BMW i3 REx Status – Hold For Monroney Sticker Delays Hundreds Of US Deliveries

3 years ago by Tom Moloughney 39

BMW i3

A Legion Of BMW i3s Waiting For Delivery At A US Port in April

BMW i3

Waiting and Waiting and….

For a little over a month now, cargo ships from Bremerhaven, Germany have been arriving weekly at the port in New Jersey to unload anywhere from dozens to hundreds of shiny new BMW i3s. My i3 arrived last week on the Fedora, which left Germany back on April 30th. Back when I learned it was booked on the Fedora and would arrive here on May 15th, I assumed that by the 20th or 21st of May, I’d be at the dealer signing the paperwork and driving my i3 home. I was wrong.

I now have no idea when I’ll be getting my car, and neither do the hundreds of other people that ordered a BMW i3 with the range extender and whose car is currently here in the US sitting at a port somewhere.

Officially the holdup is a “Monroney Hold” – the fact that the EPA certification has not been completed, so BMW doesn’t have a Monroney label (window sticker) to post in the window before the car leaves the port, which is required by law. The range extender option changes (shortens) the car’s electric range, and also requires an official MPG rating, so BMW couldn’t use the same Monroney label as they did for the all electric i3.

The i3 REx would need to be fully tested and certified as a completely different car. To make matters worse, the majority of i3’s sold in the US have the range extender option. For example, my client adviser Manny Antunes of JMK BMW has sold thirteen i3s so far and only two of them are the BEV version. Eleven of the thirteen have the range extender and his clients are beginning to call him frequently now, wondering when they can expect delivery. He has no information to offer other than he’ll contact them as soon as he hears something from BMW – or a truck somehow magically pulls up to the dealer with a load of i3s with range extenders!

*Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Tom’s “The Electric BMW i3” blog.  Check it out by clicking here.

BMW i3 BEV Window Sticker - Sorry No REx Sticker Yet

BMW i3 BEV Window Sticker – Sorry No REx Sticker Yet

Where’s mine?

BMW is indeed delivering i3’s to customers now, but all of them sold so far have been the fully electric BEV i3. The i3 RExs keep arriving in the US alongside their BEV brothers, but they cannot be released or trucked to the dealerships until they have the EPA Monroney label. BMW isn’t communicating the exact reason for the lack of EPA certification, but it appears to be a combination of BMW providing the EPA with the required information a little late, and the fact that the i3 REx operates differently than most vehicles that the EPA has certified.  I don’t see why that would be a problem because to me it seems like the Chevy Volt would have been even harder to certify because it is both a series and a parallel hybrid depending on the driving conditions.  In any event, BMW claims to have furnished the EPA with everything needed for certification and are cooperating with the EPA in an effort to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible.

This is clearly an example of a “first world problem”, but those that have been waiting patiently for their car are growing anxious as the days pass and their car is simply sitting at the port and waiting for the label.

BMW i3 Battery Log Sheet Courtesy of George Betak

BMW i3 Battery Log Sheet Courtesy of George Betak

Some have even wondered what the state of charge of the cars are, and if by sitting so long (some have been sitting at the port for over a month now!) at the port have “vampire loads” reduced the charge level to dangerously low levels? Personally, I don’t believe this is an issue and I’m sure BMW is monitoring them. BMW ships the cars with only about 25% state of charge and charges them up at the port.

All of the cars used for BMW i3 test drives had a battery log sheet in the glove box, which shows BMW is certainly monitoring the SOC of all the cars from manufacture to delivery. Plus, if the i3 is anything like the BMW ActiveE, then the car will hold the SOC very well when not in use. My ActiveE would only lose about one percent per week when sitting unused. I doubt sitting for a month or so will have any noticeable reduction in charge and, unless the cars arrived with less than 10% SOC and weren’t monitored and charged, I doubt there is anything to worry about.

Let’s hope this “Monroney Hold” gets resolved soon and BMW can begin deliveries of the i3 REx cars that are already here and waiting – and mine in particular!

