Tuesday, December 31, 2013

BMW i3: I See Your True Colors

Back in July I did a post on the i3's colors before they were initially announced. I found various pictures of i3's with partially covered with the blue and white swirly camouflage and pieced together what I believed would be the range of colors. I was close but not perfect,  and one of the things I got wrong was I had been calling the darker grey metallic paint Arravani Grey, when it actually turned out to be Laurel Grey. The problem is many other websites like bmwblog and Autoevolution picked up my posts and ran with them. That actually led to a lot of confusion as to which Grey is which, and months later it's still a point of confusion.

Some of the colors look different in different lighting so even these aren't perfect, but at least you can see all the colors next to each other in real photos, not illustrations like you get on the i3 online configurer. On the site, it's impossible to really distinguish between Arravani and Laurel Grey for instance. The Andesite Silver is interesting because in person I find that it can sometimes look like a beige-ish sliver, but other times not beige at all. One of the pictures below even captures what I mean. The Laurel Grey (which is my favorite) doesn't look as black in person as it does in pictures. In person you can clearly see the black hood is darker while some of the pictures make it look like the hood and the body panels are basically the same.

Capparis White w/BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Andesite Silver Metallic w/ BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Ionic Silver Metallic w/ BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Solar Orange Metallic w/Frozen Grey accent:

Arravani Grey w/BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Laurel Grey Metallic w/ BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Note all of the colors come with BMW i Frozen Blue Accent trim except for the Solar Orange which has Frozen Grey. That's a good move because while it works for the other colors, I don't think the light blue trim would do well on an orange colored car!

Special thanks to BMWBLOG for providing many of the pictures to me for this post.

Peter Bark from the i3 Facebook group just posted a short video there with about twenty i3's lined up at a dealership in Amsterdam. All the colors seem to be represented but it's difficult to tell the difference in Arravani and Laurel Grey since the pictures are head on and only the colored bumper and a little of the side can be seen clearly: Here's a link to the video:  photo.php

Monday, December 30, 2013

Build Your BMW i3: The Configurer With Pricing is Now Live

Once the US i3 options pricing specs were public it was just a matter of time before the i3 configurer would be live. It's now up and you can design your own i3, add and remove options and see how it looks with different color and wheel combinations. The range extender isn't an add on option though, instead it's treated as if it is a different vehicle entirely even though everything else is the same as the BEV i3 (with the exception of the rear wheel size if you get the standard style 427 wheels).

I'm happy to report BMW didn't do what some other EV manufacturers did and build the $7,500 Federal Tax Rebate directly into the price. They clearly show the "Total MSRP as Built" and then have a line that says "Estimate" to indicate that you may be eligible for the tax credit and also offers a line to see if your particular state has additional incentives. Additionally there is a Gas Savings calculator to estimate how much you can potentially save in gas but that's very difficult to say without knowing what car you are displacing, how much you pay for electricity, if you have solar, etc.

Want to see what your custom designed i3 will cost? Here are the links to the site:

Configure an i3 with Range Extender

Configure a BEV i3

Saturday, December 28, 2013

BMW i3 US Option Pricing Released

This afternoon, BMWBLOG along with other news outlets reported that BMW has released the pricing details for i3 options for the US market. You can use this link  to download the full list of i3 options pricing.

Nothing really new to report other than the pricing. The only odd thing I see is that sunroof isn't listed anywhere and it has been previously reported that it comes standard with the Giga and Tera World packages. For now I will assume it still is, and that someone at BMW NA just made a mistake and didn't list it here, but it is something to keep an eye on because it's very odd that there is no mention of it here. I've previously looked at the options pricing for Europe, so I pretty much knew what to expect and there are no surprises for me here. Here is a quick summary of the options:

Exterior paint:
The non-metallic paints (Arravaini Grey and Capparis White) are standard with no extra charge. Although Jacob Harb, head of electric vehicles sales and strategy recently said that the Capparis White will not be available in the US, at least for the first model year. That means if you don't like the Arravani Grey you'll be forced to pay the extra $550 for a metallic paint option and choose from Ionic Sliver, Solar Orange, Laurel Grey and Andesite Silver.

