Avoid these mistakes buying a used BMW i3

BMW i3 used surfing

The i3 has been in production for six years now. With a polarizing look and a couple of especially unique offerings, BMW’s first foray into mass-production electric cars is still popular among a particular crowd today. And with some of the fastest depreciation in the market, a used i3 can be found for a screaming deal–if you know what to look for.

Let’s Talk Range

Firstly, let’s get this straight. BMW i3s do not boast high ranges, not even close. If you regularly take 150+ mile road trips, the i3 is probably not the car for you. The first year the car was made, 2014, offered two ranges. 81 mi (130 km) of range, or 150 mi (240 km) if you have the range extender model. As recently as 2019 the i3 got an updated range, now offering 153 mi (246 km) or 200 mi (320 km) with the range extender.

Avoid 2014 Models

As with any first-model-year car, there will be issues that crop up. Countless anecdotal reddit posts may convince you, or maybe consumer reports, or maybe you’re just willing to risk it for a good deal. If you’re not the risk-seeking type, filtering by 2015 and newer for your used i3 will give you some peace of mind. And hey, we’re still talking about a sub-$15,000 car in a lot of cases, still a great deal.

i3 vs i3s

You can think of the i3s as the “sport” i3, it delivers more horsepower with some unique additions like dampers and anti-roll bars to keep the car more grounded. It has the exact same battery pack and motor as the regular i3.

What’s a Range Extender?

There are two main versions of the BMW i3. These are the all-electric version and the range-extender version, otherwise known as the i3 REx. The range-extender is a small two-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that charges the batteries of the i3. The 2019 i3 offers a 2.4 gallon (9.1 liter) gas tank to power the range extender.

The range extender is just that, if you’re in a pinch you have the peace of mind that you can extend your range with the help of your little engine that could. It is not meant to be used regularly. In fact, relying on the range extender in cold weather at highway speeds can lead to surprise slow-downs to 45 mph (72 kph).

If you’re in the market for a used i3 REx, make sure to check the REx engine runs properly before making an offer. You can manually start the REx engine by following the instructions in the video below.

Check the Speakers

If you love good sound in your car, make sure to look for the Harmon Kardon sound package when you inspect an i3. Just look for the HK logo on the tweeter to the left of the steering wheel. If it’s not there, that car has the base speaker package.

Skinny Tires

You should know that the tires on the i3 are unique. The i3’s tire sizes only apply to the i3. This is because BMW collaborated with Bridgestone to create range-friendly tires for this car. While these tires are more expensive than mass-produced tire sizes, the prices aren’t insane. Before buying tires for your i3, make sure you check your model’s required sizes. The front and rear are different.

Apple Carplay Support

If you have an iPhone and you care about this kind of thing, it’s worth knowing that 2014-2017 i3s don’t natively support Apple Carplay in their entertainment systems. Also, for Apple Carplay support on supported vehicles, you have to pay a one-time fee to BMW for setup. This is better than their previous subscription model for access to Carplay, but still a bad experience for the end-user.

For unsupported model years, you may be able to retrofit the functionality, but do so at your own risk.

Our Take

The BMW i3 can be a great option for someone looking to spend less than $15k for a used electric car, but wants something a little more stylish than an old Nissan Leaf. Looking out for the things above should help you feel more comfortable in your search.

We hope you enjoyed reading! Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. And make sure to follow our social media up top for all the latest electric vehicle news!

Two New Electric Vans You Can’t Buy as an American

Mercedes EQV driving in Spain

While we’re still waiting for the Cybertruck to drop in the United States, across the pond they’re pushing a more reserved type of electric vehicle – vans. This is nothing new for Europeans, they’ve enjoyed electric vans for quite a while now. I promise we’re not just talking run-of-the-mill sprinter vans here. Just look at this Renault Kangoo Z.E., the most-selling model last year in Europe.

Renault Kangoo Z.E.

Well, Europe isn’t stopping there, just this month there have been two developments in electric vans for those living in Europe.

Mercedes-Benz EQV Van

Mercedes has recently launched the second in their EQ line of electric vehicles, the EQV. It’s not cheap, but hey did you expect any less from Mercedes? The base model comes to €71,388 (about $78,359) and is targeted toward families. The van is rated under Europe’s WLTP standards to have a driveable range of 418 km (260 miles). As I mentioned, this is only Mercedes-Benz’s 2nd vehicle in their EQ line, which they have claimed they will invest the equivalent of $12B into.

Mercedes EQV Electric Van driving in Barcelona

VW ABT eTransporter

No, we’re not talking about futuristic VW electric bus, we’re talking about the newly-launched ABT eTransporter. Before I say anything else, I have to talk about the range, 130km (about 82mi), abysmal. Keep in mind this van is designed to be fast to charge and useful for last-mile deliveries. While it isn’t the prettiest of the bunch and doesn’t boast the lowest price tag at £42,060 (about $51,000), it is a very logical decision for companies needing to drive through London’s Ultra Low Emission/Clean Air Zones. It has the added benefit of being exempt from the United Kingdom’s road tax (VED).

Taxing ICE vehicles for the very fact that they are polluting our cities, both with exhaust and sound, has forced businesses in these cities to get creative with their transportation. It then in turn forces automakers to get creative and provide more acceptable solutions for business owners, like the eTransporter. This is a great example of using taxes to incentivize R&D of new electric cars and in this case vans. One day electric vans will make their way to the U.S., in the meantime we can ogle at what the Europeans are able to get.

