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      12-05-2018, 02:21 PM   #1
Needsdecaf
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Thoughts on i3 for longer commute

Hello i3 forum members. I wanted to get your input on the suitability for the i3 as a longer distance commuter. This question will be long and have multiple parts, so bear with me (or click back now, lol).

The situation: I live North of Houston and commute downtown every day. My minimum daily commute is 85 miles. Many days it's 95 and if I go to visit projects, can be as much as 115. Yesterday I visited multiple sites and did 210 but that is rare, and if that happens I can take the wife's car. My current daily driver is a 2017 GTI. It's a lease, and it goes back in a year, or less if I trade it (not likely as I've run the numbers and shopped trade in values and I'd lose more now than pre-paying for the over mileage I'm going to do).

Things I like about the GTI - it's nimble and zippy in the crap-ass Houston traffic. It's sporty and engaging. It's relatively fuel efficient, getting just under 30 MPG which is decent considering my commute is either stop / go or cruising around 80 MPH.

Things I don't like about the GTI...the sporty ride and general NVH makes you tired at the end of the day. The DSG trans is good but not as good in traffic as an automatic or traditional EV. The interior is geared toward sportiness not comfort, although being based on a Golf it's not all that sporty compared to say my 911.

I've always been a fan of EV's and did a weekend test drive of an i3 about 3 years ago. I was worried about the range. Now that it has a bigger battery, I think the range is where I could use it most days, although it's on the edge and some days I'd be running the REX.

I know this is counter to what the i3 is for, it's mainly a city car. Am I better off getting, say, a Model 3? I'm no Tesla fanboy and while I do like driving the Model 3, the Tesla experience leaves me a little wary, especially when it comes to repairs and just goofy stuff. I spoke to an owner in CA who's had 5 (currently has a Model 3 and a Model X, and has also had 3 Model S's) who said that they are a total mixed bag, and that the stupidest stuff breaks. I'm not sure I'm up for being a beta tester for 5 or more years.

Anyone here put a bunch of miles or take longer trips in the i3? I know the performance is lower when the REX kicks in, how is it on the newer car? Can I code the REX to come on while I'm tootling around in town so that when I need more battery on the highway I've got it?

How is the ACC in traffic?

Thanks for opinions and insights all.
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      12-05-2018, 05:30 PM   #2
Paul Swanson
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All you need is a level two charger at your work. It will charge in five or six hours and you can drive home. The 2019s have a range of 150 miles. I have a 2018 I3s BEV which I live. I don't commute and I use it as an urban vehicle but I don't see any reason it would not work for you as long as you can charge at work. I would not get the range extender because it saps performance and the range numbers work for you.

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      12-05-2018, 07:27 PM   #3
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Use of ECCO and ECCO Pro will extend the mileage into the 200 mile range with the REX.
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      12-05-2018, 11:30 PM   #4
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I had a similar commute distance in the Bay Area, 50k miles in 2 years. Overall I think it's a great option, the only likely factor that I would add is the air conditioning demand in TX weather for the commute time will definitely hurt your real world battery range.
If you have charging available at work, it makes it a no brainer. For Houston style freeway driving it has agility with instant torque, or you can just coast without the constant stop start.
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      12-06-2018, 11:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
I wanted to get your input on the suitability for the i3 as a longer distance commuter. [...] My minimum daily commute is 85 miles. Many days it's 95 and if I go to visit projects, can be as much as 115. Yesterday I visited multiple sites and did 210 but that is rare
I'm sorry, but i3 will be a poor choice for your needs. For reference, I'm on my second i3, first REX now BEV. And I used to live in TX.

For starters, i3 is a sub-par highway vehicle, especially at TX highway speeds. Super-narrow tires tram-line badly, high-profile body produces massive wind buffeting - car gets moved around by passing semi's. Just a handful at highway speeds. I did take mine on 200+ mile trips, but quickly learned not to do that.

Then there is the matter of range and electricity consumption on the highway (goes way up). Add TX AC needs in the summer, and you will be lucky to get 70 miles in BEV mode + 50 miles on REX. You will need to recharge the car mid-day.