Mega World is standard, Giga World is a $1,700 option and Tera World will set you back an extra $2,700. All three interiors are pictured on the left (click to enlarge) with Mega on top and Tera on the bottom. The interiors only come in the colors shown, you cannot select Tera for example and get Grey leather, it only comes in the Brown trim shown. Giga adds 19" Alloy Turbine wheels style 429 and Tera adds 19" Turbine wheels style 428. For an additional $1,300 you can get the Sport 20" Double Spoke wheels style 430 regardless of the World package you choose. All of the wheels are lightweight and designed for minimum aerodynamic drag. The base wheels on Mega World is probably the most aerodynamic but will likely be viewed as the least visually appealing.

The 19" Mega World Wheels are on the far left followed to the right by the 19" Tera World Style 428 which is next to the 19" Giga World Style 429's and the 20" Sport Style 430 is on the right.
The Parking Package costs $1,000 and gives you the rear view camera, Park Distance Control and Parking Assistant (which is self parking and I've personally tested it on an i3 and it works perfectly). The technology & Driving Assistant package costs $2,500 and with that you get ACC Stop & Go + Active Driving Assistant (which is a self-driving feature for slow congested-street driving), the professional navigation system with wide screen Nav (Basic Nav is standard), BMW Online and BMW apps as well as Advanced Real-Time Traffic Information.

Heated front seats is a $350 option and if you live anywhere where the temperature drops below 50 degrees during the year I urge you to get the heated seats. In you happen to live in an area where it gets really cold, like below 30 degrees, this option in mandatory in my opinion. That's because for some strange reason BMW linked the battery warming system to the heated seat option so if you don't get the heated seat option, you cannot pre-warm the battery pack - odd indeed, but that's how it works. Luckily it's only a $350 option.

The Harman Kardon Premium sound system is an $800 option. Every i3 I've driven so far had this option, so I don't know how good the standard sound system is, but I can say the 12-speaker HK option is a great sound system. It's probably the best sound system I have ever had in a car and I'll definitely be getting it. The sound is so clear and with the quiet cabin of an electric car you can really appreciate the clarity of a great sound system even more so than in an internal combustion car.

At only $700 the DC Quick Charge option is priced reasonably, but will there be CCS stations to charge at?
DC Quick Charge:
The DC Quick Charging option is reasonably priced at $700. I believe BMW didn't charge more because they know the value of this option is directly tied to the amount of CCS DC quick chargers there are and right now there are only a couple of them. I'm pretty confident the deployment is going to occur, but at what pace I can't be sure. I also believe BMW is going to help with deployment in some degree, but exactly what level of participation is yet unknown. For certain, BMW isn't going to install and maintain the CCS chargers, like Tesla is with their Supercharger network. However that doesn't mean they aren't going to get involved in the deployment, perhaps by subsidizing the cost of the stations in certain areas, helping their dealers install them and perhaps forming partnerships with other stakeholders to help with deployment. I suspect we'll hear news on this front relatively soon too.

