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Meet Jon – A BMW i3 Owner

BMW i | March 11th, 2014 by 5
JonBornElectric1

The article first appeared on BMWi3blogspot. Hello, I’m Jon from Norway and I was Born Electric on February 13th. Until now I’ve been “partly electric” …

The article first appeared on BMWi3blogspot.

Hello, I’m Jon from Norway and I was Born Electric on February 13th.

Until now I’ve been “partly electric” by cycling once a week (not in winter) to work with an electric bike. It’s 17km each way and I’ve done 1000km in total. Living in the southwest of Norway, in Sandnes and working in Stavanger, nearby.

Electric or hybrid?

Meet Jon   A BMW i3 Owner

I first started looking for a hybrid vehicle that could go electric to and from work. Toyota and Lexus could just go a few kilometers in electric mode which wasn’t enough for me. Then Volvo came up with one, but it was too expensive. The i3 was the first all-electric that I found interesting. In the past two years the most we have driven at any time was about 100km. If we need to travel longer than that, we go by air. After reading just about everything I could find about the i3, I decided to sign an informal agreement to buy one on July 11. Since then, Audi and VW have announced a few interesting hybrids, but the Norwegian tax system gives the all-electric cars some advantages (at the moment). That meant the all electric BMW i3 is actually less expensive then the competing hybrids, plus it gets toll free passage and is free on ferries!

Buying it:

In October, BMW put an i3 in front of the Oslo Marathon to serve as a pace car. The BMW shop Bavaria in Stavanger lent it for a day and had it on exibition in town. I went there, took a glance, and felt in love. Unfortunately the salespersons knew even less than I did (Hi Tom, It’s the same mess in Norway!), so I spoke with two engineers that came to look at the charging system. Together we agreed that BMW needs another type of way to sell these electric cars. Speciliasts that have been properly trained for these unique vehicles.

My experience earlier was that coming in to the BMW car shop speaking Oslo dialect got them to believe that I worked with Statoil and was looking for an expensive model. The salespersons focus on status models with big engines is not suitable for electric cars! These cars are different and the sales processes should be different as well. When i3 was introduced in November, I took it for a spin and was convinced. I was about the 50th person to sign a contract out of the 550 in total in the southwest of Norway. After seven long months of waiting, I finally have it!

Driving it:

It is a pleasure to drive! It is fast when you need it, yet with smooth and easy ride. Small and quick in town and with an impressive turning radius! Many Norwegian families have two cars because both parents use a car to come to work and the i3 can be a perfect second car for many of them. Quite often they will have a large car to go to their cottage in weekends.

However from now on, the second should be all-electric like the i3! Moreover, for some of us it is the primary car, the one that gets the most use. The one foot driving is perfect! In the morning rush, I used to step on the brake pedal hundreds of times to avoid crashing. Now I just regulate the speed by the accelerator pedal. Even better, I go into the line of cars on the motorway and turn on the adaptive Cruise control. It’s possible for me to travel the whole 15 km on the motorway just steering, not touching the any pedals! (Try that, Tesla!) I have a very good second car, a Saab 9.3 automatic, but I will now use it only if we decide to go by car to Oslo (500km, We have only Japanese fast charging system here now) or if I need to fetch something with a trailer. Last week we went to visit some relatives in the Archipelago north of Stavanger.

The car did fine on the 80km drive, even with 5 degrees Celsius and strong winds. I was worried about the distance and how much air conditioning (heating) I could use, but was relieved when the car showed 55km to go after driving the 80km. Since the i3 is a tall car, strong winds do affect the steering more than I am used to, but it is not a big deal once you get used to it.

Perfect choice?

As a city car, I believe the best choice for the i3 is the all-electric car version now. Agile, quick and fun to drive. I like the narrow tires because they will not float in snow and they will not follow tracks in the asphalt. Norwegian roads have often tracks from cars with studded tires. The i3 REx would definitely make my range anxiety disappear, but here in Norway, it is too expensive because of the special tax system. To have the newest in security, you must add much of the extras BMW provide! I paid 36% extra to get the essentials! (Tyre Pressure Monitor is free).

I believe i3 is the only all-electric car with adaptive Cruise Control. That is a great, but soon the electric VW Golf comes with it as a standard feature! Relative to the range anxiety, both Audi A3 and VW Golf comes with 204hk hybrid cars that uses 0,15l/10km! If BMW does not come up with wider range of electric cars, or hybrid 4×4, then VW-Audi will achieve their European goal, being the leading automaker here, also in electric and hybrid cars. As for the sound system, the car is a virtual concert hall with the Harman Kardon loudspeakers. I have a lot of music stored on the hard disk in the car. To listen to quiet parts of classical music without disturbance from the petrol motor is perfect. The extras are from the ordinary BMWs, and suits the i3 well. To give i3 the right premium feel along with the rest of the BMWs, I think you need optional equipment like adaptive Cruise Control, stop and go and Harman Kardon loudspeakers. However, as said before, these features do cost a lot! In Norway the base i3, the Leaf and Golf cost about the same without optional equipment. For me, i3 wins even though you do not buy optional equipment.

