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BMW I3 and Chevy Bolt versus the M3

ammulder

'98 GS400 -> P3D+
Apr 11, 2019
942
3,041
Philly area
Oh you can definitely trust my analytical ability with finances.
[...]
The 35K SR will be gone, making the low end $39,500 starting for SR+. You are 45K all in. Only significant difference is you get basic AP.

$3,750, and $1,875 tax credits are expected to be gone in two years.
[...]
So yes, $25,000 seems very realistic to me. Unlimited miles really means you can drive as much as you want - or as little as you want. If you drove it 1000 miles in two years, you will get more than $25,000. If you drove 40,000 miles, you wont get $25,000 but you'll get $20,000 possibly.

eh, there's BIG assumptions built into that. Hard to know how the political winds will blow regarding tax credits. Looks grim now, but could completely change direction in 2 years. And maybe the buyer has read these thread of people buying in California, who do some math on federal, state, and local credits and come up with like $12K off. (Some days I wish I lived in California, but then I remember how much the house costs, and then the car doesn't feel so economical any more...)

Also hard to know about the SR. They just had to introduce a LOWER trim level in Canada. Why would they bother to completely eliminate the SR option for the US when they're being forced to continue producing it for Canada anyway? That would only take away their ability to claim they could make a $35K car, and for no good reason.

I think if a buyer comes in knowing you might have gotten a 35K car for 10K+ off, they're not going to pony up 25K after 2 years. But maybe not all buyers know that. Maybe you're selling in a state with crappy state/local incentives. So maybe 25K, I just don't think it's a given. I'd feel better if the math was based on 20K and came with the asterisk "but you may do better."

Still, it should be better than the Tesla lease any way you slice it. Just not cheaper than the i3 lease. :)
 

3laine

Member
Apr 24, 2018
122
75
Florida
According to the EPA, the Model 3 is more efficient than an i3, model for model. The various i3 models range from 109 to 118 MPGe while the Model 3 variants range from 116 to 130 MPGe, so a 7 to 12 MPGe edge for the Model 3.

My i3 is definitely more efficient than even my 3LR RWD. The 3 is officially more efficient when actually driving, but my commute is about ~20 miles/day, so the ~5 miles/day lost to vampire drain in the Tesla more than make up for whatever small driving efficiency difference there is.

That being said, they're both crazy cheap to "fuel", either way, but in a direct comparison, the i3 is cheaper.
 

3laine

Member
Apr 24, 2018
122
75
Florida
The i3 sales numbers are so low it might as well be considered a compliant car.

Sales aren't at Model 3 levels, but the i3 has been available for sale all over the world and in all US states for ~5-6 years, now, so it shouldn't be lumped in with even the Bolt, let alone actual compliance cars like 500e, Fit EV, etc.
 

MXWing

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2016
7,318
18,035
USA
eh, there's BIG assumptions built into that. Hard to know how the political winds will blow regarding tax credits. Looks grim now, but could completely change direction in 2 years. And maybe the buyer has read these thread of people buying in California, who do some math on federal, state, and local credits and come up with like $12K off. (Some days I wish I lived in California, but then I remember how much the house costs, and then the car doesn't feel so economical any more...)

Also hard to know about the SR. They just had to introduce a LOWER trim level in Canada. Why would they bother to completely eliminate the SR option for the US when they're being forced to continue producing it for Canada anyway? That would only take away their ability to claim they could make a $35K car, and for no good reason.

I think if a buyer comes in knowing you might have gotten a 35K car for 10K+ off, they're not going to pony up 25K after 2 years. But maybe not all buyers know that. Maybe you're selling in a state with crappy state/local incentives. So maybe 25K, I just don't think it's a given. I'd feel better if the math was based on 20K and came with the asterisk "but you may do better."

Still, it should be better than the Tesla lease any way you slice it. Just not cheaper than the i3 lease. :)

Predictions get less accurate the farther we go into time. This is the best model I can develop given the information we have as of today.

At some point there is a price floor for a Model 3 with warranty.

You will lose even less money if you hold for 3 years as the depreciation curve will get flatter. I picked two years for my exit plan to coincide with Model Y release.

