One Year with My 2014 BMW i3

Saturday 2nd May 2015

The 3rd May 2015 is a very important date for us. It means that we have had our 2014 BMW i3 for one whole year.

Time surely has flown, from that first day back on the 3rd May 2014 when we picked up our i3 and all I could say was !?! WHAT !?! It did turn out to be quite exciting that day as we were the first in New Jersey to take ownership of a 2014 BMW i3 and joint second in the US with Eddie. That did make it rather special. Although I do have to say, that day is still rather a blur as in the space of 48 hours we had gone from ‘No, we don’t want an i3, we will never have an i3’, to ‘Well, actually it looks rather good, maybe just maybe we should think about getting one’ to ‘Okay, let’s do it, where do we sign?!’

Even though a year has gone by, every time I open the garage door I think ‘Oh yes, we do have an i3’. This reaction is purely down to the fact that we were never going to have one. I would have to go as far as saying that we were adamant that we were not going to get one. The novelty of having the car still hasn’t worn off, although I think I’d have to say that about all our Electric Cars as they are as exciting to get in and drive today as they were the first day that we picked them up. There is just something so different about Electric Cars that makes them so much more fun to drive.

It really doesn’t feel like we have had the car for a year already. We have 6,780 miles on the car and we are on a 12,000 mile per year lease. We just don’t do the same mileage that we once did (in the ActiveE days – 50,000 miles in 2 years and 4 months) and most of our driving is within a 30 minute radius of our house. Although we can be found taking leisurely drives on a Sunday afternoon, looking for new places to explore that are of course within our range of 80ish miles. Although I have to say, I am currently loving my range at the moment which is between 90 – 95 miles of estimated range and I’m at a consumption level of 5.2 miles/kWh.

The car is still rather quirky looking and probably always will be. There isn’t anything else out there that looks the way it does. It definitely attracts a lot of stares, with many people that I drive past doing a ‘180’. I always find it rather amusing that people stop and stare so much at the car. I guess it just looks so different and I think ours stands out that little bit more as we added some stickers to the car. I am even more amazed by the car that zooms up behind me, takes a picture and then backs off to give me some space. The only other car that we have and have had, that creates such interest and is photographed probably more is the Tesla Roadster.

I like that the i3 is different and a little space age, it’s well designed (apart from the drying issues – see below), it’s chocked full of technology and really is just so different. One of my favourite things on the i3 is the regen. I love how powerful it is and I still love the fact that I can pull up to the white line so precisely just by using the accelerator. I really like the hill hold too, although that has taken some getting use to. There really is not much use for the brake pedal unless you are pointing downwards on a hill, then you have to use it, you know, just to stop the car from rolling down the hill! Driving the i3 is quite stress free, if only I could just stop people from pulling out in front of me.

Well, just recently we finally got the State of Charge indicator that we had hoped and presumed would have been on the car from the very beginning. Although I am happy to have it, I am also slightly annoyed. Yes, I know I am very difficult to please! The annoying part is that I can only see one piece of digital information at once, I can choose from either the State of Charge, the temperature, odometer, average miles/kWh, immediate miles/kWh, or the time to display on the instrument screen. The time is displayed on the navigation screen so that can be taken out of the equation but, I am tired of having to toggle through all the other options. I spend too much time toggling, and I don’t want to have to do that. I really think BMW should make the State of Charge appear all the time. It would be better having the State of Charge where the trip counter is, maybe, as I don’t need to see the trip counter anywhere near as much.

One option that we picked was the bigger 20″ wheels. I am really glad that we got the 20” wheels, the ride is so much better for me. Although this bizarre tyre noise that they make is really getting to be somewhat annoying. On a perfectly quiet car there is just this continuous wub,wub all the time. I want my Electric Car to be quiet as it is supposed to be. That said, while on our recent trip to the UK, we spent over 3 weeks driving around in a herky, jerky petrol car. We did say, as we were driving along one day, that we would, at that moment, happily exchange the herky jerky petrol car for the annoying 20″ i3 tyre noise. But, that was in that moment and after driving the i3 again for a couple of weeks, I really don’t want to have to put up with the noise any longer. BMW – it does need addressing and the tyres shouldn’t make that noise – it’s not normal and it’s not a feature!

The i3 handles quite well, although I think if you lowered the suspension a few inches then it would probably handle even better – you know, if you could. I also think that would make it look even more awesome than it already does. The sport version of the i3 perhaps? Hmm, now there is a thought!

I am very, very happy with our choice of the Ionic Silver Metallic exterior and Mega trim interior. I love the pale grey of the interior and the fact that it is made of recycled material makes it all the more special. It fits right in with my sustainability goals. I think the colour combinations work really well together and of course when you throw on the 20’s – well then you have a rather nice looking Electric Car if I do say so myself. Which would be why we ended up with an i3 – I guess!!

I guess my one niggle with the i3 is still the forward/reverse selector being stuck behind the steering wheel – why oh why and what were you thinking BMW when you let that one slip through? Oh and my second niggle – Please can my key have the option to open the boot instead of the froot? Oh and my third niggle – stop the 20in tyres making the wub, wub sound. If BMW sort these three niggles out then the car would be excellent. As is, it’s close to being excellent but just not quite. Oh, and I almost forgot – a bigger battery please with more like 150 miles of range, although I will accept 120 miles! Or, how about a really good fast charging network like the one Tesla have in place, that would work too. Now, that would be the icing on the cake!

I would like to think about tinting the windows, just a bit to reduce some of the suns heat in the summer. Having seen what some other owners have done, it does look rather good. Although living in NJ I know we have to be careful about how much window tinting there is on the car – only police cars.

I may have spent rather a lot of hours over the course of two years and four months washing the BMW ActiveE but in all honesty I am spending the same amount of time washing and cleaning the i3. While with the ActiveE it was all about trying to wash off the white paint, I guess at the end of the day I just can not stand to have a dirty car. The i3 is so easy to wash but… A little note here to BMW – Please when making a car do not put so many nooks and crannies on the car that collect grit like it is about to go out of fashion and then are really difficult to get to, to clean and dry. I have never met a car that takes fifty times longer to dry than it does to wash. Even after opening and closing every available door, boot and flap there is still water dribbling somewhere!! Most bizarre – maybe I will get to the bottom of the dribbles one day.

To round up my first year with my BMW i3, I would have to say it is growing on me and I am liking it more each day but I would still have to say !?! WHAT !?!

Epilogue – When we first started on our Electric Car journey almost six years ago I never imagined that we would be seeing the variety of Electric Cars that we have today in 2015. From my first time out in the most awesome, if a little unfinished, MINI E, I feel we have made huge strides in the Electric Car world. We still have a long way to go and there is more Electric Car sharing to be had with the public but we are well on our way. It’s been a wonderful and fascinating journey that has led us to where we are today. We began as Pioneers with BMW, leading the way in the Electric Car world, then we transitioned to Electronauts where we soared to new heights and new mileage records and then we all came back to earth to become fully fledged Electric Car owners and drivers!


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