Two practical things about the i3 that I’d like to recommend: Floor mats in white velor are nice to look at, but not to use in winter. Also do not put the electric cables under the bonnet. The wet environment might damage it, they said. Therefore, I recommend using a waterproof bag for them like I do.

  • Hugo

    Tesla has the same 1 one foot driving (break lights even come on, do they on the i3?), what’s more in the Tesla the system can be adjusted by the driver if a more “traditional driving style” is wanted. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure will be available soon.

    • What’s your point?

      Yes yes yes.. we know… the Tesla runs on unicorns and magic farts and everything else is crap because Musk says so. 1-foot driving has been around since the EV beginnings.. BMW has been doing it says the Mini E.. hell, even hybrid cars do a mild version of it. but they favor coasting over aggressive regeneration.

      I don’t understand why everyone praises or defends Tesla so religiously. If you talk to anyone with a legitimate technical background they will tell you the same thing, that the Tesla is not an amazing vehicle in respect to technology. In fact, your admittance to it not having adaptive cruise control, which has been pretty standard for luxury vehicles for quite some time is evidence in itself.

      The Tesla is expensive because it has 4-5x more batteries, not because it’s that much better. It gets 2x the range of other EVs because it has 4-5x more batteries, not because they did something revolutionary with vehicle design. It’s a safe vehicle because it has about 2000 lbs of batteries, that makes it heavier and rigid (both from the batteries and required structural support to handle the additional mass). When you break the Tesla down into what it actually is, it’s just a regular EV using the same Panasonic batteries all other EV manufacturers use. It’s designed and built on the same principles as traditional vehicles, albeit Tesla’s own platform.

      Am I saying it’s a bad car? No. It’s just not what everyone makes it out to be. A game changer it is not. It’s not that no other company could produce an EV car with 200-300 mi range, it’s that they wanted mass adoption which mean keeping costs down. The majority of cost is the battery. Period. Musk simply risked $0.5 Billion of tax payer money at virtually no risk to himself to introduce a no costs barred BEV. If he failed the worst that would have happened is the government possessing Tesla and auctioning off everything. What the Tesla did show is that there are people willing to pay for expensive EVs to get range and bragging rights. If you look at it that way, then yes, the Tesla is a game changer, just not on a technological level.

      Musk is definitely a genius in marketing. But, he’s dumb as nails when it comes to actual science. If you know people who work for him or have worked for him they’ll tell you the same thing. The guy doesn’t understand basic science and engineering principles. He can’t perform basic analyses, but will instead say things like “it will work because my TV works and only uses 100W”. You can’t expect much from someone with an economics degree, after all. In initial interviews, he even admitted originally that he does no science, design, or engineering. Somewhere along the lines he changed his tone. My guess is that he saw all the attention and positive marketing it provided when people thought he was a real life Tony Stark, so he’s been living up the role ever since. I’m not sure what irks me more, him pretending or him taking credit for his hardworking employees. (and no I don’t work for him, but I do know plenty that do or got fed up and quit)

      • Hugo

        didn’t know only comments that praise BMW were allowed.
        The article calls out Tesla (Try that, Tesla!) so I thought a little comment was warranted, I guess I’ll have to hand in my BMW, I wasn’t told that I was not allowed to find other brands good too.
        The difference with Tesla is that it changes what we the customers have been told for so long were paying options, you want to connect your phone, gotta pay, want to change an engine setting, gotta pay with Tesla those are just free in the software and if a new item is developed it gets sent free to all cars (like creep mode).
        Thing is the Tesla does not advertise, they give free test drives and everyone that has driven one is sold, it really is that good.

        • Tommolog

          Hugo, Tesla does not have the same one foot driving experience. I have driven every modern electric vehicle – including both Tesla products extensively and I can tell you with certainty, the one thing that BMW has over Tesla is the strength of regen and how you can control the cars acceleration and deceleration with one pedal. Of all the EV’s out there today, the Model S probably has the second strongest regen after the i3 with the Volt in low mode very close behind.

          I’m not taking anything away from Tesla, the Model S is the best all around electric vehicle available today, but to be fair, BMW has absolutely the best regenerative braking system of any EV, and it’s not even close.

  • digivue

    I checked one out at the auto show and the interior looked like it was made of recycled paper. Very underwhelming quality of materials for 40K.

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