Tesla is not releasing the 150KM Model 3 in the United States or anywhere other than for abnormal circumstances.

Tesla will likely have a 35K car or even CHEAPER but it won't be as nice as the current Model 3 SR.

Given the SR is still a SR+, we are getting a car WORTH 42K when adjusting for 2016 inflation.

A Model 3 lease will never be competitive against a i3 solely for the fact that BMW subsidizes them and is forced to blow them out to get takers.

It's like saying a Happy Meal is always cheaper than a Wagyu steak.

That's true, but one is a Wagyu steak and one is a Happy Meal.
 

3laine

Member
Apr 24, 2018
122
75
Florida
does not have that low center of gravity that makes the Tesla so much fun to drive.

According to BMW, i3's CoG is 18.5" and the only number I can find for Model 3 is also 18.5".

I think it's more about suspension setup and such than CoG. They both have very low CoG (911 GT3 is 17.9", supposedly, for instance).
 

Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,290
3,188
Alameda, CA
I know people are talking about getting a New car, but if you are smart you buy used. We are finally starting to get into that territory with these three cars. The i3s have been coming off lease for a while now and are very cheap. A friend just got the CPO REX one for $20,000 with a year of free charging. Perfect condition and little things like a rattle in the airbag were fixed at BMWs expense.

That said, he bugs me every day about how much he wants to buy a Tesla. Supercharging, range, autopilot, prestige. I see a surprisingly few numbers of these for sale used. Referring to the comment above I used to notice the places I went in my RV didn't seem to have really any Teslas, that has changed in the last year. The advantage of selling so many cars with a 325-mile range. Soon they will be as ubiquitous as Prius or the VW Bug before that.

I see a lot of Bolts around, they had a head start. I would be curious to meet someone who is buying that car new today.

Tesla uses 1% of the battery daily, no matter what the temperature is.
Have you had your car in the summer? Even in my town right off the bay where it never gets too warm, it still gets sunny and most of last summer the car ran that fan ALL day. It's a real drain on the system, but the batteries end up better off than my poor electric scooter that I keep in the car in 116° temps.

-Randy
 
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Dan123

Member
Jun 19, 2018
451
297
Miami
Have you had your car in the summer? Even in my town right off the bay where it never gets too warm, it still gets sunny and most of last summer the car ran that fan ALL day. It's a real drain on the system, but the batteries end up better off than my poor electric scooter that I keep in the car in 116° temps.

-Randy

I was talking about the drain (outside of the battery conditioning situation). Bolt doesn't have any drain, and Tesla has significant battery drain.

As for battery conditioning, here in Miami it almost never gets above 90 degrees, and I keep the car in the shade most of the time. So the battery conditioning on Bolt almost never kicked in.

I think Tesla, because of its glass roof, gets more affected by sunlight, and it gets hotter inside. And the battery conditioning is more aggressive. So the power usage for battery conditioning is probably higher. But we will never know, since Tesla doesn't report that usage (Bolt gave a breakdown of driving/climate/battery conditioning).
 

Jeff N

Active Member
Oct 31, 2011
2,313
3,027
I went to a road trip my 2nd day with a tesla up and down central California. Tons of tesla model 3 and model s. No bolts no leaf no i3 was ever seen. Just shows you why tesla is the number one all around choice. It’s usable on road trips! If I didn’t drive so much. I’d get rid of my beater the Prius. The tesla can be my only car.
I do road trips regularly in my Bolt EV. I recently did a winter 4,500 mile trip from the San Francisco area up to Edmonton, Alberta in northern Canada. I did that trip almost entirely on DC charging and overnight hotel charging at a pace of around 300-400 miles a day.

Trips like this will get a lot easier as Electrify America and other CCS charging networks spread along highways rather than just being located in urban metro areas. I used 17 Electrify America sites on my Canada trip which included a scenic route through Western Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state.

This is not to say the Bolt is as road trip worthy as a Tesla, obviously. The charging stops take longer so the pace is more casual and the charging along rural routes takes more planning and is not as broadly available. Even when the initial Electrify America Cycle 1 network is open by the end of this year there are large coverage gaps in some areas that are more evenly covered by Superchargers.

