BMW i3 Depreciation Check

JAN 8 2016 BY MARK KANE 44

BMW i3

BMW i3

Edmunds noted high depreciation on its test 2014 BMW i3.

CarMax’s offer of $26,000 was around 50% lower than the stated MSRP of $50,000 (before tax and title) for the new car bought one year ago.

Again, the depreciation rate shocks some of us. That is, until we include the federal tax credit of $7,500 and state incentives.

The effective price of new i3 was probably $7,500 or maybe $10,000 lower in California. Edmunds estimates that Carmax could sell the $26,000 i3 for $30,000. In other words, we should probably compare $40,000 spent for new BMW i3 and nearly $30,000 for used one. Whatever it is, it isn’t even close to 50% depreciation.

“Edmunds trade-in True Market Value® estimates that our 2014 BMW i3 is worth about $30,875. There was only one i3 with a range extender for sale on CarMax’s website (located in Austin, Texas). It had 2,000 more miles than ours, cloth seats (we have leather) and base wheels (we have the optional 20’s). CarMax was asking $36,000.

I estimate that CarMax paid about $32,500 for it, given that it usually prices its cars at about $3,500 over the trade-in offer. Our i3 had fewer miles and more options. We stood to get at least $33,000, right? Wrong.

The offer came in at $26,000. For reference, we paid $50,000 (before tax and title) for the i3 when we bought it new last year. This was a depreciation of nearly 50 percent!”

The problem is that you could buy a new BMW i3 with BMW ChargeNow DC Fast – two year free charging promotion, for $40,000 (assuming $7,500 tax credit and $2,500 state incentive).

Who would chose a used BMW i3, without free public DC fast charging, to save only a few grand? That’s why prices have to buy lower on used models.  A fact few residual estimate services seem to comprehend when calculating depreciation.

Source: Edmunds

Categories: BMW

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

44 Comments on "BMW i3 Depreciation Check"

newest oldest most voted

One would hope that a credible company who presumably employs people with functioning brains and analytic skills would do better than this. Obviously in the case on Edmunds one will be disappointed.

Edmunds have made many stupid right wing arguments.

So, it turns out, the Second Buyer GETS the Federal Tax Credit, with No Paperwork.

That’s GREAT.

CarMax is a joke, they don’t even have the i series listed in their search filter. No wonder you can’t buy it there.

Exactly. When he said he paid $50,000. He paid $42,500 with the federal tax credit. Did he have a state tax credit?

Carmax are idiots, they told me the model S with 12.000 miles price will be 50% because 2 factors.
1 Model X is the replacement of Model S and no one will buy the S as is and old model.
2 Gas prices are low so people wants to buy a reliable car with performance “ICE”.
Carmax is not ready to buy 21st century cars, they still in the Toyota Camry world. They don’t have any Tesla for sale so far.
Carmax of Virginia Dulles airport.

Lol. They are in a price negotiation for a used car with you. Their job is not to make you feel good about your car!

“Who would chose a used BMW i3, without free public DC fast charging, to save only a few grand?”

Here are a few possible scenarios:
1) Charges exclusively at home
2) DCFC not available in area
3) DCFC oversubscribed, so free charge of limited value if you can’t find a charger when you need it
4) Calculated the value of free charging wasn’t high enough to overcome price difference

5. Doesn’t live in California – like, oh, most people in US of A.

Do people who have a ReX use DCFC? I would imagine that DCFC is crucial for the BEV. By the way, many 2014s do have DCFC. Either if it is listed as an option or if you find an electronaut editio.

starting in 2015 DCFC is now standard on both the i3 and i3rex. So yes you can or may want to DCFC a i3rex.

This whole depreciation story needs to be flipped on its head. The steep depreciation is a GOOD THING.

Why? It proves that the tax-credits do not just benefit the rich. The middle class & poor also benefit from them by having a nice market of cheap used EVs that they can buy. This is a case where ‘trickle down’ actually works!

Exactly. The tax incentives are a pass-through to buyers who typically would buy a used car no matter whether it was an ICE or electric car.

Meanwhile, if you really don’t have the money to burn, if you want to keep the tax credit for yourself, all you have to do is hold onto your EV until the tax credits sunset.

