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Charging up the BMW i3.


BMW i3 Long-Term Review from Australia

BMW i3 at purchase 2019.

Simon Bourne was planning his retirement, and one of his aims was to have a car that would last him as long as he needed it to. So he went to his local Toyota dealer with plans to buy a hybrid Corolla (HEV). While waiting, he spotted a consignment car reseller next door and had a wander around the lot. At the back he found a BMW i3 for sale. It was like new. He had never heard of it. But, it was a BMW, right!

The car was 5 years old (made in 2014) with only 10,000 km on the odometer. The price, only $AU41,500, half the price of a new one. Simon decided that he wanted to give electric driving a go. “It is something I wanted to try out for myself.” Apparently, the Beemer had belonged to an environmentalist working for a nonprofit. He had passed away and his daughter inherited the car. BMW offered her a very low figure, so the BMW i3 ended up at the back of a consignment yard.

Simon bought the car and began the learning journey. He took the car to the BMW dealership — it had little service history, hadn’t seen the car since the pre-delivery check. However, he did find out that the stock number was 1001 — first sold on the 17th of November, 2014. So, it was probably the first BMW i3 sold in Queensland. He has learned a lot about BMW i3s and other EVs in general in the 25,000 km he has driven around Brisbane in the last three years.

The big question on my mind was battery degradation. How much range has the i3 lost in its 8 years of life? Just 3% when he bought it in August 2019, now about 5 or 6% he tells me (17.5 kWh of 18.8 kWh). The car has a 130 km range. He just plugs it in every time he comes home. The car will control the battery charge and needs. It was exciting to me when Simon said he didn’t know how long it takes to charge. He just treats it like he does his mobile phone.

BMW i3 battery capacity.

“It charges to 120 km+ easily, using the Zappi and drawing the power from the house solar. The Zappi charger is set on auto mode and charges with excess solar during the day. I really don’t know how long it takes to charge. I just plug it in like my mobile.”

Charging up the BMW i3.

Simon extols the i3’s unique features. The designer was given carte blanche to produce an environmentally sustainable EV. Even the supply chain was investigated to make sure that the car was not just green, but a very dark green. It is not a dirty build, even the production factory in Leipzig runs on solar power. Despite being headed toward retirement, note that the BMW i3 was the second highest selling in EV in Germany this past April.

“My step daughter even said that with a range of 130 km I was heading back to the stage coach days. Other people bemoan having to go to a charging station. But it suits my range needs and only occasionally would I ever go to a charging station.”

Simon is retired now and believes that the BMW i3 will last him the rest of his life. The carbon fibre frame doesn’t wear out and the drivetrain should last as well. As for the battery, worst case scenario, he can have it replaced and the current one can serve as his home battery.

Simon Bourne


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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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