So what's an i3 really going to cost?
Finally, destination & handling is $925. So if you wanted to pay the least possible amount and still drive home in a BEV i3 the price after destination and handling is $42,275. However, if you want the i3 with range extender, along with the top of the line Tera World package, and every single possible option available, your price before incentives would be $56,025. That makes the options spread a whopping $13,750 if you consider the range extender an "option" and not a different model entirely. If you look at it that way, every available option offered increases the i3's price by $9,900. Is it cheap? Certainly not, but BMW doesn't sell "cheap" cars, they are a premium brand. However the tax incentives really help to make the i3 much more affordable, especially if you live in a State like California that offers additional incentives on top of the Federal tax credit. Whether or not it's "worth it" is going to be a personal choice and people assign value to different characteristics. I happen to really like the unique architecture used, the fact that it's the first volume production car made primarily of CFRP and aluminum and how BMW considered sustainable manufacturing processes including a high degree of renewable energy during the entire manufacturing process. Others may not care about that but it's important to me. However nothing matters much if the driving experience isn't good and after four test drives I'm satisfied that the i3 delivers the performance and fun-factor that I want in my car. Ok BMW I'm ready to order now... just take my money and give me my i3! Laurel Grey, range extender and every damn option there is. I've waited this long for it, I might as well spoil myself!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Bet you didn't expect to find an i3 under the tree today! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

BMW i3 Range Extender: How Robust Will It Be?

There are still many unanswered questions about the i3. What will the EPA range rating be? How will is fare in NHTSA and IICA crash tests, will it cost more to repair, and so on. However there is one particular feature of the i3 that continues to dominate the discussion boards and forums: What can and can't you do with the REx?

Back in June before the i3 was officially introduced, I did a blog post on this very topic which turned out to be very popular. In fact, it's one of my top viewed posts and has been viewed over 5,000 times so  far. We now know a few more details since then so I thought it was a good time to give an update here. While I have driven in REx i3's, unfortunately I haven't had the chance to thoroughly test on while it was in range extender mode. That wasn't a coincidence. BMW has still be fine tuning the software for the REx and hasn't allowed the press access to them for complete testing. However, somehow over in the UK The Telegraph got hold of one and was able to take to for a long drive and use the range extender. Overall the review was pretty favorable and the author gave the i3 four out of five stars. However that's not the whole story. The real "story" within this story is that the author reported this about the range extender and it's caused a but of a stir:

"I thrummed along at 70mph, but it soon became clear that at this kind of speed our comfortable range between fill-ups was more like 40-50 miles. Still, it was impressive how, even when it says it’s flat, the car maintains enough battery power to give an instant shove of torque. Only if you really run it down, which you’ll have to try pretty hard to do (or so I’d been told), would you compromise the performance. Which is what happened next. 

I’d just come through a heavy but localised rain storm on the M20 when the i3 started to slow. It was a gradual process, from motorway cruising speed all the way down to 44mph. By this time I was travelling up a slight incline and had effectively become a slow-moving obstacle. Lorries were catching me with quite frankly terrifying closing speeds. It was three or four minutes - which was long enough to make me consider pulling over - before the i3 recovered; just as slowly as it had lost speed, so it crept up. “It’s not a limp-home mode as such,” a BMW spokesman later told me, “but once the charge runs down to five or six per cent and the range extender cuts in, if you keep driving at 75-80mph it can’t maintain the charge.” Rather than damage the battery by running it completely flat, the i3 had restricted our performance."

This Telegraph video above doesn't mention the difficulty they experienced with the car slowing down at all even though they show it driving along on the M20 while it was raining like they printed version said. That's strange to me since the article seemed to make a big deal out of it. I would have like to have seen video of the car during the explained "slow down" event.

The i3 REx Engine
I've had quite a few conversations with the engineers and product managers at BMW about the range extender and while they are cautious no to over sell it's capabilities, everyone I have talked to promises it's not anything like a "limp mode", and in fact you can do just about anything with it as long as you understand how it works and drive accordingly - I take that as monitoring your speed and if you know you'll be driving up a long steep incline and take it easy for a few minutes before you begin your ascent so the REx can build up a little extra reserve power for the climb. There has been a lot of talk around the fact that in the US, you can't manually engage the range extender once the state of charge is below 75% as you can in Europe. The concern is with the range extender coming on at such a low state of charge (at ~5% SOC) that there may not be a large enough buffer for those instances when the car needs continuous supply of a lot of energy for high speed driving or to climb long, uphill grades at highway speeds.