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39 responses to "BMW i3 REx Status – Hold For Monroney Sticker Delays Hundreds Of US Deliveries"

  1. Ocean Railroader says:

    I’m worried about a Hurricane showing up or a tidal surge in that Friskier had 300 cars destroyed in Super Storm Sandy. So I personally do find it unsettling that there hundreds of these cars piling up in ports.

    1. vdiv says:

      Hopefully BMW has the right kind of insurance and in the unlikely event the underwriter will fork out the cash. Speaking of forking out cash it is probably costing BMW a lot of money to have these cars sitting there.

      Do we know anything about the Canadian and Mexican sales? Have they commenced?

  2. GeorgeS says:

    A Moloughney Monroney article. 🙂
    Has a nice ring doesn’t it.
    Here’s to hoping you get you i3 soon Tom so we can hear more about it.!!

    1. George B says:

      Yes, very cool indeed! 🙂

    2. Thanks George. When I do, you can bet there will be a lot of content here about the performance. I plan to do quite a few long distance trips to report on the range extender as soon as I get it. 😉

  3. Leafer says:

    Has anyone looked into the issue affecting the Mitsubishi outlander PHEV in the USA that there is a new requirement for PHEV’s to report battery degredation and its affect on emmissions? Has this new reg stopped BMW in its tracks with the rex release?

  4. Martin says:

    The SOC thing came into my mind in the middle of the post and even that thought got covered. Nice!

    In other news the “more potent battery” was a misunderstanding and regarded the 12v battery.

    Cheers

  5. IDK says:

    Guessing the BMW ActiveE testers don’t get their i3 first as was once promised?

    1. George B says:

      Many of those who have ordered a BEV i3 have taken delivery already. I had a BEV on order as well, and it was the first i3 to show up at the dealership. The car would have been ready on May 8, the same day BMW made the first West Coast delivery to Ashlan Gorse Cousteau, except that I changed my mind and lobbied for a switch to an identical build with the range extender. This i3 REx is now waiting for the Monroney sticker at the VDC in Oxnard, much like many of its brethren. In my experience, BMW did live up to the expectation, which was set six months prior. Obviously, not everything always works out as planned, and some Electronauts might feel otherwise. I, for one, was pleased and surprised by the outcome of this long journey. It looks like the i3 will be a strong contender on the plugin vehicle market, and that’s all that matters in my mind.

  6. Priusmaniac says:

    As an engineer I have always found it hard to understand the working of the Homo legislatus species. They already get everything done and cooked in the mouth but then they still find ways to retard things for whatever esoteric reason. OK sometimes you need them to defend your rights but most of the time they are just puzzling to understand. If there is no sticker just make one and take a larger error margin at first, so you can still correct in favor of the car afterwards, but don’t let the cars sitting in the port.

    1. Nix says:

      As an engineer, I’m surprised that you would think just making up some numbers because you thought they were conservative enough is a sufficient replacement for hard data.

      I hope you do not use this engineering approach in any real world situation. The math on the sticker should be based upon real numbers. Otherwise the door would be thrown wide open to other companies just fudging numbers. And we’ve seen enough of that already from Hyundai and Ford, etc.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        That’s correct if you have time, but if you are in a hurry, you can always underestimate a performance to make sure you have enough safety margin. Of course I would never over estimate a performance otherwise you have a negative margin, which equals to failure certainty. Beside we are not in engineering here because the sticker has nothing to do with the actual working of the vehicle but just the general information to the public of what is the expected average (that average says a lot) minimum performance of the car. It may be better but not worse, so if you indicate worse you are ok even if that is not in BMW interest. For sure blocking the cars in the port is much less in BMW interest.

  7. Aaron says:

    I’ll bet the BMWs have a fuse that is pulled after the cars get put onto the boat to help reduce vampire losses.

    The i-MiEV has a plastic piece around two fuses that disconnect the radio and other things.

  8. Kosh says:

    No no no. That’s just the cover story! This is CLEARLY more evidence of the “unsold cars” conspiracy!

    http://www.snopes.com/photos/automobiles/unsoldcars.asp

  9. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Wow, sounds like half-assing at BMW to not have done this ages ago.. Bummer!

