Why I’m Buying A BMW i8


Before I attempt to rationalize the decision, let me say there is no rational reason. It’s purely emotional, sentimental, and a dream.

As a young car loving boy, I sword fought with sections of Hot Wheels track, my Matchbox cars had gull wing doors, I built cars out of Lego bricks that had gull wing doors and big rear wings, slot cars were great…especially if they had gull wing doors.

Gull Wing Doors For The Win!

Gull Wing Doors For The Win!

The BMW i8 is expensive absolutely, but what price is worth living a priceless dream?

There is an interesting story here, one that I think is worthy of telling, of why there is such a strong attachment and compulsion for myself and for others who drive EVs and PHEVs. Why our love for these cars is so strong.

We’re called Electronauts, Fan Boys, Leafers, Voltheads, Teslamaniacs and worse. We are fiercely loyal to our cars, brands and electric mobility. We EVangelize (obsessively) and appreciate all supporters of electric mobility, their various reasons and brands. Why so much passion and devotion?

I won’t do this justice but let me try…

One of the greatest needs that we have as humans is diverse meaningful human relationships. It’s why our penal system is based around various and increasing degrees of removal from our relationships, from warnings, to citations, to incarceration, all the way down to solitary confinement and in some countries, death, the ultimate removal of any relationships. Money pales in comparison to the value of meaningful relationships.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on Peder’s blog. Check it out here.

The opposite of that penal system is freedom.

No greater tool has existed for us to connect and have relations to each other and to explore that freedom, than the automobile. Pictures, texting, social networking are great, but seeing a distant dear friend in person or sharing a trip to the Grand Canyon with family are experiences, that can never be replicated by a photo, text or phone call. It’s such a strong connection, and so important to us, that in many cities we are willing to turn over 50% of our land mass to a mechanical device that allows us to connect face to face.

But there is a huge downside; pollution, congestion, climate change, world conflict over the scarce resource needed to fuel the car, and so forth. Car companies heretofore have been suppliers of both freedom and increasingly, suppliers of problems.

Traffic = Smog

Traffic = Smog

I profoundly believe that today, car companies like BMW, driven by citizens and regulators as well as by innovation, are now transitioning and becoming suppliers of freedom and suppliers of answers that will lead us to a cleaner, healthier, more just and more equitable world.

A world where the car has zero emissions, the fuel for the car is zero carbon and made on the rooftop, where family and civic budgets are strengthened with lower cost of fuel and utilities. Where the air and water are clean. Where resources are plentiful and equitable. Where multiple modes of transit are possible and where more land is set aside for people and human relationships, not devices.

This is what I desire and what I work for. This is why I have such passion and value alignment for BMW and their efforts.

Of course, BMW needs to manage this transition from a few million gasoline cars annually to electric cars, and that does not happen with a flip of the switch, but the transition is unmistakably happening and BMW is seriously investing and planning for the electric future. The go-pedal is firmly planted on the CFRP firewall of electric mobility.

I love the two diverse approaches from the first BMW i 2014 vintage.

1. The BMW i3

Good Ol' Gas

Good Ol’ Gas

Make the most efficient car on the planet, then double down the bet and make it a slot car for adults imbuing the car with the DNA, performance, technology and amenities of a BMW.

BMW has forever broken the nexus of efficiency and lethargy. The BMW i3 is the car of the future.

2. The BMW i8

Make a plug in hybrid supercar and use the electric drive to augment torque lags, provide all wheel drive, all at the efficiency of a Toyota Prius. Take a 3 piston car and make it perform like a 8, 10 or 12 piston car, then double down and give it a stealth mode with electric only driving as well.

Yes, it uses gasoline and I’ll lose my “EV purity card,” but a dream is soon to be realized. The BMW i8 is the car of my dreams and the dreams of future generations.

I remember my first test drive of the crazy fun but rudimentary BMW Mini-E in early 2009. From that moment on, it’s been a very thrilling and personal “journey to the future” riding shotgun with BMW, a road-trip that I would encourage all to undertake.

Having a “First Vintage” of both the BMW i3 and the BMW i8, is a scrapbook of that personal journey for Julie and I, and just might be a solid investment.

That’s rational thinking. Right?

Categories: BMW


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35 Comments on "Why I’m Buying A BMW i8"

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But the i8 doesn’t have gull-wing doors. I’m not even sure what you would call those doors.

I love the i8’s futuristic appearance both inside and out. However, I don’t care nearly as much about the “supercar” performance. If I could afford one I’d probably be driving it around in EV mode all of the time.

same style doors as a Lamborghini

“Before I attempt to rationalize the decision, let me say there is no rational reason.”

Said it all in the first sentence. This thing undoes most of BMW’s halo effect of the i3.

Hard to change 40 years of nasty crap.

Voting with your Dollars to start a BMW electric revolution is helping. You’re backing up a risky CEO decision. If you don’t buy it would there be a version 2.0? Probably not.

