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Old 05-25-2016, 12:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
Engineering first
 
bwilson4web's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 791

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: 76
Thanked 196 Times in 126 Posts
Why BMW i3-REx

Hi,

I just paid a little over $30k including sales tax, for an end of lease buyout, BMW i3-REx and started analysis. This combines two posts from PriusChat edited for ecomodder.com.

PERFORMANCE

One of my hard requirements is any car must be able to reach Nashville TN without a stop, ~120 miles, and the BMW i3-REx (Range Extender) is listed at 150 miles. But the EPA does not list the exact test conditions so:
  • This is battery only, not with the range extender.
  • The 'red' line is the speed the drag power equals the range extender power.
  • Example: @35 mph it will travel 130-140 miles on battery, taking 4.0 hours.

It turns out that 'mi/kWhr' is built into the car displays so:
  • 746W (1 hp) assumed vehicle overhead based on Prius metrics. Needs to be measured.
  • 18.7 kWhr usable pack capacity - rated at 22 kWhr but BMW specs show 18.7.
  • EPA roll-down coefficients
  • EPA lists the battery range as 72 miles, speed unknown
Edmunds had done a long-term study of the i3-Rex: 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test - Wrap-Up

Resale and Depreciation:
We purchased our i3 with range extender for $49,999. After one year and 10,400 miles, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator valued the BMW at $33,300 based on a minimal number of i3 sales available for comparison at the time. Given the tiny market for EVs in general, we weren't that surprised to find little interest in our used i3.

Following a prolonged period on the market, we sold the car for the best price offered, a disappointing $26,000 from CarMax. Even after subtracting the $2,500 California rebate from the purchase price, our i3 still depreciated 45 percent. That's the worst ever for our long-term fleet, but it's slightly skewed by the fact that the i3 also qualifies the original purchaser for a $7,500 tax credit, a factor that doesn't enter into the equation.
LESSONS LEARNED

Buying a car has changed over time and there are new tricks and traps. I've paid my tuition to the school of hard knocks this month. Hopefully, this will give folks some insights.

Understand Fair Market Value

Of course there are car value sites but they usually are in the business of buying and selling a used car. Take their estimates with a grain of salt. However, my 'gold standard' are completed, car sales on eBay. So I found the range to be $24.5-30k.

Make Sure It Is The Car You Want

At one point, I was in the bank and almost bought a BMW i3, not range extended, because I had confused my eBay watch list. It would have been a fair market value for a range extended i3 but it wasn't the car I wanted. Sad to say, I paid a $500 deposit (tuition in the school of hard knocks) on that lesson learned but was helped by the banker. I learned about the BMW VIN look-up sites to see how the car was built.

CarFax And Others Can Be Wrong

Early, I found a BMW i3-REx in Houston listed for $36k under 'make an offer.' My $24.5k offer was rejected but I got a follow-up e-mail accepting the offer (Huh?) Regardless, I started planning the purchase, had the loan lined up but two criteria needed by the bank, bill of sale (or sales contract) and copy of title, were not ready. The salesman was going to take the car to BMW to have the check lights fixed (4 year warranty with 2 years remaining.) At the BMW dealer, the warranty work was rejected:

Hello Bob , thanks for the patience in waiting for the BMW . I just got off the phone with the dealership . The check engine light is being addressed . They informed us that this vehicle had been involved in a previous accident and would no longer have any factory warranty . There is no record of this in the Car Fax so we started a search . We were able to locate information of the accident . I believe in being up front so please click on the link below to view the damage . If this is an issue and you do not want to move forward I understand . We pride ourselves in letting customers know of any problems if we become aware of them . This is why we do an inspection before we complete a deal .

I remain grateful to an honest salesman as this could have been ugly! Sad to say, the car was put back up on eBay without noting the earlier collision damage and still listed at $36k.

I settled on a BMW i3-REx out of Charlotte NC that I'd identified in early May. However, the VINcheck report indicated there was a lien. Calling the dealer, they claimed there was none and showed a CarFAX report saying the same. I called VINcheck and they said, call the dealer who I'd just gotten off the phone. Fortunately, multiple car reports showed no evidence of a salvage title.

Get Powerful Friends: Ebay And Banker

I knew this car had the BMW version of TSS-P and loaded but there was still a question about the various car reporting services giving conflicting information. It turns out that Ebay has a powerful, buyer protection service and reading the terms and conditions, they will cover up to $50,000 to resolve a conflict. This includes a non-reported lien or previously unreported damage. So I accepted the $29.9k price which means I had Ebay warranty on my side.