    1. scottf200 says:

      Seriously? After what they have done with the i-series. Your comments are getting more and more asinine as time goes on around here.

    2. MTN Ranger says:

      It’s the government, not BMW.

      1. QCO says:

        Is it?

        Seems to be a combination of reasons, including BMW submitting information later than expected (noted in the article) and the EPA taking longer because it is an unusual certification case.

  10. taser54 says:

    Vampire losses are more of a symptom of Tesla vehicles. Both Chevy and Nissan designed their systems better so as not to have the vampire loads that Tesla produced vehicles with.

    There is nothing to suggest that BMW made the same design mistakes that Tesla made, so sitting at a port waiting for delivery should pose no problems.

    1. George B says:

      Based on my personal experience with the LEAF, the ActiveE and related research, I’m very confident that vampire losses will be immaterial with the i3. There is nothing to worry about. The only potential concern is if the VDC charges the traction battery during the processing of the vehicle. If that’s the case, it’s possible that some cars will sit a month or longer with a fully charged battery at the port, before they are shipped to the dealer for customer delivery. While this would not be an ideal situation, the potential resulting capacity loss in this scenario is negligible. As already noted, vampire losses should not be a concern at all.

  11. James Dawson says:

    Teslahater54 strikes again!

    1. Taser54 says:

      Pointing out Tesla Design flaws /= hate.

      1. James Dawson says:

        Persevering all over the internet about a mostly software caused issue that has been largely resolved = something like hate or at least a negative obsession with the best car ever made.

        1. Taser54 says:

          “largely resolved” is a wholly subjective term, especially considering other Model S owners don’t consider it resolved, just reduced.

          After software update, and a possibly unecessary 12V battery replacement, vampire losses are now JUST 1 kw/day.

          1. James Dawson says:

            Wow, 11 Cents a day loss. Have you read the Tesla forums? Not to many Tesla owners a whining about it, its almost always non-Tesla owners doing the complaining.

  12. Nix says:

    “The range extender option changes (shortens) the car’s electric range” But by how much?

    If adding the REx reduces the official battery-only range by too much, that can throw some major wrenches into BMW’s plans.

    1) If the range with the REx installed is less than what CARB requires to get ZEV credits, that effectively costs BMW up to $15,000 per car they sell in California. This is the maximum cost of the ZEV credits they would normally get. (Of course Tesla might sell them some credits cheaper than that…)

    2) If the range in pure EV mode is shorter, then the gas tank fill level might need to be reduced for a second time. In Europe the tank can be filled to 2.4 gallons. For the US market, they have already had to limit the tank to only being filled to 1.9 gallons. This is because BMW wants the REx to qualify as a “BEVx” in California, so the gasoline range has to be smaller than the electric range. If the i3 REx is re-rated to have a shorter electric range, then BMW will have to cut how much the tank can be filled to even less than 1.9 gallons.

    This might be a truly epic disaster for BMW if the worst-case scenario comes true.

    1. George B says:

      Nix, thank you for the comment. It’s something to consider for sure. Personally, I think that the reason for the holdup is much more mundane, as it often is with these things, and the regulatory approval is pending re-certification of the entire vehicle, which simply takes a few weeks.

      1. Nix says:

        George — How fast it can be processed depends upon the backlog for all manufactures. It is a first-in, first-out queue. If there is a long backlog, BMW has to wait in line like everyone else. GM got caught in this same situation when releasing the Volt.

        It can be fast, or it can be slow. It becomes much slower if BMW tried to rely upon data collected from the i3 pure electric for the i3 REx, and that data has been rejected.

        If that happened, it isn’t just a paperwork issue. BMW would have to go back and re-test and submit brand new numbers.

        1. George B says:

          Thank you for that, Nix. I did not know about the Volt holdup. I’m sure that BMW is very anxious to get the situation resolved and the responsible parties are doing whatever they can to expedite things.

  13. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Maybe BMW doesn’t want to publish the “horrible” MPG in extended range mode.

