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Old 01-15-2017, 12:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
Engineering first
 
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 750

14 i3-REx - '14 BMW i3-REx
Last 3: 45.67 mpg (US)

17 Prime Plus - '17 Toyota Prius Prime Plus
90 day: 58.25 mpg (US)
Thanks: 70
Thanked 153 Times in 106 Posts
2014 BMW i3-REx report

Hi,

In May, we 'sold' our 03 Prius to our housekeeper who needed reliable, affordable transportation. So the first Saturday in May 2016, I went by the local Toyota dealer to look at the 2016 Gen-4 Prius.

The local dealer would not talk about price unless I took one for a test drive. But dynamic cruise control and accident avoidance was only available on the middle grade, level three with a d*mn moon roof. So we went to a local benchmark loop and after 5 miles, I complained that "99.1 MPG is not good enough."

Back at the dealer, they offered it for $33k and I told them, "Sorry but 99.1 MPG is not good enough" as I'd already used the roll-down parameters and knew the Level two ECO would easily bust 110-120 MPG. They asked me to wait and came back with $28.5k. I knew I could get a 2014 BMW i3-REx off-lease with 6,440 miles for $29.9k ... that was an easy decision.

GOOD NEWS

I drove 66 days in EV mode, $0.25/10 miles, before I got a message,"Please run the range extender." That $0.25/10 miles is misleading as about 1/3d of my EV miles are from free, public chargers. My 'out of pocket' cost is closer to $0.15/10 miles.

The dynamic cruise control makes cross country driving a dream. At 65 mph, I get 40 MPG and follow trucks that already drive in the 65-67 mph range. At 70 mph, it drops to 38 MPG and 75 mph 34 MPG with a 20% loss of SOC with each tank. Slack off to 55 mph, it gets 44 MPG. At 65 mph, it runs about $0.60/10 miles, not great but acceptable.

So far, we've driven three trips:
  • 463 miles - Charlotte NC to Huntville AL, 6 fuel stops
  • 700 miles - Huntsville AL to Stillwater OK, 10 fuel stops and 1 gal spare can
  • 700 miles - Stillwater OK to Huntsville, 10 fuel stops

Since May, we've gone from 6.4k miles to 18.4k miles in 7 months. With 168 hp, rear wheel drive, in a 2900 lb car, it is a sprite ride. But I'm starting to look at efficiency tuning.

I've already figured out a simple approach to doubling the 2 gallon fuel capacity to 4 gallons. This doubles the gas range from ~80 miles which more nearly matches a typical +2 hour drive segment.

BAD NEWS

The 5 year, 50k mile warranty has been great but being a first model year, we've found:
  • BMW "recalls" are called "campaigns" and not always carried out on lease cars. They replaced two rear tires and I bought two front so we're running four new tires.
  • Single tire manufacturer for this car so they run ~$150 each.
  • Parts always add two days to a shop repair.
  • Rare parts ordered from Germany added a week.
  • A cracked windshield, $1,800 (the wiper slipped off the arm which snapped down to crack the glass.)
  • Repaired motor mount bolt failure is substantially stronger but there is no evidence of a wide-spread recall and repair of other BMW i3.
  • A 'code' (i.e., software patch) allows turning the engine on at 75% SOC like they do in the EU instead of the default, CARB imposed 6%. This is critical for safe, cross-country driving.
When the motor mount bolt failed, we didn't have the heart to drive our Gen-3 Prius with ordinary cruise control 1,600 miles to Arizona. During the two weeks to repair the BMW i3-REx, I test drove a Prius Prime and that led to replacing the Gen-3.

SUMMARY

I had considered keeping the Gen-3 Prius for a year as backup for the BMW i3-REx. But the long repair delays and potentially high price of repairs outside of warranty changed my mind.

Had the Prius Prime been available in May 2016, I probably would have passed on the BMW i3-REx. But the BMW i3-REx led to getting an L2 charging wiring at home (and a favorite business center.) At the current rate, the warranty will expire between June 2018 and by time, January 2019.

Bob Wilson

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Old 02-05-2017, 12:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
Engineering first
 
bwilson4web's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 750

14 i3-REx - '14 BMW i3-REx
Last 3: 45.67 mpg (US)

17 Prime Plus - '17 Toyota Prius Prime Plus
90 day: 58.25 mpg (US)
Thanks: 70
Thanked 153 Times in 106 Posts
For $8k, I sold our 2010 Prius, 73k, with extras: 2" receiver; Garmin nuvi; and fittings for 1kW inverter. The replacement is a 2017 Prius Prime Plus (lowest trim), $28.5k, bought in North Kingstown, RI, which I picked up Jan 19 and drove home Jan 20. I'm expecting a $4.5k Federal tax credit for the car and $1k tax credit for the EV charging station.

It was a 1,200 mile, 21 hour, drive home via Wilkes-Barre PA and I-81. Using dynamic cruise control, speeds ran 65-70 mph behind trucks (i.e., constant speed) and the car delivered 55.7 MPG. After topping off the tank outside Hamden CT where I visited my brother Dave, I took the occasional biology breaks and next filled up 10.9 gal in Daleville, VA.

I bought the 2017 Prius Prime Plus for dynamic cruise control and accident avoidance and it also has lane keep assist. These convert driving long distances from a chore to 'sitting in a comfy chair' and listening to my iPhone music collection.

I drove the rest of the tank around town until it ran out of gas. Much to my surprise, adding the spare 1 gallon was not enough to get the car running again. Using a leather man, multi-tool, a Power-ON reset by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery B- solved the problem. I did not see an indicator that the last of the gas has been burned.

The past six days I've been driving exclusively EV for 244 miles. The 25 mile EV range, ~1/3d of the BMW i3-REx, means I am more frequently using local, free, L2 (210-240VAC) chargers at a somewhat lethargic 16A charge rate, ~10 miles each hour. The BMW i3-REx is 31-32A, twice the rate.

At lunch time, I drive 0.25 miles away to UAH to get a free charge and pickup lunch at Dunkin Donuts, Chick Fil A, or the student cafeteria. This means I have pretty much a full charge for the commute home. On the way home, I shop at where there are free L2 chargers. The result is I'm only paying for about half of my EV miles.

A new model, there is no Prius Prime receiver hitch like the 2" added to our BMW i3-REx. I use it to carry my wife's manual wheelchair. But hopefully we'll see one show up this year or I'll have to make one.

I have a plan to add 2-3 gallons to the BMW i3-REx that will double the gas range up to ~150 miles. Then we'll have two plug-in vehicles with reasonable, safe, long-legs.

Bob Wilson

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