New BMW i3s 120 Ah Winter Video Shows Socket In Hatch


May be coming as a feature.

The folks at BMW are getting ready to deck the halls and fa la la around the Christmas tree. We know this because they’ve just released a video (above) showing an i3s  — that’s the sport version of the i3 — venturing out into the woods to collect an appropriate evergreen specimen. But like the holiday itself, there’s a deeper meaning to the footage. Similar to the seasons greeting card we saw yesterday from its homeland competitor, it hints at something to come from the German brand.

The clip, titled “A glimpse into the future by BMW i,” makes its point by powering up festive lights on the tree as the car heads down the road. The electricity to create the holiday effect comes, of course, from the vehicle’s 42 kWh battery. The key moment comes at the 18-second mark, when we briefly see a plug being plugged into a socket.

If that wasn’t a strong enough hint, the company’s communications department makes it more clear with this statement on its website:

The BMW i3 is silent and carries much electricity on board; often even more than what is needed for driving. This video shows what could be done with it. The BMW i engineers are working on it.. (BMW i3 as a [sic] electricity dispenser).

Obviously, this is not a new concept. In fact, it strikes us that every electric car could have had this as an option for some time, now. Certainly, a number of companies with product yet-to-arrive —  Bollinger, Rivian, and Workhorse spring to mind — mention it as a handy feature.

In any case, it looks like future battery-powered product from BMW will include a socket that one will be able to plug electrically-powered devices into. The question now is, what would you like to be able to plug into your plug-in car? Let us know in Comments.

Source: YouTube, BMW

Categories: BMW, Videos


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45 Comments on "New BMW i3s 120 Ah Winter Video Shows Socket In Hatch"

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One of the reasons I have not considered the i3 is because it is rear wheel drive. I have had a front wheel drive car save me to many times in ice to consider anything other than AWD or front wheel drive. If someone knows something that is different about the i3 in snow and ice, please let me know. Used prices on these are great.

FWD is generally worse handling on snow because your steering tires are also your accelerating tires. If you are accelerating you have less traction for steering. The only reason people like them better is they usually have more weight over the front wheels so they have more traction to get started at slow speeds on slippery conditions.

RWD gets a bad rap as people are used to driving front heavy vehicles with RWD and open differentials where they are essentially one wheel drive if a wheel is slipping. The BMW i3, Model 3 are actually neutral to rear heavy, so having RWD gives it more traction over the rear wheels, plus it has stability control to help eliminate the chance that you will spin out from careless driving in the snow.

Most importantly for snow driving, FWD, AWD, or RWD, is to have proper tires for the conditions. All those cars need to steer and brake and having snow/winter tires is the largest difference in performance, much more important than drive wheels.

FWD is a lot more forgiving when shit happens compared to RWD. For all people that don’t aspire to become rally drivers FWD is safer than RWD in snowy, wet and icy conditions.

Historically speaking that is, todays stabilizing systems and super fast computers in the cars to correct our actions makes the difference a lot less than it once were.

RWD can be a lot more fun though… 😉

That “conventional wisdom” is mostly for cars that have an engine out front that presses down on the wheels. It worked like a charm in the nose heavy Saabs I used to drive in snowy New England winters. It doesn’t really matter that much in the i3 where the weight is pretty much 50-50.

I3 traction when accelerating is uncanny. Take a wet intersection and plant the throttle. I3 has tenacious grip with no wheel spin. Focus, Bolt, and Spark i drove were torque steering and spinning all over the place. No comparison. I3 also has tighter turning radius.

i know, i want one (and I hate BMWs generally)

I have watched people spin Honda Accords on accident (people putting snow or better tires on only front wheels). FWD isn’t fool proof. As you say, all modern cars have stability control, which takes away most of the oversteer risk of RWD (inexperienced driver gives too much acceleration). I am talking modern cars here.

I am saying it is a myth that modern RWD cars are bad in the snow because they are RWD. The issue is most RWD cars people have driven are pickups or musclecars, that don’t do well in snow due to weight distribution, inappropriate tires, low ground clearance, etc.

The new VW EV platform is RWD and it is great news. Now only if they would sell the ID in the US…

Without the heavy engine up front there won’t be any traction benefit of FWD in snow.