I don't have the exact answers as to what exactly is possible and what isn't. In fact, I'm not even sure it's possible to offer such a definitive explanation. Sure, the engineers can offer a formula based on total passenger and cargo weight, vehicle speed, head or tail winds, percent of grade you are climbing, etc but who will even understand that let alone be able to transfer that to an actual real world driving situation? There are so many different situations and roads it's just not possible to give a clear black and white definition of what it can and what it can't do and I believe BMW will likely struggle with how to explain this to their customers - maybe that's why they haven't even tried to explain it yet! I have made a request to the program managers to let me drive an i3 REx for a day once one is available. I'll test it in every possible situation I can come up with in the time frame I have including a 220 mile trip to Vermont. Hopefully my request will be accommodated because I believe I can clear the air on this as much as possible, however as I mentioned above there are endless specific driving circumstances so no test will completely satisfy everyone. My advice: Drive one in REx mode to satisfy your concerns before you plunk down your money. I'm sure you can leave a deposit on one and have it refunded if you are not satisfied with the performance once you get the test drive opportunity.

i3 Product manager Oliver Walter
I can say I have spoken with program managers that have driven the i3 REx extensively, and they have assured me that on flat ground, you really have to purposely try to defeat it in order to use more energy than it produces and that it can easily drive along at 70 mph for as long as you need to and still have enough energy for short bursts of power to climb hills along the way. BMW i3 product manager Oliver Walter in particular has assured me the range extender is robust and will be able to power the car in just about any circumstance without the driver even noticing any difference than when it's in pure EV mode. The question becomes how fast can you drive and for how long, up how steep a grade, and right now, we just don't have definitive answers.

So why can't the i3's in the US have the same ability the European i3's have to manually turn on the REx ahead of time, when you know you'll need a lot of energy for demanding driving conditions like climbing a mountain later in your trip? The answer is in the CARB certification of the i3. BMW needs the i3 to be certified as a zero emission vehicle in order to claim the most ZEV credits they can for each i3 sold. However the benefits aren't only for BMW. BMW has been working behind the scenes to make sure that i3 buyers get the same tax credits, tax exemptions and benefits like HOV access that zero emission vehicles get, which in many cases is better than what is offered to PHEV buyers. For example here in NJ, if I buy a zero emission car like a Tesla Model S, I am not required to pay sales tax, but if I buy a Chevy Volt which has a range extender, it's classified as a PHEV and I have to pay sales tax. So if BMW by getting the i3 REx certification approved, manages to get New Jersey to classify the i3 REx as a zero emission vehicle, then I will save about $3,500 in sales tax. To me, that's worth losing the ability to manually turn on the REx early because there will be so few instances that I would ever need to; it's just simply not worth it. This isn't just for NJ though, there are quite a few other States that offer different incentives for ZEV's as compared to PHEV's. However as far as I know, BMW is still working out these details State by State and they haven't announced exactly what the certification will mean in each particular State just yet. As soon as there is more to report on the certification and State benefits I'll have it up here, and hopefully I'll get to report first hand on how the REx performs sometime soon. Happy Holidays everyone!

Of course a robust network of DC quick chargers like the one pictured here would render the range extender irrelevant. But are they coming?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

CarBuyer Offers a Comprehensive BMW i3 Video Review

Over in the UK i3 sales and deliveries have begun. Unlike here in the US the press is getting extended time with i3's and producing some more complete reviews. The video above is pretty well balanced so I thought the followers here would like to see it. The full printed review from CarBuyer can be found here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The BMW i3's "Black Hand"

The i3 in Laurel Gray with BMW i Blue accent. Even though it's not quite as black in person as it looks in this picture, I like how it minimizes the two tone color scheme. I plan to order my i3 in this color scheme, with the 20" sport wheels as pictured and apply a dark tint to the rear windows. 

