BMW i3 REx: owner's 3 years with range-extended electric car Page 2

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2014 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car at 3 years [photo: owner Tom Moloughney]

2014 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car at 3 years [photo: owner Tom Moloughney]

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Finally, they also seem to wear out quickly. I’ve gotten over 20,000 miles on my tires before needing to replace them, but numerous i3 drivers report their tires being completely worn out after less than 15,000 miles on the road.

To me, the i3’s tires are its single biggest flaw. When a second-generation i3 is released, I’d like to see BMW replace them with more traditionally-sized tires that can be ordered from a variety of manufacturers.

Better adaptive cruise control, parking assist

BMW i3 buyers expect advanced technology, but some of those features have flaws.

ALSO SEE: 2018 BMW i3 preview (including battery rumors)

Unfortunately, the Adaptive Cruise Control occasionally disengages by itself, and it doesn't recognize certain vehicles, apparently because of their taillight configuration.

My car will drive right into the rear of a Dodge Charger, for instance, because for some reason the Charger's taillights (which extend around the entire rear of the vehicle) confuse the system.

Direct sunlight and, sometimes, even overpasses can also cause the system to shut off.

Still, even with its flaws, I use the system all of the time and really love it: I just want it to work better.

2014 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car at 3 years [photo: owner Tom Moloughney]

2014 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car at 3 years [photo: owner Tom Moloughney]

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The Parking Assistant is an automated parking feature that does an incredible job of parking the i3 in very tiny parking spots. It only needs an opening 22 inches longer than the car, and it will get it into the space.

The problem is, I've had numerous people tell me that their car rubbed the curb during the automated parking, scratching the rims.

It happened to me once, and that was enough for me to stop using it because it had damaged the wheel.

I believe the system has an inherent flaw that needs to be fixed; for now I recommend that i3 owners not use the Parking Assistant until BMW improves it.

Unless, of course, you don’t mind curb rash and the costly repair or replacement of very special wheels that it entails.

2014 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car at 3 years [photo: owner Tom Moloughney]

2014 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car at 3 years [photo: owner Tom Moloughney]

Enlarge Photo

Heated steering wheel, rear seats

The lack of a heated steering wheel on the i3 is a real head-scratcher. Just about every serious electric vehicle offers one, and there’s a good reason for that.

Cabin heaters require a fair amount of energy, and using them can significantly cut into the vehicle’s range. Electric-car drivers have learned they can save energy and maximize their range by using seat heaters instead of the cabin heat.

Having a heated steering wheel absolutely improves comfort, and consequently, it lets the driver reduce the use of the cabin heater even more.

Additionally, without heated seats in the rear, using cabin heat becomes necessary if any passengers are sitting in the back.

I could understand not including a heated wheel and rear seat heaters if the i3 were an entry-level car, but it’s not: a well-equipped i3 exceeds $50,000.

At that price, it should have all the premium comfort options available. BMW needs to make these features available on the i3 as soon as possible.


 
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