I’ve driven my two i3s in 5 winters now and honestly they are great. The skinny tires are much better in the snow than wider tires are. (It’s about the ony good thing about the skinny tires on the i3!) I’ve always used winter tires (Bridgestone Blizzaks) and recommend winter tires on any car, in fact.

If you get the 20″ wheels on the i3, and live in northern states you HAVE to get winter wheels/tires because the 20″ tires are Summer-only and are useless in the snow/ice. The 19″ wheels come with all season tires which aren’t that bad, but I still recommend getting dedicated winter tires. If you do so, you’ll be fine in the snow.

Here’s a video of one of the original i3 owners driving in the snow in 2014:

Thanks for the info

Winter tires are likely required by most people in the northeast even with the all season 19″. The all season 19″ are fine after the snow has been cleared, but is quite bad in falling, uncleared snow. If you’re like me and live in a city, that is usually a non-issue, but not if you’re in the burbs and need to drive back from work during a storm.

Since the i3 has a pretty strong nanny that cuts power to the wheels at the first hint of a slip, you can’t spin your way onto the road when you’re parked in snow. I’ve had some awkward situations with the all seasons where I’d be parked on slick grass with barely a dusting of snow on top (ground still looks green) and the car won’t even budge because of the slippage. The i3 then acts out like a dog that refuses to get up when it is time to move. Ha ha. I’ve had to physically push it to where at least one tire is touching the road before the computer lets go and feeds power to the wheels.

The i3 has a menu item for “Traction” in just this situation.
You could have just set the menu item and driven away.
( You’re turning off DSC: Dynamic Stability Control and choosing Traction )

Follow the BMW i3 Facebook group and you’ll get multiple entries on this subject at the start of every winter season.

Other tips:
-Put it in Eco-Pro mode to reduce your jump from start power and pedal power.
-Put the Map into Eco-Pro mode to avoid climbing tall mountains when there’s a road around a mountain.

You should try it, then! 🙂 The traction off mode in the i3 is poorly worded because it doesn’t actually refer to traction control at all. It only disables stability control, which is not applicable when the car is at a standstill. In fact, this feature behaves the opposite of how such a feature works in other BMWs.

Tom, are you getting a 2019 i3s ?

Or, going to try out the i-Pace or Model 3, which?

Man, I dunno.. having grown up in Maine, and driven everything on every kind of horrible road, 4WD Subarus with studs are unstoppable tanks, but having a FWD with wheels that even if they’re slipping, are still trying to drag me the direction I need to go, are great. Imagine getting out of a rut. Also, I like to be able to pull the hand brake, cut the wheel hard and goose the accelerator to un-parallel park myself …

FWD gets stuck badly in ruts as the front wheels are turned trying to get out of the rut and the wheels slip while accelerating and immediately slide along the rut instead of climbing up and out. FWD cars got stuck all the time up against curbs with high asphalt centers in my home town. My home town would chip seal the streets and rarely tear off the old asphalt so the street surface would be 2 inches higher than the concrete bottom along the curbs, leaving a 10″ wide section of lower concrete between the curb and street where your tires would get stuck.

All I am saying is drive a RWD with proper tires and differential or well turned traction control that allows some slip (in i3 you can set it to a lower level for example if the wheels need to slip some) and it is a different experience than driving a RWD with an open differential, no weight over the rear, and poor tires (i.e. an old Fox Body Mustang or something).

What about understeer scenarios where the front wheels are the ones that are slipping? If you keep gunning towards the direction you want to go instead of slowing down, you’ll end up in a ditch. Lol. Everytime I drive in Maine, the cars I find in ditches during a storm the most are Subarus and Jeeps with AWD. Something about the AWD makes people think they can always go in the direction they want to go. The rules for RWD are just as simple, except that it is the over-steer scenario where the drive wheels slip. As long as you know where your wheels are, which ones are driving, and what is slipping, you’ll be able to respond no matter what happens.

One of the reasons I won’t consider the Leaf is because I’m sick of front-wheel-drive. As a driver car, the excellent BMW front suspension and the power to the wheels on the rear wheels make it and incredible pleasure to drive. I’ll take 2 months on snow tires in Pennsylvania.

Goodbye and good luck with Torque Steer.

