by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on February 28, 2017
Our 2014 BMW i3 is long gone, but we recently brought in a 2017 range-extender (REX) model for short-term evaluation. The big news for this year is a redesigned battery pack with cells that yield more capacity (33 kWh) than the pack in our long-term car (22 kWh). This gives the 2017 i3 REX an EPA-estimated 97 miles of all-electric range and 180 miles with combined electric and gas power, compared to 72 and 150 miles, respectively, in our old long-termer.
That's already a nice improvement, but I found that by being a little lucky and not flat-footing the accelerator, the EPA's estimates can be surpassed.
by Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on January 13, 2016
Over a year ago we were eager to add the unusual 2014 BMW i3 to our fleet and test the range capability of the onboard generator. But as time passed, we began to dread the prospect of selling it. Resale values of electric cars are still unpredictable and all too often disappointing.
We offered the i3 for sale at the Edmunds True Market Value (TMV) price of $33,300 and got no takers. So we knew we had to try other sources.
by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on December 21, 2015
Electric vehicles tend to make for poor used-car values. All the tax credits and rebates are aimed at the first buyer, which in turn affects the vehicle's resale value. Why buy a 2- to 3-year old EV when you can lease a new one for less per month?
And yet despite knowing this, I wasn't prepared for the ridiculously low offer that CarMax gave us when we brought them the 2014 BMW i3. It's not that I was expecting our i3 to magically buck the low-value EV trend, but my research showed that I should have gotten a better deal.
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on December 16, 2015
Eleven months into our long-term road test of the 2014 BMW i3, we've finally crossed the 10,000-mile mark. Since our 5,000-mile update, we took the i3 in for its first service, stretched a charge out over a single week, and found that improving the range with regenerative braking can be fun.
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on December 1, 2015
The 2014 BMW i3 is not a good looking car. It just isn't. And yet for the better part of a year now, I've raved about how excellent the i3 meets the demands of an urban-bound, traffic-snarled driver. I could absolutely make the case for buying one, but could I live with those looks?
Absolutely. You see, its beauty is on the inside.
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor @ 9,746 miles on November 20, 2015
The 2014 BMW i3 has been in our fleet for nearly a year and it's finally due for its first service. With just less than 10,000 miles on the odometer, this maintenance schedule is pretty much in line with our most recent long-term BMWs.
Unlike our current M235i and previous 328i GT, the i3 has its own app that, among other things, informs the user of impending required service. Nifty.
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on November 17, 2015
The above image shows the driver door (left) and the passenger door (right) looking towards the front tires of our 2014 BMW i3. What's up with that gap on the passenger door? I wondered the same thing when I unplugged the charger last night.
Dan Edmunds and I took a look this morning. As it turns out, something broke.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on November 12, 2015
Is it odd that the most sophisticated car in our long-term fleet has the most straightforward climate controls? That's not entirely the case with our 2014 BMW i3, but it's close.
by Kelly Hellwig, Managing Editor on November 11, 2015
The trend continues across our fleet of test-vehicles. The temperature dropped from an exceptionally hot early fall to a more seasonably cool November and low tire pressure warnings have begun to ding.
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on November 4, 2015
This morning I drove our 2014 BMW i3 into the office. It was just after 4 a.m. so I practically had the freeway to myself. Being an electric vehicle, our i3 has carpool lane access stickers, so I was driving in that far-left lane on principle. In peace.
Actually, the car was doing most of the work. I had the adaptive cruise control system engaged so even if a slower vehicle pulled ahead of me, the BMW would slow to match its pace. But as I soon learned, the adaptive cruise on this i3 stinks.
by Kelly Hellwig, Managing Editor on November 2, 2015
Pop open the 2014 BMW i3's charge port and you'll find a handy list of color-coded icons on the flap that helps drivers discern their EV's current charging status.
If at first glance you don't understand the subtlety of the icons, the i3's owner's manual spells it out as noted below. The "indicator light" referenced is the thin white line located just inside the port along the bottom edge as shown in the photo above.
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on October 26, 2015
I made a call to BMW Customer Service and was immediately put on the line with a representative. After providing our car's VIN, the rep initially told me that nothing about a recall for our car showed in their system. She wanted to verify that however, and put me on hold while she contacted an i3 specialist.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on October 19, 2015
The term "suicide door", according to Wikipedia and its sources, became popular slang for a vehicle door with rear hinges because of the higher risk of opening at speed, either by accident or by a member of the mob. This becomes an issue for the person sitting closest to that door.
If you tried to open a front-hinged door at speed — don't try to — you'd find it very difficult because of the airflow pushing against it. A rear-hinged door that's opened while moving operates more like a drag chute, with a degree of violence that's proportional to vehicle speed.