Finally, there is the matter of total miles driven. At ~115/ work day = ~2.3K / month = 27.6K /year, you are way beyond lease mileage allowances. So you would need to buy the $50+K i3 that depreciates like a used condom.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
I know this is counter to what the i3 is for, it's mainly a city car. Am I better off getting, say, a Model 3? I'm no Tesla fanboy and while I do like driving the Model 3
If you want a long distance EV, get a Tesla Model 3 (starts at $46K now).
TM3 is cheaper, has longer range (260 miles), handles and accelerates better, and has an all around more practical form factor.

I am not a Tesla aficionado either, but it just makes more sense.

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      12-06-2018, 01:03 PM   #6
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Thanks all for your thoughts.

Recharging at work is not an option.

I drove a REX today and it did ok on the highway, but I see what you mean afadeev. I'm kind of used to that with the GTI, but I can see the i3 getting pushed around a bit. I did about a 5 mile loop and it showed I was getting 3 miles / kwh.

Thanks for the mention about the A/C. I remember when I did a 2 day test drive a few years ago that the A/C was definitely on the weak side. I'm not sure if they've improved it but I can understand that it would tax the range pretty heavily.

Also, I found the i3 to just be too small, I think. Smaller back seat and smaller trunk than my GTI means even less practicality than I have now. Not the direction I want to go.

Thanks all. Looks like an i3 is sadly off my list, unless my wife wants one, lol.
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      12-07-2018, 10:38 AM   #7
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The i3 will not work for your needs. A Model 3 most probably will do, but you will have to create a strict charging schedule if you want to not feel range anxiety.

I do have an i3S and commute exactly 44 miles a day, and that works for me if I charge every day. Don't like to go two days straight without charging. Here and then I travel exactly 98 miles in a one way trip, and that is straight to the charger if I want to make it back home later that day.

Notice that I emphasize "exactly". This is no joke. Your travel situation exceeds my commute twice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
Hello i3 forum members. I wanted to get your input on the suitability for the i3 as a longer distance commuter. This question will be long and have multiple parts, so bear with me (or click back now, lol).

The situation: I live North of Houston and commute downtown every day. My minimum daily commute is 85 miles. Many days it's 95 and if I go to visit projects, can be as much as 115. Yesterday I visited multiple sites and did 210 but that is rare, and if that happens I can take the wife's car. My current daily driver is a 2017 GTI. It's a lease, and it goes back in a year, or less if I trade it (not likely as I've run the numbers and shopped trade in values and I'd lose more now than pre-paying for the over mileage I'm going to do).

Things I like about the GTI - it's nimble and zippy in the crap-ass Houston traffic. It's sporty and engaging. It's relatively fuel efficient, getting just under 30 MPG which is decent considering my commute is either stop / go or cruising around 80 MPH.

Things I don't like about the GTI...the sporty ride and general NVH makes you tired at the end of the day. The DSG trans is good but not as good in traffic as an automatic or traditional EV. The interior is geared toward sportiness not comfort, although being based on a Golf it's not all that sporty compared to say my 911.

I've always been a fan of EV's and did a weekend test drive of an i3 about 3 years ago. I was worried about the range. Now that it has a bigger battery, I think the range is where I could use it most days, although it's on the edge and some days I'd be running the REX.

I know this is counter to what the i3 is for, it's mainly a city car. Am I better off getting, say, a Model 3? I'm no Tesla fanboy and while I do like driving the Model 3, the Tesla experience leaves me a little wary, especially when it comes to repairs and just goofy stuff. I spoke to an owner in CA who's had 5 (currently has a Model 3 and a Model X, and has also had 3 Model S's) who said that they are a total mixed bag, and that the stupidest stuff breaks. I'm not sure I'm up for being a beta tester for 5 or more years.

Anyone here put a bunch of miles or take longer trips in the i3? I know the performance is lower when the REX kicks in, how is it on the newer car? Can I code the REX to come on while I'm tootling around in town so that when I need more battery on the highway I've got it?

How is the ACC in traffic?

Thanks for opinions and insights all.
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