I get emails from readers here almost on a daily basis, and now that we are approaching the US launch the amount of correspondence I receive has been dramatically increasing. Quite often my blog posts are a reaction to something someone asked me. I figure if someone out there was curious enough about the topic to email me, then others probably are as well. I've had people ask me about this in the past, however yesterday and today I have had three people ask me if there was any way to special order a monochrome i3, with the hood, roof and accents all painted the color that the rest of the body panels are, instead of black.

The "Black Hand" extends to the side mirrors
Sorry, but the answer is no. If you want your i3 to be all the same color, you'll have to paint it or get it wrapped after you've bought it. The only other way around it is to consider getting it in Laurel Gray (Laurus Gray in Europe). Laurel Gray is a dark metallic gray, and while it isn't black, it's close enough to give your i3 the monochrome look you desire. I like this color a lot and will likely order my i3 with it.

Everything is black besides the bumper

The back of the car is particularly interesting because everything is black except the rear bumper which kind of gives the appearance that there is another car inside the i3 that is trying to get out! The New York Times Wheels Blog recently did a story on why BMW chose to use the black hood, roof and accents on all i3's regardless of the main color of the car. Evidently it was to "lighten" the appearance of an otherwise "chunky" small car.  Here is an excerpt from the NY Times story:

"In designing the i3 electric car, BMW engineers were tasked with reducing weight to compensate for heavy batteries. They used a combination of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum, and the company mounted the passenger compartment atop the batteries. That approach made for a shorter vehicle with a lower center of gravity, but it also gave it a chunky profile. So designers set out to lighten the tall, bulky “monoform,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group’s design director.

“We wanted to remove visual weight from the car,” he said. That meant using all sorts of techniques and tricks to break up the apparent mass of he car, he explained in an interview last week.

Mr. Van Hooydonk, Richard Kim and Benoit Jacob worked on designing the i3 for five years. The name they chose to describe the technique used to lighten the bulk of the car’s outline was the black hand, said Mr. van Hooydonk.

“The hood, as you see, is black, and the same material runs over the roof and to the back,” he explained. “This helps us divide up the volume.”

The i3 in white. We call this the "Panda Version" over on the i3 Facebook group
Solar Orange has been well received

The i3 Andesite Silver

What are your thoughts on the "black hand?"  Do you think it does what BMW had hoped it would, or would you rather your i3 painted all one color? Does anybody out there plan to paint their hood the same color of the car? How about a wrap? Lets discuss in the comments:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The First Volt Owner in Georgia Explains What He Doesn't Like About the BMW i3... and Why He's Buying One!

Chris Campbell with his Volt. Chris was actually the first Volt owner in the State of Georgia. Now that his 3 year lease is coming to an end he's chosen to replace his Volt with a BMW i3.
Chris Campbell has been following my blogs for a while now, and has commented on many posts. He's an avid electric car supporter and is a member of the BMW i3 Facebook group. Chris has been following the BMW i3 for a while now and he's been really anxious to test drive one. As you'll read below, the driving experience is really important to him - as it is for me. Chris finally has his chance to test drive the i3 (twice actually) and shortly after declared on a post in the Facebook group "I did test drive #2 this morning. That's it, I'm in.". I know Chris knows a lot about EV's, and I know he had his doubts about whether the i3 would be the right EV for him, after all he really loves his Volt. So when I read his declaration, I asked him if he would like to do a guest post here, to offer his story of  how he came to the conclusion the i3 would be the EV that would replace his Volt. He accepted the invitation, and sent me the post below:


I am an electric vehicle enthusiast.  The wave of EVs in the late 1990s piqued my interested, but it was a lucky chance at a long test drive of a Tesla Roadster in April 2009 that gave me the EV religion.  By 2010 I was ready for a new car and the market was finally ready to give me an EV.  In my case the Chevy Volt was good choice because I have a short commute, well within the electric range of the Volt, but also wanted the ability to take the car anywhere at any time and not have to worry about range.  Note that there was virtually ZERO public charging infrastructure in 2010 when I got the Volt.

