(Last Updated On: January 21, 2019)
The BMW i3 represents the first, and certainly not final, step into the electric sphere for BMW. The legendary German automaker tried something new with this model, and the results have been brilliant.
The i3 is a step away from what BMW does, in a number of ways. The design is completely different from anything else that BMW has produced. The engineering is a first for the manufacturer. And it represents a step away from the high-performance vehicles that BMW is known for, and a step towards efficiency and environmentally friendly vehicles.
Just because the i3 is focused on being green, doesn’t mean that it’s not fun to drive. It still has the patented BMW flair when you’re behind the wheel. If you own a BMW i3, then you’ve surely noticed that this is one of the most enjoyable to drive electric vehicles on the market
Interesting and unique features for BMW i3 buyers and owners
One of the more interesting features that BMW offers to buyers two engine options for the i3. The standard model has a maximum range of 114 miles per charge. However, you can also purchase the vehicle with a two-cylinder gas-powered range extender, that allows the maximum range to increase to 180 miles.
Because this is a BMW, it shouldn’t be surprising that it drives incredibly well. This is a highly responsive electric vehicle. Perhaps most fascinating is that the interior is designed with the goal of creating a zen space, which will calm down drivers. That not only makes drivers more safe, but slows them down, and thus increases the range of the battery charge.
One of our favorite features in the i3 isn’t actually noticeable when you drive it. BMW went out of their way to find a way to build the i3 with emissions free factory construction, meaning that this car is not only green on the streets, but green during production, as well. BMW’s carbon-neutral construction plant runs on 100% renewable energy, and uses 70% less water than a conventional auto manufacturing plant.
That’s the approach that BMW takes with this entire vehicle. The wood graining on the dashboard is made from sustainably grown eucalyptus trees, rather than the harmful products that are usually used to construct vehicle interiors.
This car is green through and through, but it’s also a BMW through and through
Maintenance tricks and important information
Here’s the great news for anyone owning a BMW i3, or thinking about purchasing one. By many reports, the i3 is the cheapest electric car on the market to maintain (of course it’s one of the more expensive ones to purchase, but that’s a separate point). And unlike many other electric vehicles on the market, the i3 is significantly cheaper to maintain than a standard gasoline engine vehicle.
Of course, the maintenance is impacted by which option you choose for your car. The range extender uses a gasoline engine to charge the battery, which means that, well, there’s a traditional gasoline engine in the vehicle. That engine requires a bit more maintenance than the standard electric version, so that adds to maintenance costs. So if you want the extra miles, prepare for the extra maintenance, and the extra cost. It’s also worth noting that the range extender costs a fair bit of money as an option; a lot more money than the range extenders in most electric vehicles. So while the i3 will save you a lot of money in maintenance, it requires a pretty strong investment to purchase the car. It’s not all roses, in other words, no matter how nice this vehicle is.
BMW utilizes an i remote app, that lets drivers know when they need to have their car inspected. This allows for the company to catch issues early on, and keep the car from having serious problems. When you take an i3 for scheduled maintenance, the battery will be cycled, and the technicians will check to make sure that the battery is operating properly and everything is running up to speed.
The tires on the i3 are wider than they used to be, which has its ups and downs. The vehicle handles better because of that, and the tires last for a much longer time before they need to be replaced. However, the tires are also a bit more expensive than you might expect on a vehicle of this size (the tires in a Smart car, for instance, are a little bit smaller, and more affordable as a result).
The best part about maintaining an i3, however, is that BMW has an extensive free maintenance plan. The company covers basic maintenance for nearly every component of the car, for the first four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. That’s really impressive, and basically means that you don’t have any costs associated with the vehicle for a very long time. That’s a win for i3 owners everywhere.
Top 5 accessories for the BMW i3
Most electric vehicles are unique, and as a result, they have unique features and needs. As such, it’s great to find accessories for the specific electric car that you have. Here are our five favorite accessories for the BMW i3.
The i3 is a highly practical car. A fully-electric vehicle that you can charge at home and drive over 100 miles on a single charge is the definition of practical. So if you want to increase that practicality, we strongly suggest a cargo liner.
We’re always a fan of cargo liners in our cars, because they help protect the floors of the vehicle. But with a car like the i3, that’s extra important. The i3 is a BMW, which means it’s nice, classy, and a little bit fancy. That’s not a car that you want to treat like a work truck, not worrying about scratching or hurting it.
This cargo liner fits perfectly into the i3’s interior, where it protects the car from harm, and help maintain a clean aesthetic, and a high resale value.
It’s very easy to remove this cargo liner, which means it’s easy to clean. If it gets dirty or you spill something, just remove the liner, wash it off, wait for it to dry, and install it again. Installation is quick and easy, so the whole process doesn’t take any time at all.
Built by WeatherTech, the quality and durability of this cargo liner is exceptional. It will easily last as long as your car does, and it won’t look worn out, or beat up along the way. This is simply a strong, long-lasting cargo liner that will perfectly protect your i3.
The best aspect of this cargo liner is the design that’s helps limit the damage from liquid spills. The cargo liner is built to channel all of the spilled fluids into a reservoir, so that it’s easy to clean up, and minimizes mess. It’s truly brilliant.
You can but the i3 cargo liner here.
This is a really unique accessory, and not one that we’ve seen for very many vehicles. This OBD to ethernet coding cable allows owners to play with the programming in their i3. WIth the coding cable (and some instructions on how to use it), you can add some new features to your i3, and unlock some factory functions.
