5 Things You Might Not Know About Your BMW i3

Saturday 28th June 2014

You’ve just picked up your brand new 2014 BMW i3 and everything is wonderful. It’s all so new and exciting and there’s so much to learn about your new EV. I’ve had mine for almost two months now and I am still finding new aspects of the car that I didn’t know about at the beginning. I’ve put together a list of five things that you might not have realised about your BMW i3 yet…

5 – Hill Hold – This works superbly well, I mean really, superbly well. Hill Hold is the means by which the car holds itself on a hill (upwards only, of course, you will need to use the brake if you are pointing down a hill) or on the flat. You do not need to put your foot on the brake for all but the very steepest hills – it has its limits. It is just brilliant. As you look ahead and see that you are going to have to stop, use the regenerative braking to pull up to the white line, which can be done ever so precisely in the BMW i3, remove your foot from the accelerator and sit and wait for the lights to change. But, do be mindful of always being prepared to use the brake if need be. Ah, if only everything in life were so simple!

2014 BMW i3 Power level controls
2014 BMW i3 Power level setting
4 – Charge Rate – The charge rate on the BMW i3 is preset at delivery to the default ‘Reduced’ rate. If you think it is taking ages to charge up your new BMW i3 then check the Charge Rate Settings.

Go to Menu – Settings – Charging, scroll to the bottom of the Charging Screen where you will see AC Charging Power. Below is the Level 1 and Level 2 settings. You can change the Level 1 to be Max (16A), Reduced (12A) or Low (8A) and the Level 2 to be Max (30A) or Reduced (20A). [Currently guessing about those numbers based on a total lack of info from BMW…] Do, however, check your power supply before changing from the default setting.

2014 BMW i3 US charging socket

3 – Rubber Protective Charge Port Covers – The rubber protective covers on the J1772 port can be easily removed to save time. It turns out, as far as I can see, that they do not serve any purpose. The door flap would appear to be totally waterproof and I have proven this by directing the hosepipe, with the water turned on, at the charge port door. Their only purpose, that is apparent to me, is to slow me up when needing to charge. Therefore, just unclip and store in a safe place until you return the car. The car needs to be returned with all accessories that it arrived with.

2014 BMW i3 front seat headrest

2 – Front Seats – With the front doors and the rear doors open you can get into the rear of the car by sliding in. The people in the front seats do not have to get out but they do need to remove their seat belts! But, should you need a little extra space then the front seats do in fact tilt forwards. This is done using the lever found in the back of the headrest on the front seats, lift the lever and tilt the seat forward. Place the seat back to its original position once the passenger is safely in the rear of the vehicle. Note: The rear doors cannot be opened once the front doors are closed – child proof.

2014 BMW i3 navigation palm rest

1 – Palm Rest – How kind of BMW to give us a padded palm rest for the times when we are using the iDrive system. My palm and wrist graciously thank BMW. Although I currently haven’t used it as I keep forgetting that it is there!

And there is a number 6 (from my sidekick) – sort of… How to defeat the charge cable lock – should you think you need to.

2014 BMW i3 US charging socket showing locking clip
Press the release button on the J-Plug whilst locking the doors – the little locking plate above the J-Plug wants to come out, but it won’t until you release the button on the J-plug. Slowly ease the button up whilst tilting the J-plug out and back… wait for it… the moment the catch starts to move, press the button down again quickly to block the catch coming out! The catch will stop automatically, thinking it’s out far enough but it’s not! With a bit of practice you too can defeat it every time leaving the cable unlocked for the next person to use.

Is there  anything that you think that BMW might have missed from the Manual?

Update: And a 7th curtesy of Eric Velasco in the comments. Sure enough, directly above the net on the centre console, there’s an unmarked 12v outlet, shown here with the cover removed:

BMW i3 aditional 12v port


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