Fast forward three years and I'm now at the end of my three year Volt lease, and looking for my next car. The Volt has been great, and in fact I still believe it is the BEST car on the market, especially for anyone new to EVs.  After three years of tweaks, and this year's dramatic price drop, the Volt is even more compelling than when I took my somewhat risky plunge in 2010.  But, for me personally, as my Volt lease ends I'm now looking to move on to the next thing.

I've been following BMW's EV developments closely for a few years now, and after a second test drive this past Friday, I've decided that the BMW i3 is going to be my next car.  I'll explain why, but I'm also going to take a sober look at the car, probably unlike any other i3 review you've seen.

EVs are an absolute thrill to drive, and there was no doubt that my next car would be another EV.  While the environmental and geopolitical reasons for getting an EV are important to me, what really draws me is the sheer power (well, torque) of the electric drivetrain.  Once you experience that "stealth V8" power you just can't live without it.

So, for me, the very top issue in selecting the next car was POWER. How fast was it?  The Volt (and Leaf, even) are deceptively powerful, and a blast to drive, but I consider them to have only the MINIMUM required power.  More is better!  And early reports on the BMW i3 indicated that it was going to be more powerful than anything on the market short of the (sadly unattainable) Tesla models, so I've been following it very closely for over a year now.

There are lots of features that I like about the i3.  The carbon fiber structure is certainly cool.  I'm tall, and the long coupe-style front doors place the pseudo B-pillars (and seatbelt anchors) nicely back and out of my peripheral vision.  The i3 will have an available DC fast charging option, and I decided earlier this year that my next car simply had to have DCFC capability.  The drive train is well engineered, following four years of careful testing in BMW's MINI-E and ActiveE programs.  It's a BMW, so you're going to get a driver's car.

All these things are great, but certainly the car isn't perfect.  No car is perfect.  And in fact, that's how it usually works, right?  You fall in love with a car, then you find out something about the car that you DON'T like, and then you have to decide whether you can get over it.  Do the pros outweigh the cons?

The Nissan Leaf is ugly, has a spartan interior, and has a cheaper battery technology that makes it susceptible to weather extremes.  The Chevy Volt is a bit pricey and can't seat more than two people in the back (and the EV purists turn their noses up at it).  The Ford models have that hulking battery pack messing up the trunk, signifying the worst of "conversion car" engineering.  And so forth -- you can always find something wrong with a car.  Even the vaunted Tesla Model S has problems, most prominently its stratospheric price tag, but upon closer examination there are plenty of other problems.

So, I've got problems with the BMW i3.  Can I get over it?

I'm an engineer, and I can't help but try to analyze this decision soberly and methodically.  Anticipating that I'd be back in the market for a new EV after the Volt lease, a year ago I started assembling my checklist for the perfect electric vehicle.  This long document is a collection of every feature in every EV on the market, and serves as a way to honestly evaluate the cars on the market.  No car is perfect, not even the Tesla Model S, and my list serves to remind me that there are tradeoffs in any car.

With that, I will now itemize the top things that I do NOT like about the BMW i3.  See, I told you this would be unlike any review you'd read!  Again, I've said above that I AM going to buy an i3, in fact I will be happy to be the first in my home state, as I was with the Chevy Volt three years ago, and probably will be as big a cheerleader as anyone about the car (well, except for Tom M...).  But I'm doing this with a clear-eyed view of the pros AND the cons of the car.

In essence, this is a list of the things that I had to "get over" in order to commit to the i3.


While the i3 has some sexy angles, it has some real stinkers too. Look at it straight on from the front, or straight at the rear.  In both of those angles the weird design is jarring, and the skinny tires jump out at you.  I know, I know, 19-20 inch tires, contact patch size blah blah blah -- it just LOOKS bad.  But it's a thrill to drive!  So I'll get over the looks, or least tolerate the snide remarks.  At least I shouldn't have to worry about those kinds of comments from Nissan Leaf owners, right?  That has got to be the ugliest car on the market, from ALL angles!  Ha!