In essence, we control the future of the auto industry with our purchases.

We also have the ability, by buying EVs, and Solar to force Exxon into a viable Plan B business model to give Exxon a Future and America lower damage from Global Warming.

Well said Mike, I try to tell people “You vote with your money”, it’s really the only power you have. Most people make emotional purchase decisions when they buy cars, this guy is combining that with a vote for sustainability.

You can buy a used Tesla Roadster for half the price then possibly add the 3.0 upgrade package for even more electric range. Total cost would probably still be a little less than the i8 – and you’d own an arguably an even more iconic car.

Uhm… well… dreams are dreams and taste is taste. I just hoped for an explanation “why i8 and not Tesla S”. Guess it’s because i8 looks more like the toy-car? And did you know that some of the i8s motor sounds are from speakers and not really from the motor?

But enjoy the dream!

“Before I attempt to rationalize the decision, let me say there is no rational reason.” I believe this is the thinking process of those who buy the BMW i3 Rex.

I’d be more impressed with the i8 if it had a bigger battery. It’s AER is just too small (for me).

I also have concerns about the big opening in the hood. Seems like a collection point for debris/snow/etc.

i think that people make a mistake when they try to envision the BMW i8 as being an “electric” car in the sense that you would think of the BMW i3. the electric motors in the BMW i8 are primarily there to enhance the performance of the vehicle, specifically, by giving it low end torque so that you can accelerate off the line. this reduces the torque demands on the ICE meaning that you can use a smaller ICE and still get the performance. i don’t think that the i8 is really intended to be a car that would be primarily driven on the electric motors alone.

Have you driven the i3? Some call it a death trap. When the battery power drops out you are being powered by a 34 HP engine. For some it has happened going up a hill trying to pass on a two-lane road. Want to road trip for the holiday weekend, how about stopping every hour to put 1.9 gallons in the tank. Check out the sub-par crash ratings as well. Why did BMW release this car?
The i8 is not much better except in looks. It only states the 0-60 with a fully charged battery, after only 20 miles of driving the exotic-looking car the battery is empty and now the 3300 lb car is being powered by 228 HP engine and any Honda Accord with a V-6 will outrun you. It’s your money, but don’t think you are getting a performance car, only a “performance-looking” car. I am not even sure how you park side-by-side in a parking lot with other cars/trucks/SUV’s with doors that open like that. You will have a novelty car since not many will be sold, kind of like the Fisker Karma.

This issue you describe is a rare case event. You act like this is a common issue that affects every driver.

First and foremost the issue doesn’t even exist on the i3, only on the i3 Rex. And I’d imagine even amongst i3 Rex owners they are driving on electric 99% of the time. So, you are talking about a fraction of i3 owners (rex only) and then a fraction of their driving time (long trips only) and then a fraction of those people (going up long steep mountain roads), and then a fraction of those people (who tried to pass on said road).

So yeah.. sorry, your BMW hate is sort of shining through.

Should do your research first. Most i3 sold in the US are the REx version. Secondly, both the journalist in the UK and the Consumer Reports journalist experienced this loss-of-power during their test drives and while passing a vehicle. Seems like a common occurrence. When you press the pedal, you want power to pass or to merge or to cross traffic. You do not want the power to unexpectedly cut-out on you while you are doing any of these things. I have previously owned a BMW 5-series. BMW does makes great cars. The i3 and i8 are not great cars and do not deserve a BMW badge.

You do realize they were purposely trying to overwhelm the REx to see its limitations. It’s been stated many many times before, the REx is meant as an auxiliary back-up to get you to a charger, not drive hours on end (even though some people do it). For all intents and purposes, the i3 REx is meant as a transitional vehicle for those who would otherwise have range anxiety.

“Before I attempt to rationalize the decision, let me say there is no rational reason”.These were the first words of the author of this article. If your decision to buy the BMW car Is not based on rational thought. That means it’s an irrational decision. To say someone is crazy to buy a BMW under those conditions, does not make me a BMW hater. For someone to buy the BMW i3 Rex for $50,000 Is not playing with a full deck. I don’t hate BMW.

Sorry but what you are describing is a misuse of the range extender feature. If people insist on using the i3 REx for long travels at high speed and/or over mountainous terrain, then they should know and understand the limits of their vehicle first.

Got it. $50,000+ for a car with limited driving capabilities, sub-par crash ratings, and acceleration of 0-60 mph that takes up to 40 seconds when battery is depleted. Have to both plug-in and still go to a gas station to fill the 1.9 gallon gas tank. This is the slowest BMW made in decades. What excuse does BMW have for selling this? Most people are buying now because they are the BMW faithful and it is new and unique. That will all wear-out soon.

That’s a fairly pessimistic view, considering it is best in class in just about every category compared to its competitors such as the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt. In fact, assuming money was not an issue, I’d still prefer to have an i3 over a Tesla.

