A BMW i3 owner reports that after owning his vehicle for three years and three months and driving more than 130,000km, the battery has only degraded by 4 per cent.
Battery degradation in electric cars – particularly ones with a shorter range – is a matter of concern for many prospective customers, particularly when shelling out the higher purchase price for the (newish) zero-emissions technology.
BMW offers an eight-year, or 160,000km warranty on its i3 batteries, whichever comes first.
And it would appear, at least in this owner’s opinion, that BMW’s engineers have succeeded in making sure the i3 has a battery that exceeds expectations.
In a recent Facebook post, Chris Cathcart, who we noted in 2020 had only spent $32 on the first 94,000km driving his i3, shared an update.
And since buying the car, he says he’s only spent $160 on power thanks to a combination of rooftop solar and a Zappi charger which only draws down energy for the car when the sun is shining.
“We have now driven 134,055Km, not bad for an older EV, with a relatively small 33kWh battery & range of just under 200Km on the highway and about 250Km around town,” writes Cathcart.
“So we’ve used a total of 18,871kWh of power to drive this far, costing us a mere $160.45. That’s an average of 14.08kWh per 100Km. Note: I’m tracking kWh put into the car not kWh used by the car. The car’s computer has a lifetime usage at just 12.7kWh/100Km.
“So why are our power costs so incredibly low? This is because we have invested in a Zappi charger at home, so we can use our solar system to nearly exclusively charge the car. If we had to use the grid instead of solar to charge our charging costs would have been $1,972,” he writes.
Additionally, he’s only spent $550 on servicing plus the cost of new tyres.
“We’ve also just got the car its third scheduled service, which was just the cabin filter replacement & brake fluid flush, costing us $249. So our total servicing cost is now totalling $550, plus 6 new tyres,” writes Cathcart.
“We’ve only had a few minor issues with the car, like a faulty door actuator, door trim pealing, steering wheel discolouration, steering wheel column noise & intermittent squeaking of the windows. BMW has been really great and fixed all these issues, under warranty.
“I really still love driving this car, the EV grin isn’t any smaller after over 3 years,” he says.
“We still make any excuse to go out and explore this great country. We live about 40 minutes north of Brisbane. Whether it is a holiday to Cairns or just taking a different route to the places we go to often.
“It’s just a pleasure to drive in the comfort & quiet of an electric vehicle. Every time we take someone for a spin, they are amazed at the power & torque, plus how and quiet it is.
“The other thing that a lot of EV buyers get tied up in is the battery degradation,” he finishes.
“So my car is a 94Ah battery & its computer currently has it sitting at 90.02Ah, so that’s 4.23% degradation in 134k kilometres.
“Good work BMW engineers,” he says.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.