You're not going to believe this, but this feature is THE most important feature to me in an EV, putting aside the headline features of the drivetrain, battery and charging technology.  The same way you get addicted to the instantaneous torque of an EV drivetrain, I have become addicted to that little button ON THE KEYFOB of my Chevy Volt that starts up the climate control.  I use it every ... single ... time ... I get into my car (so at least twice daily), from inside the house as I'm getting ready to leave in the morning, and then on the way home as I'm approaching the car at my workplace.  Yeah yeah, sure, I can use the smartphone app -- wanna race?  It takes me 3 seconds (and minimal cognitive engagement) to get the car warming up, and I can do it blind with the keyfob in my pocket.  Try THAT with your smartphone.  Scheduling the prestart doesn't solve this for me because I don't get in the car at the same time every day.

There is a "diamond" button on the i3 keyfob that acts as a panic button, but I've heard a rumor that it is actually *configurable*, and that climate prestart may be one of the configurable options.  If so, congratulations BMW on a brilliant solution, and scratch this off the cons list!  But I haven't seen confirmation, so it remains on my short list of problems with the i3.  Trust me, once you have this feature, you can't live without it.


You will plug and unplug the car EVERY DAY.  That's at least two trips to the charge port location, and therefore it should be as close as possible to the driver's door.  BMW stuck it in the right rear corner, just about the worst possible place.  I'm sure they have their reasons, but from a usability perspective it's just all wrong.  I have seen some factory photos of the CFRP passenger cell that have shown that the interior structure of the car has cutouts on BOTH sides, so it's possible that they may relocate the port to the rear left side in the future, but for now -- it's in the wrong spot and will annoy me twice a day for my entire life with the car.

Power seats aren't even available as an option.  It takes me forever to get the seat adjusted just right, and thus I really want the memory function of the power seats so I can put it back the way I like it after someone else has driven the car (spouse, mechanic, etc.).  A car that approaches $50,000 when loaded with options should offer power seats as one of those options.  And don't try to tell me that it's left out for energy saving reasons, that's simply nonsense.  I'll buy the weight savings argument, but still, this should be an option.

There are many things that other people have complained about that are NOT a problem for me:

- It's a four seater.  You can't put three people in the back seat, even three kids, as there's a console in the middle and no third set of seatbelts.  That's fine with me.

- There is no SOC percentage showing the exact state of the battery charge.  I know the other i3 fans are screaming about this, but I could not care less.  I'll trust the indication of mileage remaining, and will eventually learn how to correct for challenging driving ahead.

- Range: 80-100 is plenty for me.  In fact, using the VoltStats.net data from my last three years of Volt driving, I recently found that 80-100 is perfect for me.  Give me the DCFC interface and even just a hint of a future charging network and I've got all I need.


And here we are.  I've listed some big problems I have with the i3, and I've listed even more on the full EV checklist on www.ElectrifyAtlanta.com (now updated with i3 data).  And yet ... the drive is intoxicating.  It's got more power (more more more gimme) and can carve through turns like it's on rails.  Check out Chris Neff's recent report on his day with an i3 as a professional race car driver flung it around a racetrack for 10 hours!

It's got good range.  It has a sunroof option, and I love the doors. It offers HD Radio and RDS, which are radio tuner features that I really wish all cars had. I even love the underdog factor of having the SAE Combo DC fast charging interface that all the Nissan and Tesla partisans are howling at.  Game on, let's go.

And so I got over it.  Take my money, BMW, the sooner the better.  Can I be first in Georgia again?

Chris Campbell
The only question I now have for Chris is what color does he want. Will he choose Laurel Gray like I plan to order?