The point is that road trips often are possible in a Bolt or other non-Tesla cars and will be increasingly easy in the near future. Newer cars like the Audi and Porsche cars coming out this year are much more competitive on charging speed.

This is the latest map of the nearly 500 Electrify America Cycle 1 locations planned to be open by the end of this year. Right now over 140 are open.

47034665-307A-47A5-88B3-00EDA865BFFA.jpeg
 
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SammichLover

Banned
Dec 8, 2018
2,618
1,542
Yup
I did that trip almost entirely on DC charging and overnight hotel charging at a pace of around 300-400 miles a day.
Oh. My. Goodness. That's brutal. That's turning an easy 2 day trip into a 5+ day trip.

As for EA, yes they're 5-6 years behind Tesla and hoping to close that to 4 years some day.
 
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Scott7

Member
Apr 3, 2016
319
358
Wisconsin
A friend just got the CPO REX one for $20,000 with a year of free charging.

That seems about $5k too high to me based on what I see on the market. Even for a CPO REX. For example look at this.

As long as it meets your needs and you can get past it's exterior looks, I think the i3 is probably the single best used car value in the US. People just don't understand this car and I have taken advantage of that fact twice with cheap leases before moving to a Model 3. I would still consider another one used because they seem to have hit the bottom of their depreciation curve.
 

Baltimoron

Member
Aug 16, 2018
10
3
Arizona
I currently have (lease) a 2018 i3. I also currently have a performance 3 on order.

The i3 is absolutely fantastic for what it is, and I view it as the perfect commuter car. The suicide doors are awful, however (the juggling that has to be done to allow a rear seat passenger to exit the car when you are parked next to something else is laughable.) But, the ability to truly and completely drive with a single pedal (regen down to zero) is going to be sorely SORELY missed on the tesla. I don't understand why that isn't an option in the menus.
I find that just being in AP with a distance of 3 cars is more than sufficient in that I personally never have to use brake. It has ALWAYS braked appropriately to a complete stop (except when first car coming up to redlight or stop sign). I hope the upcoming autonomous driving chip will resolve even that minor effort.
 

S'toon

Knows where his towel is
Apr 23, 2015
3,699
3,640
AB
I do road trips regularly in my Bolt EV. I recently did a winter 4,500 mile trip from the San Francisco area up to Edmonton, Alberta in northern Canada. I did that trip almost entirely on DC charging and overnight hotel charging at a pace of around 300-400 miles a day.

Trips like this will get a lot easier as Electrify America and other CCS charging networks spread along highways rather than just being located in urban metro areas. I used 17 Electrify America sites on my Canada trip which included a scenic route through Western Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state.

This is not to say the Bolt is as road trip worthy as a Tesla, obviously. The charging stops take longer so the pace is more casual and the charging along rural routes takes more planning and is not as broadly available. Even when the initial Electrify America Cycle 1 network is open by the end of this year there are large coverage gaps in some areas that are more evenly covered by Superchargers.

The point is that road trips often are possible in a Bolt or other non-Tesla cars and will be increasingly easy in the near future. Newer cars like the Audi and Porsche cars coming out this year are much more competitive on charging speed.

This is the latest map of the nearly 500 Electrify America Cycle 1 locations planned to be open by the end of this year. Right now over 140 are open.

View attachment 403614
I notice a clear lack of charging stations through the states through which I'd need to go to visit my folks in the US...Montana, ND, and Minn.

Same goes for Tesla.
 

SammichLover

Banned
Dec 8, 2018
2,618
1,542
Yup
I notice a clear lack of charging stations through the states through which I'd need to go to visit my folks in the US...Montana, ND, and Minn.

Same goes for Tesla.
Would you like for me to stop by in a couple months for me suggest to you in person you need to expand your mind? ;)
 

Jeff N

Active Member
Oct 31, 2011
2,313
3,027
I notice a clear lack of charging stations through the states through which I'd need to go to visit my folks in the US...Montana, ND, and Minn.

Same goes for Tesla.
Tesla is clearly ahead of the game in filling in coverage gaps, but you’re right that even today there are gaps in some rural areas. That’s just reality and basic economics.