If that sounds cool, wait until you see the details! Here are just a few of the thing that you can do with the OBD to ethernet coding cable for the BMW i3: you can unlock the full 2.4 gallons in the range extender, rather than the standard 2.0 gallons, which is computer limited. You can enable videos from USB, and enable the rear view camera to operate at all times, not just when your car is in reverse. You can program the side view mirrors to automatically tilt down when in reverse, to increase visibility. You can disable the gongs that chime when you start and stop the vehicle, and you can set a mirror fold delay time.
And that’s just the start of it. There are nearly endless possibilities with a coding cable. It gives you access to the i3’s computer, so that you can program and customize it to your standards. Most of the coding that you can do will be done for you at a dealership, if you want, but . . . then you have to go to a dealership! This way you can do it all yourself, and end up essentially hacking your computer to make it perform exactly as you want it. That’s pretty cool if you ask us. Count us in, big time.
You can buy the i3 Coding Cable here.
If you have an electric vehicle, you can never have enough charging accessories. And that is definitely true for the BMW i3. The TurboCord Charger is exactly what it sounds like: a charger that allows you to charge your i3 much more quickly than with the factory option. That can make all the difference in the world, especially if you use your i3 frequently.
This charger is dual voltage, so it can be used with a 120 volt or a 240 volt outlet. It uses the former to accomplish level 1 charging, and the latter for level 2 charging. With the TurboCord Charger, you can fully charge your i3 in approximately eight hours, which is pretty impressive.
The TurboCord Charger is highly portable, as well. It fits in your hand, and doesn’t weigh very much at all. Add in the dual voltage connector, and you can take this charger with you everywhere. We recommend just keeping it in your i3 at all times, so that you can charge your vehicle whenever, and wherever.
If you’re a big BMW fan, then this is a great purchase. Not only can the TurboCord Charger be used with an i3, but it can be used to help charge any BMW plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, such as the 330e, 530e, and 740e.
One note that’s important: the TurboCord Charger only works for the i3s from 2017 and beyond, so if you have an older i3 you’ll need to look elsewhere for an external charger. But if you have a recent i3, this is the perfect charging product for you.
You can buy the i3 TurboCord Charger here.
Trunk Storage Organizer
We are really big fans of trunk organizers. We have them in all of our cars, at all times, and we don’t really see why that should be different with an i3. Trunk organizers serve a really important purpose: they help you organize your trunk! Okay, so that sounds overly simple, but really, they’re very useful tools.
It’s easy for a trunk to be a mess. Even if you’re a clean and tidy person, the stuff in your trunk can roll around, fall over, and become chaotic. And that’s especially true for an i3, which has a lot of tools and mechanisms that should be stored in the car. You don’t really want your charger cable and i3 tools to be loose in the trunk, flying around when you go around turns, mixing with your groceries, and giving your car a general feel of messiness. This is also where the bluetooth feature of the car comes in handy as you’ll have lesser cables to sort out.
The trunk storage organizer gives a home to all of your i3 cables and tools. It stores the cables, plugs, and tools, as well as a handy pair of BMW mechanic gloves that come included with it.
And not only does the trunk storage organizer keep these items from making a mess, but it keeps them safe. They’re protected from dirt, dust, and anything that gets spilled in your trunk, as well as from the elements. And the trunk storage organizer fits perfectly in the luggage compartment tray underneath the trunk. That way it stays out of the way, rather than taking up precious cargo space. But even though it’s kept out of the way, it’s incredibly easy, and very quick to access the trunk storage organizer.
It’s a must have for anyone who wants a clean and organized i3.
You can buy the i3 trunk storage organizer here.
iCharging Station Wall Box
This is the holy grail of BMW i3 accessories. If you really want to treat yourself, and treat your car, this is where you need to look. The iCharging Station wall box is a wall-mounted charging station for your i3. Rather than having to go to a charging station, or purchasing a portable charger, the iCharging Station wall box turns your garage into a perfect charging station for your electric vehicle.
The iCharging Station is hardwired and wall-mounted. It simply installs into your wall, and you’re good to go. The installation for the level 2 240 volt charging station is relatively easy, but BMW will send a technician to your home to do the job for you if you want, and we definitely recommend that service. That way it’s easy, hassle free, and guaranteed to be done safely and correctly.
The iCharging Station also comes with a 25 foot cord, which is really nice. That means you don’t need to park you i3 too close to the iCharging Station wall box in order to charge it. You can park your i3 on the far end of the garage, or even outside of the garage. You can install the wall box anywhere you want, and still have it be usable. It’s a highly practical product.
And since it comes from BMW, it’s worth noting that it’s highly stylish. The iCharging Station simply looks like a BMW product. It’s snazzy, slick, modern, and simply sexy looking. It will make your garage look modern and luxurious, all while providing power to your electric vehicle. It’s the ultimate accessory for a BMW i3.
You can buy the iCharging Station wall box here.
The BMW i3 is one of the hottest electric cars on the market right now. Part of that is because of the prestige of the brand name, but part of it is because it’s a fantastic car. It has good performance, is fun to drive, and is very luxurious and modern on the inside.
There are downsides to the i3 – names the size and price – but it’s still a stellar vehicle, and certainly one of our favorites. And if you have an i3, you can’t go wrong with any of the five accessories listed above. They’ll making owning an i3 even better, which is saying something.