I did the 3-day test drive of the i3 Rex. I thought it was an awesome car. I tested the range extender thoroughly and had absolutely no issue with it.

And I would not consider buying ANY of the BMW’s other products (except the i8, which I can’t afford)

Best in class against anemic electric cars does not cut it for the BMW brand. Remember when BMW said not to compare this car to the Volt, instead compare it to the Tesla?
No doubt BMW is among the best automobile manufacturers, but the Model S is in it’s third year of production and this is the best BMW can do to compete? The M5 used to be the family-man’s dream car, a four-door sedan coupled with awesome performance. Now the Tesla Model S does it much faster, can seat more, carry more, safer, looks good, far better warranty, and with much lower cost-of-ownership. It’s like BMW showed up to a gun-fight with a rock.
BTW, I agree with Peder that the i8 looks good and understand his attachment to his car. We all are different and thus value aspects of cars differently; To each their own.

” It’s like BMW showed up to a gun-fight with a rock.”

OK, that gets my vote as best line of the year so far 🙂

Not only have I driven an i3, I own one–perhaps the best car I have ever owned in a long life of vehicle purchases. I gave up much more expensive and bigger vehicles for the i3 without a regret. I once had the great slow down on a 210 miles roundtrip–only once, and that caused me to plan my trips better. But you miss the point entirely. The i3 is not a road car for long trips–although it will make them just fine–but rather a vehicle for city driving. Yesterday I drove 115 miles round trip and tomorrow I will do about the same. With the REx, which I have, I have no range anxiety whatsoever and can travel across Los Angeles and Orange Counties without concern as I do frequently. Also, BMW will soon have a “fix”, giving us greater flexibility in the use of the REx for extended travel. Most of my driving is on battery power, but having the REx makes the i3 a wonderfully convenient vehicle–and what fun it is to drive.

Peder, why the BMW i8 instead of a Tesla?

It sounds like the doors was the big selling point for him.

For myself, I’d probably rather have an i8 over a Tesla. The main reasons being all cosmetic. I think the i8 is far more beautiful and futuristic looking than the Model-S. And that isn’t just the outside, but also the inside.

In fact, literally the only two complaints I have with the i8 are: 1) The low all-electric range, and 2) the high price.

Boyhood Dreams

I see a beautiful girl, she stops and sits down near me. My heart skips a beat then she lights up a cigarette and pulls out a mirror and stares endlessly at herself.
My initial impulse to have her in my life vanishes as quickly as it appeared.
So it is with the i series BMW’s. The first glance held out the allure of romance but a closer look revealed the “Smoke and Mirrors”.

Save your money, the reality will break your heart and the divorce will break the bank .

Thank God, you understand

Now that you have explained to all of your friends why you are abandoning sanity, stretch out on the foor, breath deeply and let this Crazy notion pass.

i am glad you made your choice for your car even though you know it may not be the most rational decision. It is a very nice car! an i8 parked next to my Volt at the charger at the Hilton Hotel in Austin, TX this evening! I like it even more in person.

After seeing one at a ChargePoint, I also found the i8 stunning. Congratulations, Peder.

Models like the i8, from BMW, are very important for separating what PHEVs can do, from the general image of “hybrid” “electrics”. We’re not going to see million dollar Porsche/Ferraris. Racing fans mostly don’t understand/care about F1’s heat and mechanical recovery systems. A car like the i8 is one of the first “electric” racers, that many of us will see. As much as environmental, or EV purists, might argue it is pointless, an architecture like the i8 is starting to look most likely as a homologated formula. If that happens, then research dollars POUR INTO EV, and storage development.

I’m still impressed that F1 cut fuel by ~33%, this year, and is seeing the typical ~1 minute lap times fall by what look like 3-5 seconds. Racing can deliver the goods.

i don’t see a lot of logic in this posting, but there is a ton of ego on display. there isn’t a lot of content in this article that is useful to anyone *other* than the writer: he seeks to achieve his boyhood dream. fair enough. but otherwise, this post says nothing more than: if you’ve got the money to spare then buy a BMW i8. but it’s not worth living on ramen noodles to buy one.

Today I saw one of these in the streets of a small town in Netherlands! Absolutely beautiful…I wished the driver could park his car somewhere so I could go and take some pictures and look inside! If I had 150.000 dollars, I would have bought it too! It absolutely worth it! I don’t like the 3 cylinders part and the top speed of only around 250 km/h…but in Germany electricity is free in the sense that they don’t measure your usage…you simply pay just a specific amount monthly…I like this, man 🙂 I am in love with it but like most things in life that I like, I leave it alone too…I can’t have it at all 🙁 it is a damn sweet dreamlike million dreams of mine which I have had and never ever was fulfilled…but good choice for you 🙂 enjoy it…:) it is a great car…