BMW i3 Starts As Second Car, Becomes Primary Car

JUL 13 2015 BY STAFF 21

BMW i3

BMW i3 REx

BMW i3

BMW i3

Since it went on sale last year, the new BMW i3 and i8 hybrid sportscar sold to nearly 27,000 customers worldwide (May 2015). By any standards, the i3 is already shaping up to be a successful story for BMW and as mainstream adoption progresses, the i3 is likely to become a mass-seller for the Bavarians.

In an recent conversation with BMW, we have learned that most of the i3 electric cars start as a second car within a family, yet after a few months of use, and after overcoming the range anxiety of its owners, it quickly rises up to be the main choice of transportation. Its size, fun factor, quirky looks and emission-free platform are some of the traits that have enchanted customers from around the world.

*Editor’s Note: The remainder of this post appears on BMWBLOG by Horatiu Boeriu. Check it out here.  Below is one more snippet from the article:

Ever since we’ve owned the i3 (REx), the 1M has stayed in the garage more than it should have, but in a traffic-intensive city like Chicago, equally famous for its potholes, the i3 is the better choice of transport. At least for us. And for now, it is our main car.

Categories: BMW


Leave a Reply

21 Comments on "BMW i3 Starts As Second Car, Becomes Primary Car"

newest oldest most voted

This can be said about most 80 – 100 mile EVs. Many people get them thinking they’ll be a second car, which does short runs around town and commuting, but that’s all. Then they get it and realize it’s capable of handling 95% of all their driving needs, and that they actually prefer driving it over their ICE, which many also didn’t expect.

Mee too.

Actually, when I switch my i3 back to ICE, is always due to lack of the 5th seat, not because of range. For sure i3, has space for the 5th seat. It would be the most cost effective way to improve i3’s usability.

I had to go to the BMW blog to find out that it’s not the BMW i3 that is being talked about in this article, but it’s the BMW i3 Rex. Here is a quote from the blog, “In our five months of i3 REx ownership, the range extender functionality has kicked in twice; once during a longer, unplanned trip and second time during a run around the town when we omitted to charge our car for three days.”

I’ll add in a little note that it is the REx being spoken of.

Once BMW ups that range to a minimum of 120 miles, a lot more people would jump on it and may have a similar story. 65-70mi in ideal conditions just doesn’t cut it for a lot of people and that’s why they have to go for REX or choose to wait.

as long as you stick to metropolitan area driving, you can meaningfully own a BMW i3 ReX as your *only* car. but adding that disclaimer makes it a tough sell to the non-EV enthusiast in the US.

adding range doesn’t turn a BEV into a credible “only car” candidate because for an only car you have to have transportation that is reliable *every* day, even in unexpected circumstances. the problem with relying on range as a kind of savior is that it fails to consider that you have to consider how many miles you’ll drive and how many miles you can expect to recover from recharging each day. in colder climate areas that balance is a bit trickier.

i3 REx is my only car. I’ve taken it on a 200 mi trip.

Where’s the problem?

i suspect that most people would probably object to the idea of having to stop every 30 minutes to get gasoline; it would just get old very fast. obviously, you’re very different.

30 minutes? It’s more like 60 minutes. Still short yes, but hardly unbearable IMO unless you’re doing some cross country trek.

the size of that tank is less than 2 gallons, so when you are driving in extended range mode, you are in a low fuel condition. the car gets 35-40mpg in extended range mode; basically not any better than the heavier Chevrolet Volt, which speaks to the inefficiency of the BMW i3 ReX’s extended range operation; although, i suppose it would please the EV enthusiast since the ICE never engages in the drive train.

under those conditions, *most* people driving a BMW i3 ReX, i suspect, would probably only drive about 30 minutes before looking to refill, because most people do not drive to the point where they are driving on fumes. but again, you are obviously a *very* different kind of driver.

Also your argument was not about cross country road-trips (which the i3 is not ideal for). It was about changing a BEV into an only car.

I’d say the REx does *precisely* that and I’m not working in hypotheticals since I own one and sold my gas car.

if you read my post more closely you will realize that i agree with your assessment of the utility of the BMW i3 ReX.

I wonder if there is a compairison between Volt and i3 REX owners, how much of their driving is in AEM and how much is in ICE-Mode. About the same or significantly less ICE-Mode with the i3 REX?

It makes sense that the REx owners would drive significantly more on battery than gas. I like to Volt a lot but it obviously has much less EV range and is designed to work identically on gas power as battery unlike the REx.

I have a REx and have so far used 3 gallons of gas over 1300 miles.

The i3 is truly a great car. We put 20K miles on it already in less then a year. The only issue I have is every time I call about the charging rate and the KLE issue, no one at BMW or the dealer want to deal with it.

Second car or primary car can have the same meaning.

An EV as a ‘second car’ is not related to how much it’s driven vs another vehicle, but the fact that there ‘has’ to be another ICE vehicle in the home fleet as a range backup. For most EV owners, their EV is their primary car for daily driving. So this is nothing new.

However, the EV becomes an ‘Only car’ when households with just one vehicle only has one or more EVs.

When entry compact/midsize EVs reach 160+ miles of range(next year?), then we will see more EVs becoming only cars. It will then make more sense to rent an ICE vehicle for an annual long road trip. Many who already own an ICE vehicle rent anyway not to put miles on their own (leased) ICE vehicle.

Just to set the record straight, the I sub-brand has sold as of June 2015, over 30,000 units, over 26k i3s and 4.5k i8s, not 27k as reported above.

Yeah, this headline is from the “Obvious Dept of Obvious”… ;oP