CarMax Are Idiots Only if U R a Seller ,Buyers Would Love Them….Don’t Get Mad BMW 0wners…I Wouldn’t pay $26,000 for that car if it were Brand new out the Door Price…The i3 is worth Less than a Leaf In VALUE,Car for Car.. I am certain that the Leaf is THE BETTER Car. You are Paying all that Extra Cash for A BMW Badge 0nly & Nothing Else.(((That Car Can’t Go over 72 mph)))..Ur Getting way Less Car Than U Would Had you bought a Leaf. Even Though I Personally Would Not Buy Neither One..

You’re not an EV car nut.
You’re just a nut.

Acceleration, handling, braking, and efficiency say you’re a nut.

Dude, the car is definitely better than a Leaf. And it has a max speed of 95. Where are you getting this nonsense? The BMW has one underscored feature… Stop and Go adaptive cruise control. It is the tesla auto pilot without the automatic steering. You set the cruise and just steer. If you are in traffic that is bumper to bumper stop and go, the car takes care of the rest. The automatic parking will be good for some. But it has loads of other features you aren’t going to see on the Leaf.

Lease is the word, is the word,
It’s gotta groove, it’s gotta meaning,

The $ 259.00/ month lease deals now on the I 3 should make the buyer think twice! Range extender does add a few extra bucks along with whatever extra the “dealer” can tack on at lease signing. The Bay Area dealer had the $8,888.00 up front cash lease for two years. Still only $ $1,200.00 less than the Depreciation. The extra year of use is a nice little exra perk!

Great, now I’m going to have the BeeGee’s stuck in my head for the rest of the evening. Thanks, William.


Hey , I Love those Guys ! Glease Is the word !

The deal is $289/mo for a base Mega (BEV), with $3000 down, and 10,000 miles per year for 36 months. Without a down payment, it’s $372/mo.

It’s going to get worse for i3 owners, the few there probably are, as more and more leases start getting returned. Same thing that happened with Leafs.

Also BMW CEO already revealed a longer-range version is due this year. Surely that will diminish the value of the original range i3.

2016 and earlier Focus Electric models are about to take a hit, with the 2017 model offering 25 more miles of range, along with combo charger.

Currently the 2015 is about $20k with the 2014 at $19k.

But when prices drop to around $15k and lower, and EV makes a great car for a high school or local college student needing transportation. Almost zero maintenance, no gas to buy charging at home, high reliability…exactly what many young people are looking for. So there is a market….after depreciation.

Yes, this is a serious issue, and I wish the article had addressed it.

As new generations of PEVs rapidly ramp up the electric range, the older generation will be perceived as depreciating in value far faster than a similarly-priced gasmobile.

Tesla’s cars should be relatively immune to this, as they already have a much higher range than other PEVs, and Tesla is increasing the average range only gradually* as the years pass.

*Exception for the Roadster upgrade, but not that many people own Tesla Roadsters.

Actually, Teslas have suffered a lot of depreciation due to constant technology improvements in the cars and weathly buyers upgrading faster than usual to get the latest models. Tesla sadly is suffering from the same ailments the computer industry.

They Can Give More range ,They’re cheaping out on the Batteries For “MORE PROFIT” When They Eliminate The “ICE”, The Transmission, the SS Exhaust , The Cooling System Etc:& So 0n …This should More Than ENOUGH To “C0MPENSATE” for the “BATTERY COST” Rite There! They’re Feeding Us A Pile Of “HUNGAWA” ., According to my Calcuation

Rite 0n!

Looking at, 2014 i3 models start at $25,500, and the range extender version starts at $28,988.

The value holding ability of an EV will have a lot to do with it’s range, and value will drop as more comparable models are available with more range.

Even the range extending version suffers, because a new EV with a 200 mile pack has more range, and will cost less when new.

Buying these first gen EVs is like buying a $40k to $50k iPad, knowing full well that in 9-18 months, a more powerful model will be launched, and the current model is instantly devalued.

Which is why leasing is the only logical option. Unless one plans to buy and keep the EV with no intention to upgrade.

Electric vehicles are ‘technology’, not just cars, and residual values for the current sub 100 mile EVs will not be pretty once the Bolt and especially the Model III is available.

I would not expect the REX version to suffer as much depreciation. You really can’t compare the versatility of the Rex to a 200 mile battery. The Rex can be refilled at existing gas stations in a minute or two. You could drive an i3 Rex from Canada to Mexico without ever stopping except for gas. Yes, it would be annoying having to stop every 60 miles or so. But try doing that same trip in a Chevy Bolt. I think when it comes to a PHEV there is an upper limit to how much EV range you need and I think the i3 has pegged it.

