Why BMW i3 was ahead of its time

02 May 2022
Even though the car is 9 years old now, its technology was very advanced.

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  • BMW Guy

That thing is just ugly af and tiny… I still love my E90 LCI!
its design was also way ahead of its time.

IMHO, Rex version was a really nice concept, it is relatively compact, it is quirky as hell :-D etc.
But the usually BMW quality pretty much killed it, there is probably not a single unit driving that was not a part of some major recall with engine mounts and other poorly designed parts that died in two years of car usage.
If this car was made by another brand, it might be relevant till this day ... and remain relevant in future (if they would improve efficiency).

  • AML

Great write up! I have this car and its still one of the best EVs out there. Small, light, spacious, quick.

I test rode a model 3 (standard range) thinking it would be a lot better and it really wasn't. Just more range.

Shame it got discontinued. Hope they bring it back some day with bigger batteries and more power.

  • Anonymous


This relatively small battery +REX solution could have been the real next step in EV revolution, but it seems like manufacturers just ignore it no matter what....
This way they could lower the carbon footprint of manufacturing cars with smaller battery pack, cars would also be way lighter than full EVs packed with gigantic batteries. Most of the time small battery would be enough for cruising around but you would not need to borrow a car to go for a longer trip cause you can just use the range extender, even if you need to refuel it more.

Use of a wankel engine as a range extender engine would make the whole story even better, barely any vibration and it would be very small.

  • Anonymous

If I remember right, when it was introduced it gained the dubious distinction of being the most problem-ridden car on the market.

It explains why it didn't sell well and why the Nissan Leaf was far more popular.

  • Kebo Kese

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  • Kl


  • Chris

I disagree that the rear/mid engine configuration is ideal. While handling is much improved over front wheel drive, there are some serious safety issues on slick and icy roads when brake regen kicks in. I have gone sideways many times by taking my foot off the accelerator too far (there is a small “sweet spot” between acceleration and brake regen where you coast). I’ve been driving in Michigan winters for almost 30 years and I’ve never been in an accident, but I have come closer than I’d like with my I3. BMW makes no option to turn regen off manually, and there is no way to disable with coding. All wheel drive would have been the only way to remedy the problem, with an obvious weight issue that would have further limited range. But at least it would be safer.

Goofy, 02 May 2022Thank you, that was useful, considering I am considering a cheap EV. If I am looking for a go... moreAgree with mechluke - battery can be the most expensive part to replace, check if it's still under warranty (8 years) or maybe it has been already replaced? This is one of those cars that it is better to pay a little for a specialist inspection rather than end up paying a fortune for missed issues. However - they are not known for having issues, there is few negative reviews out there and comparing those to a number of cars sold it suggests the car is rather reliable. It will all depends of course if it has been looked after or completely neglected. One issue though seems to be plaguing the owners - range extender appears to be a constant headache. Talk to owners, join forums - don't focus just on negative reviews, people who are happy with their car hardly ever share their opinions.

Goofy, 02 May 2022Thank you, that was useful, considering I am considering a cheap EV. If I am looking for a go... moreIf you were going to check just one thing, this would be the state of health of the high voltage battery. This can take any place in any authorized BMW service point.

  • Goofy

Thank you, that was useful, considering I am considering a cheap EV.
If I am looking for a good used i3 in the lower part of the price range.
What should I check to be sure I am not getting a dead horse?