|The aggressive tread and the specialized rubber compound of Bridgestone Blizzaks should help me get through all the bad weather this winter brings|
|The Rial X10-I that fit the i3 come in the bright silver pictured here, and also painted black.|
That's not a plot to get you to spend more money on tires that you really don't need as I've seen some people contend. Winter tires are specifically made for use in cold weather and will definitely outperform all-season tires in cold conditions. The rubber compounds used in winter tires are completely different than what is used in summer or all season tires. Winter tires are designed so that they become stiffer on the inside of the tire, and more flexible on the outside to provide better grip at lower temperatures. They also have stronger bead construction to resist the multiple mounting and dismounting because winter tires are often mounted and dismounted every year, unlike regular tires that quite often stay mounted on the wheel their entire life. Non winter tires become stiff and lose traction, which increases the chance of the vehicle losing control and skidding.
|I'm liking the new look!|
|Snow chains are also available for the i3|
|The Rial wheels bow out in the center. Not good for preventing curb rash or aerodynamics.|
I'm sure I'll take a range hit from this modification, but how much I'm not quite sure. The aggressive tread and softer rubber will increase rolling resistance so that alone will make a difference. The weight will also be a factor. The Rial wheels with the Blizzak tires weigh 39.2 lbs, while my 20" Sport wheels with the Ecopia EP500s weigh only 36.2 lbs. Three lbs per wheel might not seem like too much, but it actually will make a difference in the car's electric range. Finally, these wheels aren't nearly as aerodynamic as the stock wheels so I'm sure my drag coefficient just went up. BMW spent a lot of energy designing wheels that are good looking, lightweight and are aerodynamic. These Rial wheels appear not to have taken any of that into consideration when they were designed. The large openings between the spokes are begging for increased wind resistance, and to make matters worse, they aren't even flush with the rims, the center of the wheels actually bows outward and will clearly increase drag. I'm really not worried about this though because safety in the winter, and being able to negotiate the snow covered roads of Northern New Jersey are my primary concerns. Plus, I have the range extender so if my efficiency is reduced by 6 or 7 miles per charge, I'll still be able to get to wherever I need to go without worrying about running out of juice. Bring it on!
|I'm happy to report the i3's hatch will indeed fit a set of wheels/tires if you need to transport them to your dealer or tire shop to install them.|