Makes “TOTAL” Sense.

Try and get a lease with 20,000mi/year. The best, I got, was 12,000mi/year.
Had to buy and will hand it down to one of my teenagers, currently 15 & 17.

Cool, part of the 1st generation never to own a gasomobile.

Seriously, You are the True American.

I just leased an i3 fully loaded with $1000 down for 24 months for $570 a month. The people that are those ridiculously low leases are in states with tons of tax credits. My model was leased with $8,800 off msrp with $1000 lease incentive and $7500 tax credit. I think the residual was ~28k (52% of msrp). This is with 19k miles a year. So long leases are possible.

I looked at that BMW i3 Rex at CarMax’s Austin facility just a few days ago (online, I live in Ft.Worth) an remember thinking the price was too high to consider a used i3. I’ve seen a few BEV i3’s at a decent price. But I would absolutely want the Rex.

The Nissan Leaf will have no value when the 200 miles cars Bolt Model 3 come. The BMW i3 has no value already. For the same reasons.

And when Leaf 2 comes in first half 2017 with wirless charging and 230 miles the value of Bolt will suck. Every new model will beat previous models, so only the value for the driver is important.

Good luck with that one as I drive my new Bolt for several years. Nissan is not that fast at innovation.

They will be priced like the leaf ($10-15K) used in a year or two….especially when the Bolt is released.

evcarnut, I felt the same way you do about the BMW i3 Rex when I took it for 3 day test drive. What I didn’t know at the time was that most BMW i3 Rex owners are hacking into the computer and making this car functional, and they are being quiet about it because they don’t want to void their warranty. If you don’t mind risking your warranty, this car is a decent car.

As others state here, the existing 60-100 mile EV pack will take a massive hit when the Bolt comes on stage.

It’s a couple of grand more, but it brings twice the range, the car isn’t twice as expensive.

The problem stemming from this is that overnight pretty much all the existing EVs that have just 20-30kWh of battery will drop in price like a brick. A statistician calculated how much we needed, not how much we really wanted.

A tesla 5 years old is still quite a capable car at 200 Miles, and nobody will scoff at that. They got the numbers right. A 3 Year old EV (Leaf) that sold for 38k euro new, goes 2nd hand in NL for 14-15k euro in just 3 years. By golly that is depreciation.

The 5 year old 2nd hand Mitsubishi i-Miev I bought for 10k euro was 35k euro in 2010. The 2016 is 27k euro new still, but you would be hard pressed to get anything for it after a year an just a couple of thousand kilometers.

The bad part is that when I want to sell it in 4 years to buy a 2nd hand Bolt, nobody will effectively want one :/

I agree, a year from now it will be difficult to sell anything with under a hundred miles of EV range (new or used). The 2017 Nissan Leaf and the 2017 Chevy Bolt will have raised the bar.

I’ve been looking for a used Toyota Rav4EV which is at least a couple years old, leases are all over, doesn’t have fast charging, it was a pain in the butt to get repaired and will be worse now that Toyota has abandoned it but still see it around the $25k range for vehicles with plenty of miles already put into it. It’s holding value much better than I expected.

The sticker price of the car is Absolutely post incentive, lower in states that have additional great incentives – as stated earlier, the incentive is passed to All owners, to offset the extreme additional expense of gambling R&D resources and offering an EV to the masses. Without that incentive, few would have been sold
(see also EV1).
+1 ffbj, This is the turning point, if all the 1st gen EVs get bought up by millenials and younger, there is Little chance that they will return to ICE-only drivetrains.

Lastly, comparing 1st gen EV at This point in time will almost necessarily fault the EV resale value. We are Barely breaking the 10% mark of the average consumer understanding what an EV can do, hence, lower number of interested buyers against having to keep it on the lot longer to attract one. Throw in the ‘fun factor’ of those EVs being uhmm.. polarizing regarding their appearance.. if you didn’t see this coming you weren’t awake.

CarMax only offers the WHOLESALE value of a car (in other words, no more than they think they will get if it doesn’t sell on their lot and they have to offload it at auction ). Of course, if they turn around and sell it on their lot after all, they make a ton of money. But that is, you know, sort of the whole reason why they are in business . . .