I would like that. Oh, and I don’t buy all those stories about V2G destroying 75% of your battery just like that. Why should it? It’s not like I’m going to allow the utility to cycle through my bat 3 times in a day. But yeah, forget V2G. V2H, that would be really interesting for me.

Power to the People, oh what a great song, right on. Bmw, not so much.
The plug is good idea though. You could plug in a hair dryer to unfreeze the door handles, windows.

A typical hair dryer is ~1500W — heat generating appliances in general require pretty high wattage.
I seriously doubt an in-car mains outlet would allow this, except on commercial vehicles where this is a significant feature of the vehicle (IIRC, the Workhorse W-15 PHEV is supposed to support ~7kW power export on its 120V outlet).
On the ICE cars today that have a mains outlet, typical max wattage is 120-150W.

The alternator in a gas car is only 500w or so, and at 12V the amperage that an inverter can lap up is no joke. Multiply your 120V amps by 10 plus some overhead. On an EV with a 400V pack, instead DIVIDE the amps by 3. And 30kwh is a LOT of power, like a hot summer day in the desert central air conditioning lot of power. The average house, especially if people are being careful about electricity usage, can putter along for a week during disasters on an EV battery, maybe longer.

7kW at 120V?! That’s almost 60A! Are you sure? I don’t think that a) there are any appliances that need that much power and b) any cords/plugs that can transmit it without melting.

That’s what they claim on their website:
> “7.2 kw power export that allows tools to be plugged directly into the battery power source without the truck running”

I agree, that it seems crazy high.

They claim 7.2 kW at 30A and 220V. Not at 110V.

I’d immediately plug in my 24kWh LEAF.

Puleeze. My 2007 Escape Hybrid has a 120V plug I’ve used for years to put Christmas lights on the roof rack. Like this is anything new?!? Granted mine has limited wattage, but that kind power has been available for a long time.

Some of the Chinese plug ins offer output from charge port at very high power levels. That is what I would like (enough power to run a 3 kW electric power tool, of course power tools in US are all around 1400 watts thanks to 120 V / 12 A continuous circuits).

The Matrix/Vibe also had a similar plug, but it was limited to 120 watts or so. Ideally an EV would be able to provide a lot more amperage (e.g.: 1500-1600 watts).

The 2020 F150 PHEV (which shoud be revealed in 2019), apparently will have a massize inverter in it – possibly even driving 240V @ 30A for contractor use.

Hmmm.. I wonder why the socket looks so…. what’s the word? Aftermarket? It doesn’t look like a factory feature. And even if it is, there’s no guarantee that it isn’t just running off the 12V power system just like the one you might find in a Ford F150, for example.

Would have been better if the lights came on, there was a spark and the tree caught fire as he drove away…..ho ho ho!

The Kia e-Niro has a mains accessory plug in the console between the front seats, (220V in Europe, presumably it’ll be 120V in North America), which IIUC is a standard feature.

Thanks! That’s somehow escaped my notice.

Currently our area is under a storm induced power outage. So my ‘fridge is now being powered by a 400W inverter plugged into my 2013 LEAF.
Who is this new BMV guy?😉

Yeah but from the 12V battery or the traction battery? That’s the real point, otherwise we’re just plugging inverters we’ve been able to buy for 25 years in to cigarette lighter sockets and abusing the lead battery under the hood. Until the inverters have a CCS or Chademo on their INPUT side it’s nothing we should give two sharts about.

He’s a guy whose battery stays a nice even temperature through the seasons and retains rated battery capacity after many years of ownership. 🙂

We brought hot food to friends last night after a windstorm that took their power overnight.
How great it would have been to plug into our electric car overnight to keep their gas furnace running. I could see the same thing for people with sump pumps in a rain event. Because most people have no idea how much power their appliances need, (microwave at the same time as the fridge) there would have to be some kind of smart circuit, but we would have just left them our car and taken their ICE car home.

One of the original release videos of the i3 shows the plug in the back. This is not news.

The fridge after earthquakes, and LEDs for classy car camping.

Wow! If I had that socket in our i3, I could use it to charge our i3 with the OUC which I cannot use now because I have only a 208 V charging circuit. 🙂 🙂

A Bike air compressor, for bike trips.
But, there is one in the car that works off the cigarette lighter.

Of course a Boom Box too.

Power tools.