If you’re a tech-savvy person who wants to try out the latest sorts of technology, electric cars are likely for you. The idea of driving around on nothing but electricity tickles the fancy of the tech-oriented, while most of us car enthusiasts will still want to burn dino-juice until there’s none left. Though, not every tech-savvy driver can afford a lot of newer EVs, as they’re not the cheapest cars in the world. And we won’t blame anyone for not wanting a Nissan Leaf because, well, it’s a Nissan Leaf. So what do you do if you want an electric car that’s filled to the brim with the latest tech but can’t afford a new one? Buy a pre-owned BMW i3.
Electric cars don’t hold their value well. They depreciate faster than almost any other kind of car, so used EVs are crazy cheap at the moment. One of the cheapest is the BMW i3. Right now, there are plenty of low-mileage i3s on the second-hand market for under $20,000. That really does make them the steal of the current market for a number of reasons.
First of which is just simply the discount. The current BMW i3, which admittedly has a bigger battery and further range than the used one, starts at $42,500. Right now, there are 2014 i3s on AutoTrader with less than 20,000 miles for about $16,000. That’s about $26,500, or about 62 percent, discount, which is insane for a three year old car. And it’s not like these used i3s are old, beat up and worn down cars. They’re off-lease cars with less than 10,000 miles per year on them. That’s almost impossible to beat.
Then there’s the fact that for under $20k, you’re getting a rear-wheel drive, rear-engine, carbon fiber BMW. The entire passenger cell is made from CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) and the subframes are made from aluminum. The interior bits are all made from recycled materials, such as the leather and fabric on the seats, the bamboo wood trim on the dash and even the plastics on the doors. Oh, and BMW uses olive tree oil to dye the leather, rather than fake dyes. It also comes with sat-nav and a fully electric powertrain. All of that can be had for about the same price as a brand-new Toyota Corolla.
Plus, the BMW i3 is one of the best driving Bimmers on the road. That sounds crazy, I know. But you have to drive one to realize why. Its steering is precise and sharp, the suspension is firm and planted and it’s actually fun to chuck around. Is it fast? Not really. Its 170 hp electric motor can get it from 0-60 mph in about 7 seconds but that’s still enough to be fun and it feels far punchier than those numbers suggest, especially from 0-30 mph, where it’s sports car-quick.
Admittedly, the 2014 BMW i3 only packs about 80 miles of electric range, which isn’t a lot. A Range Extender model is also available but they’re a bit more money. However, if you live in a city or small suburban town and don’t do a ton of driving, which most Americans statistically don’t, 80 miles of range is plenty.
So if you’re looking for an electric car to help you dip your toes into the electric car waters, a used BMW i3 could be the right car for you.