We hope you enjoyed reading! Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. And make sure to follow our social media up top for all the latest electric vehicle news!

Tesla Bidirectional Charging: What It Means For Tesla Owners

Bidirectional charging for home

Picture this: You recently received your Tesla Model Y delivery and you’ve been driving your brand-new EV around town with one hand on the wheel and the other patting yourself on the back for saving the environment. You wake up one morning to scroll through Twitter and you read about Tesla’s Autobidder system that they’ve been working on and using for years to autonomously monetize battery assets in their energy division. You scroll down further and you see another tweet that says newer Teslas are now fully capable of bidirectional charging, it’s just turned off for now and Tesla hasn’t told anyone about it.

You start connecting the dots.

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Apple Bans 3rd Party Tesla Apps

Tesla App Interface

If you’re a Tesla owner you have probably used Tesla’s first-party app for iOS or Android. While this app is full of great features, some users feel unsatisfied with the features available. That’s where apps like Remote for Tesla come in. Third-party apps like this provide more flexibility in controlling your car remotely, planning trips, and more. But, these third-party apps are in trouble with bad news coming from an app developer who has been trying to get his app accepted by Apple for the past year.

Why Apple Banned The App

Apple has tons of rules developers need to follow in order to have their app accepted into the Appstore. One of these rules is that developers who use a private API must provide documents proving they are allowed to access that API. For lots of APIs, they are publicly accessible and no proof of access is needed. But for Tesla’s API, developers aren’t so lucky.

Tesla’s Private API

Tesla has an API, but it is not public. It had to be reverse-engineered, basically meaning someone had to trace how the first-party Tesla app interacted with the private API and reproduced it for other developers to use. This is actually a very common practice in development; APIs are reverse-engineered like this regularly. Sometimes this leads the company to make a publicly-accessible and well-documented API, and sometimes it leads to companies locking down their API with complex authentication tactics to prevent use outside of a company’s control.

Tesla hasn’t made any strong decisions either way yet, but their indecisiveness has already affected several 3rd party developers, such as Rody Davis who was working on the “Sidecar for Tesla” app.

Our Take

Tesla needs to take a clear stance and either release a public API for their cars or let developers know that one will never come. There is a valid argument that some of the use-cases for the API could be considered rather dangerous. For example, one of Remote for Tesla’s selling points is “Summon your car when not near it and without continuous press needed”. The reason summoning requires a continuous press in the Tesla-made app is because Summon has been known to result in collisions. Letting go of a button is faster and easier than clicking another button when your car is colliding with something or someone.

If Tesla made a public API, they would have control over these things. They could allow for safe functionality like starting the car, turning on lights, and getting trip data. They could also disallow anything potentially dangerous in anything but their own app. I think this is the best of both worlds, more safety and more flexibility for Tesla owners.

Cybertruck ATV: How Real Is It?

Cybertruck ATV "Cyberquad"

Electric cars and bikes are great for maneuvering around cities, but what about when you want to have some fun and explore dirt roads or even go off-road? Electric ATVs have existed in some capacity for a while now, but recently interest in them has hit all-time highs as is proven by the interest in Tesla’s Cybertruck ATV. But will the Cybertruck ATV, otherwise known as the Cyberquad, really push widespread adoption of electric ATVs?

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What happened to the Model Y’s Tow Hitch

Model Y Trailer Hitch Panel being removed

With deliveries of the Tesla Model Y picking up in the past week, Tesla fans are left with one looming question about the car – what about the tow hitch? For months before deliveries started, there were rumors that the Model Y would be equipped with a tow hitch, or at least offer the capability to be outfitted with one. Funnily enough, the same confusion occurred when the Model 3 was launched. To this day there remains no way of buying a Model 3 with a tow hitch in all of North America, even though a year ago the option was introduced into the European Market. Will the Model Y face the same fate?

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Kia’s Upcoming “Halo” EV

Imagine by Kia Concept Car

Korean car manufacturers have been quickly adopting electric models into their fleets. Hyundai has recently built a cult following with their Kona EV sporting a range of 258 mi. Last year we also saw the Kia Soul and Kia Niro EVs make it to market with the Soul starting at an MSRP of $33,950 and the Niro having a respectable range of 239 mi per charge. We have previously written about how the Kia Soul EV can be a great option used since they can be found at below half of their initial price after a couple of years of use.

Now, Kia is working on a “halo” electric vehicle, set for release in 2021. For those not familiar with the term, a “halo” car is one that goes out of its way to push the technology, styling, and performance a brand can offer. This car defines not only what Kia wants to produce in 2021, but it also sets the tone for their design and technical direction for years to come. On top of this, Kia has made it clear that they don’t want this car to have the price tag of a premium brand.

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Opinion: The Honda Clarity Electric Car Looks Like It’s From the ’90s

Honda Clarity charging in a park

The Honda Clarity has existed in some form or another since 2008, but the electric and plug-in hybrid versions of the car have only been around since 2017. It is currently Honda’s only fully electric car offering in the US, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for the time being with the recent news that the Honda e will not be sold in the US due to a lack of demand. So why does the only car Honda is willing to sell in the US look like it is straight out of the late ’90s?

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Turkey’s new $3.7 billion bet on Electric Cars

TOGG Electric Car

Turkey’s President Erdogan has a strong hankering for entirely Turkish-made electric vehicles to become a source of growth for Turkey’s economy in the near future. To put this interest into motion, he has made a presidential decree that $3.7 billion dollars worth of the Turkish lira will be invested into a project headed by Turkey’s Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG).

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