I remember it took a surprisingly long time for ATM machines to make their way to those same areas even though they were far cheaper and easier to install than a high-power DC charging spot. But at least you could still walk inside the bank during the 10am to 3pm hours Monday through Friday back then to get cash or deposit checks relatively quickly.... In some areas, a plug-in hybrid with a substantial battery range will be a more practical path for folks who want to go electric today.
 

Vinc

Member
Jul 7, 2018
430
265
Los Angeles
That seems about $5k too high to me based on what I see on the market. Even for a CPO REX. For example look at this.

As long as it meets your needs and you can get past it's exterior looks, I think the i3 is probably the single best used car value in the US. People just don't understand this car and I have taken advantage of that fact twice with cheap leases before moving to a Model 3. I would still consider another one used because they seem to have hit the bottom of their depreciation curve.

Very true. You can find used i3s in excellent shape for little more than a song. When our lease expired, BMW wanted an insane amount to sell us the car. So we returned it, drove around the corner and got a used one from a Chevy dealer at a third of the price. If you can live with only 75ish miles of range (yes, I know...), the car that they sell today new is pretty much the exact one that came out in 2014. And it is a very good car.
 

SammichLover

Banned
Dec 8, 2018
2,618
1,542
Yup
Tesla is clearly ahead of the game in filling in coverage gaps, but you’re right that even today there are gaps in some rural areas. That’s just reality and basic economics.
He just needs Regina SC nearly all of that area opens up for him 9 months of the year (well more, in mild weather) within L3 charging range. Dickenson SC is likely ahead of Regina, too. I assume he's talking about Eastern MT, because the West side is actually covered. If they are family worth visiting they'll let you slot in your L2 set-up into their breaker box. :)

P.S. The Canadian prairies were years ahead of the US, urban and otherwise, with ATMs. The pattern followed with EVs, too, because there is actually a web of high speed L2 North of the 49th. Ones that at 16kW are pretty near the 24kW "L3" stuff you're using on an Edmonton trip.
 

turtlesz

Member
Aug 7, 2017
520
467
Southern California
Very true. You can find used i3s in excellent shape for little more than a song. When our lease expired, BMW wanted an insane amount to sell us the car. So we returned it, drove around the corner and got a used one from a Chevy dealer at a third of the price. If you can live with only 75ish miles of range (yes, I know...), the car that they sell today new is pretty much the exact one that came out in 2014. And it is a very good car.

2017 and up all electric i3s have around 120 mile range and it had regularly gone above that for city driving. Great little city cars.
 
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Rottenapplr

Member
Apr 6, 2019
992
478
LOS ANGELES
I do road trips regularly in my Bolt EV. I recently did a winter 4,500 mile trip from the San Francisco area up to Edmonton, Alberta in northern Canada. I did that trip almost entirely on DC charging and overnight hotel charging at a pace of around 300-400 miles a day.

Trips like this will get a lot easier as Electrify America and other CCS charging networks spread along highways rather than just being located in urban metro areas. I used 17 Electrify America sites on my Canada trip which included a scenic route through Western Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state.

This is not to say the Bolt is as road trip worthy as a Tesla, obviously. The charging stops take longer so the pace is more casual and the charging along rural routes takes more planning and is not as broadly available. Even when the initial Electrify America Cycle 1 network is open by the end of this year there are large coverage gaps in some areas that are more evenly covered by Superchargers.

The point is that road trips often are possible in a Bolt or other non-Tesla cars and will be increasingly easy in the near future. Newer cars like the Audi and Porsche cars coming out this year are much more competitive on charging speed.

This is the latest map of the nearly 500 Electrify America Cycle 1 locations planned to be open by the end of this year. Right now over 140 are open.

View attachment 403614
Of course it’s possible to cross country on any EV. Heck I could possible walk to Sacramento from LA. I just marvel at the ease Tesla has made road trips feasible. They’re invested in the success of EV and the infrastructure, unlike other car dealers who begrudgingly sell the EV because they have to. I’ll head to north Santa Barbara’s this weekend and it should be a simple process in the model 3.
 

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