Our 2014 BMW i3 doors may not be dangerous, but they still have an inherent disadvantage.
by Kelly Hellwig, Managing Editor on October 1, 2015
The local gas company was repairing a line behind our house last week, which blocked access to our alley, and subsequently our garage.
Needing some juice for the 2014 BMW i3, I pulled up the ChargePoint map to see if the Level 2 charger a half-mile from my house was available. It was, so I immediately hopped in the i3 and headed over.
D'oh! Not five minutes had passed and a black i3 had already sniped my plug.
Using my phone, I looked for the next closest charger.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on September 22, 2015
If you own a late model BMW, you may have noticed a button overhead with a phone icon and the letters "SOS" printed on it. There's also a good chance you've never pressed this button.
What does this button actually do? If you look in the BMW owner's manual, it says it should be pressed only in case of an emergency. But what constitutes an emergency? Does it have to be life-threatening or could I summon help for running out of gas — or in the case of our 2014 BMW i3, battery juice? What if the button didn't work?
I wanted answers, so I pressed it.
by Kelly Hellwig, Managing Editor on September 17, 2015
OK, I don't know that someone yanked the 2014 BMW i3's charger cord on purpose, but here's what I do know.
Late Sunday evening I parked the i3 parallel to my garage door in the alley behind my house. I plugged the 120-volt home charger into the outlet just inside my garage. I closed the garage door and went upstairs.
That's when things went awry.
by Kelly Hellwig, Managing Editor on September 14, 2015
Business buzz words come and go, with last year's "synergy" becoming this year's "pivot." After spending some solid time in our long-term 2014 BMW i3, I can't help but visualize the electric i3 every time some says "pivot."
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on August 28, 2015
When our vehicle sign-out sheet comes around, I hardly ever have the chance to put my name on the list for our long-term 2014 BMW i3. It's a shame too, because I really like this car for daily commutes. Sure, our Viper and Mustang are great consolation prizes, but I'd much rather have this zippy electric car during rush hour.
August 14, 2015
I experienced our long-term 2014 BMW i3's lighting of its gasoline engine, mid-journey, over the weekend.
For those wondering, it was 92 percent anticlimactic.
August 3, 2015
Naively, I once thought electric cars would never fit my lifestyle. But that thought occurred in my pre-parent days, back when I used to drive long distances (places like Montana) on a regular basis.
Now I pretty much only go to work, the grocery store and the playground, and I'm finding our long-term 2014 BMW i3 quite practical for those activities. Its slightly elevated ride height helps me prevent back injury while getting my kid and kid accessories in and out, and its gargantuan interior storage slots make it even more endearing.
Also, it turns out there are a lot of places to charge near my home, so if I owned one, I wouldn't necessarily need to get a 240-volt charging unit installed in my garage.
July 28, 2015
I like driving our long-term 2014 BMW i3 and I can't really explain why. I think it's a combination of the size, the driving position, the aggressive regenerative braking as you let off the accelerator pedal and the knowledge of its carbon-fiber-intensive structure. Whatever it is, I find myself looking for ways to fit it into my life.
I live 20 miles from our office, so over the course of a long weekend, I was looking for an opportunity to top up the battery pack. There's free charging near me at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, but I have a toddler so I don't have the luxury of going somewhere to sit and wait unless there's a playground. Instead, I wanted to charge the i3 while shopping for produce at the South Pasadena Farmers Market.
So I poked around on Google Maps and found a charging location at an upscale grocery store (Bristol Farms). I figured I'd I plug in there, and then my daughter and I would take the stroller to the farmers market.
Of course, I figured wrong.
July 8, 2015
The faux-grill on our 2014 BMW i3 is a nice nod to the automaker's design history. But because electric motors don't breathe air, the grill has no function. That means we can modify it without repercussion.
First: The color. BMW's Frozen Blue highlight nicely emphasizes the grill as a design element, but wouldn't it be nice if you could get something other than blue? Cue Photoshop.
June 26, 2015
There are photos of dirty cars here in California with the cutline, "Dirty for the drought." I thought of those photos when our 2014 BMW i3 was given to me covered in grime. I don't like dirty cars. But I also don't want to use a lot of water during this drought. I was in serious conflict.
Here's how I handled it.
June 23, 2015
I drove to a party recently in our 2014 BMW i3 and it sparked an interesting conversation. Instead of exploring the pros and cons of EVs, it morphed into one of those "I'd never drive one because..." conversations. One guy said, "The problem with electric cars is that if everyone had one, the grid couldn't provide enough electricity."
It left me speechless. He was right, of course. But it is also true that not everyone is going to suddenly begin driving EVs. In fact, after four years on the market, a recent report said the number of EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids combined is around 3 percent.
