seems like it's a conspiracy to force people not to buy them. The Nissan Leaf, awful and horribly ugly and the i3 is no better.

If Tesla produced a 300hp electric car the size of the 3 series that looked as good as their current sedan with a range of 240 miles for $60k I would own one today, but if BMW produced an electric 3 series with similar specs I'd buy the bimmer.

I do not understand how any man with an eye for beautiful women and cars could ever like the i3! If you find that Chelsea Clinton is a babe then the i3 is probably for you.
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      02-17-2014, 11:37 PM   #13
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i3 test drive.

I test drove the i3 this week, just for fun. Very impressive torque. Fun to drive. Awesome vision from the cabin: best of any BMW yet. Very comfortable cabin. Amazing tight turning radius. IMO, the exterior design is better when you see it in person.
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      02-17-2014, 11:40 PM   #14
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It's a city car. It's got a very well packaged interior. It's not a sloppy package built to conform to expected design history.

I've driven one and while I'm not a huge fan of the design, it's much more appealing to me than an F30 with a ton of batteries and an unused engine bay.

Ultimately, the Prius, Leaf and i3 look like they do because of aerodynamics and also to get noticed. It's a strong design, likely to polarize. You clearly fall on one side, I fall on the other. I think having driven it helped to change my mind, give one a shot.
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      02-18-2014, 06:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gastoys
Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmin View Post
Don't be sorry. You're entitled to your opinion.

I wish I could start a poll on here. I'm curious if there is a correlation between the age of a person and weather or not they like the i3. It seems like people feel strongly one way or the other.
I am 44 if that matters. . Why not make an electric 3 series? Or maybe an electric 2 series? I just do not understand why Tesla can make a beautiful electric car, but All the major car companies produce God awful looking ugly electric cars. Almost seems like it's a conspiracy to force people not to buy them. The Nissan Leaf, awful and horribly ugly and the i3 is no better.

If Tesla produced a 300hp electric car the size of the 3 series that looked as good as their current sedan with a range of 240 miles for $60k I would own one today, but if BMW produced an electric 3 series with similar specs I'd buy the bimmer.

I do not understand how any man with an eye for beautiful women and cars could ever like the i3! If you find that Chelsea Clinton is a babe then the i3 is probably for you.
It would be like shooting themselves in the foot. It's not cost effective. Until the production costs are driven down and the 'world' finds a way to make as money from the electricity powered cars as they do fuel powered cars, good priced sexy EVs are a to remain a dream. That's how I see it anyway
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      02-18-2014, 07:22 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghetto2315 View Post
I have now driven it a few times extensively and each time it gets a little better. The sensation from the regenerative brakes of the i3 when you depress the accelerator pedal and it starts to slow down as if you stepped on the brakes still takes a little getting used to. Acceleration is quite nice as it's basically all torque from a standstill. Those who watched the drag race video of the i3 versus the E92 M3 Coupe shouldn't be trying to race any sports car, let alone an M3. It's even more obvious the M3 suffered from traction issues which is why it looked like the i3 was able to hang around but daily driving performance is not an issue. I tried to get above 75-MPH but ran out of street after nailing the throttle and waiting 15+ seconds. Handling was actually quite the surprise. I tried to get it to oversteer a few times but I only got it to squirm here and there. Perhaps an aggressive Scandinavian Flick was in order lol. Fair amount of understeer. The tires are so skinny! I think they are 155's lol. Still not thrilled about the styling on the exterior design itself but the interior is a nice place to spend time in. Oh I also did not like the transmission gear lever design.

EDIT: None of the ones I drove were the REX version
I can't help but wonder how many wrecks will be caused when i3 owners/drivers switch back to a regular vehicle that doesn't stop on its own when you pull your foot off of the "gas" pedal? Humans are such creatures of habit, that I would bet money it will happen to some i3 owners/drivers. Or they will have a quick panic when they realize the vehicle is not slowing down on its own and then jam on the brakes real hard.
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      02-18-2014, 09:46 AM   #17
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No worse than when I kick the brake pedal looking for the clutch whenever I get in my wife's car.
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      02-18-2014, 12:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imola.ZHP View Post
I can't help but wonder how many wrecks will be caused when i3 owners/drivers switch back to a regular vehicle that doesn't stop on its own when you pull your foot off of the "gas" pedal? Humans are such creatures of habit, that I would bet money it will happen to some i3 owners/drivers. Or they will have a quick panic when they realize the vehicle is not slowing down on its own and then jam on the brakes real hard.
I suppose it's possible, but that hasn't been the case so far. Granted it's a much smaller pool but I have been in BMW's e-mobility program for five years now, along with over 1,000 others and I haven't heard of any incident like this. Yes, we have discussed this amongst ourselves (the possibility of it happening) but in reality, pretty much as soon as you get back in your other car that doesn't have regenerative braking, your mind adjusts to it without even thinking about it. I've driven over 140,000 electric miles since 2009 and probably about 10,000 in my gasoline car and I haven't had any problems bouncing back and forth between them, many time it's even on the same day.
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      02-19-2014, 06:44 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by tommolog View Post
I suppose it's possible, but that hasn't been the case so far. Granted it's a much smaller pool but I have been in BMW's e-mobility program for five years now, along with over 1,000 others and I haven't heard of any incident like this. Yes, we have discussed this amongst ourselves (the possibility of it happening) but in reality, pretty much as soon as you get back in your other car that doesn't have regenerative braking, your mind adjusts to it without even thinking about it. I've drive over 140,000 electric miles since 2009 and probably about 10,000 in my gasoline car and I haven't had any problems bouncing back and forth between them, many time it's even on the same day.
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      02-22-2014, 06:32 PM   #20
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In other than the USA, it appears you can choose to turn the REx on earlier if it met your needs. In the USA, to get the HOV and special use things, the programming won't allow you to turn it on early, or if it does, only slightly above the point where it would turn on automatically.
Is that true? Doesn't that ruin the range extender functionality? My understanding was that the range extender doesn't supply enough power for continuous spirited driving, that the car is much slower when it doesn't have any battery power left. You are supposed to plan in advance and use the generator to supply supplemental power so that you don't drain the battery as quickly. At least that was how it was explained in earlier coverage.

If this is true about the US i3s with the range extender, that means that all they are good for is an almost "limp mode".
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      02-22-2014, 10:01 PM   #21
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Is that true? Doesn't that ruin the range extender functionality? My understanding was that the range extender doesn't supply enough power for continuous spirited driving, that the car is much slower when it doesn't have any battery power left. You are supposed to plan in advance and use the generator to supply supplemental power so that you don't drain the battery as quickly. At least that was how it was explained in earlier coverage.

If this is true about the US i3s with the range extender, that means that all they are good for is an almost "limp mode".
It all depends on where, when, and how you are driving. The REx can maintain 'normal' operation under many conditions, but throw in an Interstate at speed, the seat heaters on, all of the lights on at night, going up a hill, and yes, it will slow down.

If I understand the OCONUS operations, you can turn the REx on when you want, or if you fail to, it will turn on when the battery level gets to about 18% (I think someone said even in the CONUS units, you could activate it below 20%, so there's a little leeway). The CONUS sales units have disabled that ability to make CA happy and to qualify for special consideration on the HOV lanes and some other factors. What's 'good' for CA, apparently is good for all in CONUS. Now, it's likely software, and there are coders out there. Whether it will be easy to change that setting, we'll have to wait and see.
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