    But in my opinion, even if it is horrible, it is NO big deal as people would rarely use them.

    I imagine the MPG would be in the 33mpg to 37mpg range.

    1. George B says:

      With all due respect, the energy economy figures published on the i3 BEV Monroney label give us a good idea of the fuel economy of the REx. It will be 37 or 38 mpg EPA on a combined city and freeway cycle. While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, I think it’s based largely on unfounded speculation, and the chances of seeing 33 mpg are very low. I’m nearly certain that BMW would do anything at this point just to get those hundreds of vehicles released and delivered to customers. It’s not a matter of perception, that’s nearly certain.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        I think 37 would be likely due to the CARB rule.

        Estimate that REx would be 10% lower in EV range so that put it around 75 to 76 miles.

        Gas tank is about 1.9 gallon which would give it “less range” than EV mode, that would be an efficiency of 39 to 40mpg at best.

        But with “heat” usage, the effective range would be at least 10% to 20% lower since the REx engine doesn’t provide any heat to the car. That is where the 33-37mpg numbers coming from.

        Either way, does it matter? Like what happens in the Volt, people would ~ double the EV range of the Volt would rarely use it if Volt owners don’t use their engines much at all.

        But it would be also silly to expect to drive across country on that gas tanks…

        1. George B says:

          Yes, 37 mpg is very plausible. We shall see soon enough. Heater efficiency is not test in the EPA cycle, which is a significant omission, but it’s what it is for now. I think few will attempt long-distance journeys in the i3. Those that will should be a canary in the coal mine for others. We can only guess how painful or impractical this will be. And perhaps it won’t be as bad as we think. Again, time will tell.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            I think BMW made the REx “purposely” painful for people. I thinik it is a good thing.

            By limiting it so much, it is clearly trying to keep people on EV mode as much as it can (whether it is due to regulation is another debate, although the car is set up from scratch differently from the Volt).

            This is designed to be EV first and REx is only there to remove “range anxiety”. By eliminating capability in REx, we won’t have people driving around without charging like we have seen in Prius Plugin, Ford Energi cars and to some smaller extent, the Volt.

            BTW, my work place have a fleet of Fords. One them happens to be C-Max Energi. But nobody has ever plugged it in during the last 1.5 hrs of ownership by my work place…

            1. Nix says:

              BMW purposefully made the REx “painful” because they wanted to meet California’s CARB regulations for “BEVx” vehicles.

              The benefit for BMW is that as a “BEVx” it gets various advantages over a PHEV under the ZEV program. With arguably the most important benefit for BMW being that 100% of their ZEV credit mandate can come from “BEVx” sales. GM can only use ZEV credits from their PHEV Volt to satisfy only a maximum of 50% of their ZEV mandate, the rest of the ZEV credits have to come from pure electric or other non-PHEV vehicle sales.

              BMW is trying to thread the needle between the California ZEV mandate requirements, and what BMW believes BMW customers want from their electric cars. The result is a little bit of pain in the form of a small gas tank.

              Personally, I’m hoping that particular pain can be relatively cheaply fixed with an aftermarket tank, if it indeed ends up being too painful. But it isn’t really BMW’s choice to bring you that pain.

    2. pjwood says:

      Motor Trend experienced an observed 32mpg with the i8, but that was after some hard driving.

      1. George B says:

        Thanks for that, I did not read the Motor Trend article. It’s worth noting that the i3 and the i3 are completely different vehicles, using different range extender engines, different traction battery sizes, and sporting a weight difference of 400 lbs. All significant factors. If anything, the i8 data point supports the notion that the i3 mpg rating will be closer to 40 than to 30.

  14. Tim says:

    This is a perfect example of why BMW is a great image conscious brand. This is nothing more than BMW protecting its customers from the embarrassment of being seen driving an i3.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      Well I just saw one this morning, my first in “the wild”, it was not too bad actually.
      Beside I hope the EPA (Earnings Protection Agency) is not playing a bad trick by deliberately putting sticks in the wheels of EV’s and Rex equipped EV’s.