Another guy at the party, who knows I lease a 2014 RAV4 EV turned to me and said, "Aren't you going to stand up for electric cars?" I felt like a kid on the playground being baited into a fight.
June 18, 2015
The 2014 BMW i3 has a lovely case (cover? satchel?) for its owner's manual. It's a wooly grey material accented with a cool shade of light blue and a strip of tan leather that matches the Cassia Natural Leather found in the i3's Giga World trim level. Tres chic, no?
May 28, 2015
It's been a lonnng time since I've done one of these posts, taking macro pictures of the different surface materials in a car. But when I sat in our long-term 2014 BMW i3, I was struck by the variety of raw and renewable materials used in its Tera World trim, including dark brown leather seats, open-pore eucalyptus wood trim, and natural cotton weave. It's a collage of colors and textures.
May 22, 2015
Our long-term 2014 BMW i3 is BMW's Prius. Some enthusiasts decry its existence, but the i3 represents long-term strategic planning that gives the company a technological head start, one that will make the industry play catch-up for years to come.
May 18, 2015
So what have we learned in the first 5,000 miles of 2014 BMW i3 ownership? For starters, it's surprisingly fun to drive for a car with shockingly skinny tires. It also fits a rear-facing baby seat or a couple sets of golf clubs if you need those capabilities.
May 14, 2015
"If only I had just gone my normal route. I shouldn't have tried to outsmart traffic." These are the thoughts that entered my mind as I stared at a flat tire on our 2014 BMW i3 on a freeway off-ramp in Inglewood.
I was commuting to our offices in Santa Monica and decided to forgo my normal route to take advantage of the HOV lane on Interstates 105 and 405. Traveling happily in the sparsely-populated lane, I whizzed by vehicles caught in the slog of post-dawn LA traffic.
Then I heard the chime of the tire pressure monitoring system. The i3's TPMS system displays air pressure in each tire, and the recommended cold pressure the front tires is 33 psi. The driver's side tire was reading 20 psi. A few seconds later, it dropped to 16. Time to get off the freeway. Now.
May 7, 2015
I was washing our 2014 BMW i3 last weekend. Easy stuff, right? Things were going fine until it came time to vacuum the floors up front.
May 4, 2015
I walked out to our 2014 BMW i3 yesterday and found this. The base of the passenger door was sticking out. At first I thought the door wasn't closed all of the way but there was more to it...
March 13, 2015
Beauty's in the eye of the beholder and while some find the design of BMW's all-electric city car to be on the ugly end of the scale, I find it appealingly quirky, as befits a futuristic car.
But the hard plastic interior surfaces of our 2014 BMW i3 leave a bit to be desired.
BMW uses a cotton-fiber reinforced plastic composite for the dash and door panels, and opted to leave it in its natural state as part of the overall design theme of green and sustainable. That's fine.
March 5, 2015
I received the following email from our long-term 2014 BMW i3 recently:
Dear BMW ConnectedDrive Customer,
The state of charge of your V275231 is low!
We recommend recharging the battery.
It seemed like a helpful note at first. But then I received at least 25 of these emails in the two months that we've had the car.
February 18, 2015
After getting some seat time in our 2014 BMW i3, I was struck by how it reminded me of our old Nissan Juke long-termer. Before you question my state of mind, let me elaborate. As with the Juke, the i3 is, at least to my eyes, ugly. Really, with such a disjointed look, especially in profile, it looks as if the three blind mice were given the project. But as with that frog-like Nissan, the i3 quickly won me over with its engaging personality.
February 5, 2015
So far, our 2014 BMW i3 has been a hit with everyone in the office. It didn't take long for the quirky electric i3 to be ready to undergo our standard series of tests at the track. Our first test was fully charged in default electric mode. Upon depleting the battery, we ran a second test solely on the gasoline-powered range extender. Here's what we found.
January 27, 2015
BMW announced plans to run a 60-second ad spot during Super Bowl XLIX featuring the all-new 2014 BMW i3.
The game airs February 1 at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT. The electric car will be seen during the first quarter.
January 21, 2015
EK900, a frequent commenter on the long-term blog, said he wanted to know more about what it was like to buy the 2014 BMW i3. I had a busy December and I didn't get a chance to write a buying blog, so without further ado, here's the exciting backstory.
January 8, 2015
We aim to put 20,000 miles on all our long-term cars over the course of a year, so our i3 has a tough goal to meet. The only other EV to accomplish that feat was our 2013 Tesla Model S. Will the range extender help the i3 achieve that goal, or will the final odometer look more like that of our 2011 Chevrolet Volt, which only managed 15,063 miles?