Now I had already gotten loan approval for 28K for the earlier i3 purchase. So I went back to my banker and had them handle the technical details of the purchase: (1) bill of sale, and (2) clean title. While I was in my banker's office, she was able to identify the first buyer, who he sold it to, and confirmed the lien was removed. She also explained how the dealer in NC could handle the Alabama sales tax so all I need to do will be the tags.

In parallel, I sold employee stock and had a nice $29k cash in my brokerage account. The cash is delayed 3-5 business days but I had some small change. As practice, I wired $100 from the brokerage account to my bank and in the office confirmed it arrived and there were no fees involved. As early as Monday, I can transfer the money to the banker but I'll probably wait until I drive the car back home. The banker agrees so the loan is just a 'bridge' and there will be no car payments. After a couple of months, I may drop comprehensive ... we'll see.

Hire The Dealer To Check-out The Car

Having put $500 earnest money down on the deal and activated the eBay warranty, I ordered a "Used Car Inspection" from the local BMW dealer, the expensive $199 one that includes a road test. This fully meets the eBay warranty requirement of 'due diligence' and has the best expert eyes checking out the car. The car seller already has a 'series 7' at the dealership so they will drive the i3 over and return in their 'series 7'. They understand this is required to complete the deal. My banker agrees.

BTW, the seller wanted to see my driver's license and insurance. So I added the BMW i3-REx with collision and comprehensive and $1,000 deductible. I sent the seller a photo of both and the banker was happy to see the insurance card too.

I am scheduled to fly to Charlotte on Friday and got a phone summary from the dealer. So I sent the check, Priority Mail, one less thing to worry about.

Preparing To Drive The Car Home

Thanks to a BMW user forum, I ordered a $150 software patch that allows setting the engine 'sustain charge' level to 75%, the European level, instead of the CARB 6%. What this means is I can leave with 100% SOC and after driving to the Interstate and getting to cruise speed, I can turn on the engine while on cruise control to keep the traction battery at 75%:
  • engine warms up at a low, highway, constant speed, load
  • when more power is needed, it draws automatically from the traction battery
  • full 168 hp is available while the 34 hp range extender engine handles any shortage
My "blink" card for a charging network arrived in today's mail. I've also added two 'plug-in' apps to the cell phone. I've also learned out how to call the 'usual suspects' to identify charging stations. One of the i3 options is a high-speed, DC charging option, 80% charge in 30 minutes if I can find the charger. Regardless, I can run the range extender in 80 mile segments while maintaining the traction battery for all 168 hp.

I also ordered Autoenginuity with the BMW option. This is a diagnostic software that will let me see what a BMW technician can see.

The Plan

There are two routes from Charlotte that differ by 7 miles: (1) via Atlanta, or (2) via Knoxville. Knowing Atlanta traffic and it is a 3-day, holiday weekend, no way I'm giving those cracker-heads a chance to dent my new car. Instead, I'll climb to Ashville and take the I40 pass to Knoxville. It means an early climb from ~700 ft to ~2800 ft which is an excellent vehicle test. Best of all, on the back slope, the car will fully charge … YEA!!!

If I pass by a WalMart or Autozone, I'll pickup a spare gas can and fill it at my first stop.

Google Map shows the Charlotte to Knoxville run is just under 4 hours, 230-245 miles. I anticipate two fuel stops for the 2 gallon, range extender engine. I will be climbing until I reach the pass. Then on the downhill side, YIPPIE!!!!!

I expect to be at the Charlotte airport about 3 PM and have the car by 6 PM. The 4 hours to Knoxville will be just perfect and I'll have options: (1) nap at a charging station, or (2) drive until tired and take a nap on the way home to Huntsville. Regardless, I'll be home by Saturday sunrise with our new BMW i3-REx. Along the way, I'll also take metrics to validate my BMW i3-REx model.

One trick on cross-country EV driving, find the "Whole Foods" and give them a call to confirm they have chargers open 24x7. In fact, call any site claiming to have chargers to make sure they are operational and access limitations.

BTW, God is laughing her ass off,

Bob Wilson

ps. Why.

__________________
2019 Std. Range Plus Model 3 - 134 MPG3 || 2014 BMW i3-REx - 117 MPGe, 39 MPG
JuiceBox 40 Pro (240 VAC, 40 A), KHONS portable (120-240 VAC, 12-32 A)
Retired engineer, Huntsville, AL (five times AutoPilot saved.)

Last edited by bwilson4web; 05-25-2016 at 01:52 PM..
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