a BMW i3 used for everyday life

Registered in 2016, Thiébault’s black and white BMW i3 recently replaced an earlier car with an internal combustion engine. The versatile electric punctuates the daily life of a family in the Ile-de-France region of 4 people and a large dog. The father confided in Maxime Fontanier.

The BMW i3

Launched in 2013, the BMW i3 is a model that arrived early on the French electric car market. It is a strict 4-seater whose antagonistic opening of the doors divides. This architecture is still often perceived as a positive sign of originality. Is this one of the reasons that makes Thiébault say that this car presents a “ fun and friendly side »?

For others, like her own 9-year-old daughter, this arrangement is experienced almost as a lack of freedom. It is not practical to board from the back, forcing you to open the front door first.

The copy purchased for €14,900 by our reader a month ago at a BMW dealership in the Loiret is of the first generation. Totaling just under 60,000 km, it therefore charges a lithium-ion battery with a gross capacity of 22 kWh, of which 18.9 are usable. The manufacturer then guaranteed a NEDC range of 190 km. In the countryside, it was better not to wait much longer than 150 km.

Down Rex!

Against an extension of 4,500 euros, it was still possible in 2016 to opt for the gasoline range extender (650 cm3 unit 25 kW coupled to a 9-litre tank) nicknamed ” rex (Range Extender).

We asked ourselves the question of choosing such a well-equipped model for our first electric car. Rex is security, but it’s also maintenance, and apparently some reliability concerns in certain misuse cases », Comments Thiébault. This equipment disappeared from the catalog with the arrival in 2019 of the third generation to receive 42 kWh of lithium-ion cells.

If our reader has fallen in love with a BMW i3, it is also because he thinks it is a ” that works very well and that is super economical “. The typical German Shepherd dog finds his place in the trunk. And his name is not Rex!

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Questions about battery status?

Thiébault highlights the difficulty of knowing the status of the traction battery when buying a used electric car and, in particular, an i3. ” This is something difficult to obtain, even at a dealership that specializes in used BMW-branded vehicles. “, regrets. Our reader received only verbal reassurance, but never a written report of the pack’s health.

After receiving the vehicle, he found a capacity of no more than 14.7 kWh. Fears fueled by disturbing sightings during repatriation by road were finally quelled. After consulting the BMW i3 experts present on the Automobile Propre forum, he managed to rebalance the battery elements.

Since then, under ideal conditions of use, including favorable weather, it has reached 150-155 km of autonomy. ” Covers our daily needs “, compares the new electromobilist.

reloaded from the net

Since the early 2010s, manufacturers have insisted on putting a wall box with the purchase of an electric car. However, many drivers have an electrical outlet in their garage that can be satisfactory, once you have at least verified that it does not heat up or heats up slightly during use.

This is how Thiébault recharges his BMW i3. ” It works like a vacuum cleaner. Well, I plug it into a power outlet at home, and it does the job! “, he laughs.

Counts a maximum of 10 to 12 hours of connection with the battery well drained. The vehicle is mainly used by his wife for travel between home and work. The latter is equipped with a terminal that she can use if necessary. As a reminder, this electric car can optionally accept DC fast charging up to a power of 50 kW.


Almost 10 years after its launch, the BMW i3 feels timeless. ” I feel like I’m in a car that’s just come out, that’s brand new. In terms of design, it’s futuristic. “Launches Maxime Fontanier, taking his place alongside Thiébault.

Beautiful in appearance, the seats are cozy and comfortable. They do not, however, erase the firmness of the suspension that is extended by tall, narrow wheels fitted with expensive and hard-to-obtain tires. Good news: Bridgestone’s Ecopia models are no longer the only ones available.

While driving, some mounting noises coming from the rear couldn’t escape our tester’s thin ear. The same goes for the air that passes over the bodywork at a speed of 90 km/h.

A taste of SUV?

Thiébault finds the steering quite firm, which nevertheless offers an excellent turning radius contained at 9.8m. This makes it easy to use this car that fits in a rectangle measuring 4,011 x 1,775 m, for a height of 1,598 m.

Despite these dimensions, our reader appreciates the feeling of space on board the BMW i3 and the rather high seat, which he compares to what he also feels when driving an SUV. He, however, would have liked to have had a reversing camera, absent from his new car.

With it, the electromotorist had to get used to a powerful regeneration by lifting his foot off the accelerator. Ultimately, it allows the vehicle to be immobilized without touching the brake pedal.


If the software system returns with each new use to the driving mode with higher energy consumption (Comfort), Thiébault usually drives in the Eco Pro, which reduces consumption by taking advantage of the acceleration force, the maximum speed (130 km/h maximum) and powering the vehicle’s various electrical consumers.

However, access to air conditioning and heating is possible. This would not be the case with the Eco Pro+ mode that disables this equipment and limits the speed to 90 km/h. ” It is to be used when you have an important journey to do and want to make sure you have a small margin », explains our reader.

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In the last 894 kilometers, it has a reasonable average consumption of 14.2 kWh/100 km. He advises on this matter to use the cabin preheating function when it is cold and the car is connected to the sector. This operation prevents excessive consumption of the traction battery before leaving with models not equipped with a heat pump. Which is his case.

The entire Automobile Propre team thanks Thiébault for his friendly testimony and invites you to discover the video interview conducted by Maxime Fontanier on YouTube. By subscribing and accepting to receive notifications, you will be quickly notified of our new publications.

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