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Discussion Starter #1
I bought an early (Dec 13) REx 2 years ago which has done 48,000 miles. So far it's cost more than a vintage Maserati to keep on the road:
1) New electric machine (£4k)
2) New injectors and Lambda
3) Just went in for a routine service and told need a new engine mount for £2,500
4) Buggy software installed twice by BMW

This is THE most unreliable car I have ever owned including 1960s English, French and Italian sports cars.

The early i3s are a disaster - the drivetrain and controllers are so weak and BMW released them far too early.

It will drive me back to ICE.
 

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These early cars, particularly the REx, had their fair share of problems. In theory all the issues that have plagued you should have been fixed by recalls (engine mounting bolts and software upgrades), under warranty or when in for routine servicing. I presume you don’t have an extended warranty which is sadly absolutely necessary for these early REx’s? I would ask for the service history to be checked to see what updates have been done and if they were overlooked look for a contribution from BMW. Yes, the car may be 6 years old but the mileage is still quite low and I think all the problems you have had are BMW known issues. If however the car has been serviced outside the BMW network I think you may be better at cutting your losses. My first 2015 i3 had a few problems - fortunately none serious and I am lucky in having a helpful local dealership - but my 2018 LCI has been absolutely bullet proof. I think BMW have made a lot of minor and subtle improvements during the i3’s life which has resolved all those early build issues.
 

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It's a shame BMW allowed these early lemons to remain in the market. I suspect they've worked that out for themselves by now. My early 2014 car was always at the dealership. The next two have never been back.
 

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I bought an early (Dec 13) REx 2 years ago which has done 48,000 miles. So far it's cost more than a vintage Maserati to keep on the road:
1) New electric machine (£4k)
2) New injectors and Lambda
3) Just went in for a routine service and told need a new engine mount for £2,500
4) Buggy software installed twice by BMW

This is THE most unreliable car I have ever owned including 1960s English, French and Italian sports cars.

The early i3s are a disaster - the drivetrain and controllers are so weak and BMW released them far too early.

It will drive me back to ICE.
Struth!

Is it possible to take the engine off it, and at least save doing the engine jobs? (What's an 'electric machine' BTW?)
 

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(What's an 'electric machine' BTW?)
About £4K...:p

I suspect it‘s the electric motor being talked about?

I did read on another forum a while back that the bearing had gone on an i3 motor and the replacement motor (machine) was £4.1k. Why they can’t replace just the bearing I’m not sure.
 

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About £4K...:p

I suspect it‘s the electric motor being talked about?

I did read on another forum a while back that the bearing had gone on an i3 motor and the replacement motor (machine) was £4.1k. Why they can’t replace just the bearing I’m not sure.
Sounds like lazy/ incompetent mechanics to me. There must be some 'electric machines' in scrap yards though, mustn't there? Similarly the engine mount?
 

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Sounds like lazy/ incompetent mechanics to me. There must be some 'electric machines' in scrap yards though, mustn't there? Similarly the engine mount?
Although there must be a good number of salvage i3 around by now, it’s not an option used by BMW dealers.

That coupled with the ‘part fitting’ mentality and approach to fault finding, and that’s why the first port of call is a new part.

I would run an early i3 Rex out of warranty if it was cheap enough, but it wouldn’t go anywhere near a main dealer.
 

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Just browsing ebay, it seems that BMW do actually call it an 'Electric Machine'.......
Lazy translators using literal equivalents rather than proper translations. There are 2 volumes of German - English and English - German engineering dictionaries, maybe BMW don't own a set.
 

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Although there must be a good number of salvage i3 around by now, it’s not an option used by BMW dealers.

That coupled with the ‘part fitting’ mentality and approach to fault finding, and that’s why the first port of call is a new part.

I would run an early i3 Rex out of warranty if it was cheap enough, but it wouldn’t go anywhere near a main dealer.
There are loads of companies that refurbish electric motors who would probably be capable of changing bearings. The EV repair market for motors and electronics will develop and become mainstream in the future, but even now you can usually find someone to do oddball jobs.
 

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There are loads of companies that refurbish electric motors who would probably be capable of changing bearings. The EV repair market for motors and electronics will develop and become mainstream in the future, but even now you can usually find someone to do oddball jobs.
Exactly, but main dealer default is to order the entire sub assembly or major component over repairing whatever it is that’s broken/worn. It’s not just BMW, I had a friend quoted by an Audi dealer for a whole new turbo and actuator, because the vacuum diaphragm on the actuator had split.

£3k+ for the assembly, versus £10 for a new diaphragm and a few hours labour. We changed it in an afternoon, and were learning as we went.

It’s not only expensive the way that main dealers just replace whole units, it’s very wasteful.
 

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It will drive me back to ICE.
That's exactly what my i3 REx did to me.

When I first got it (early 2014), I was so enthusiastic, telling myself I'd never buy an ICE vehicle again. Fast forward three years later, 20 odd trips to the dealer, thousands of pounds worth of repairs (at BMW's cost), charging niggles that took numerous attempts to fix and then a REx failure 100 miles away from home leaving me with a flatbed recovery - that was all I could take. I was back in an ICE.

All rather depressing when friends, family and work colleagues are asking how you are getting on with an EV and you have to tell them the truth...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's exactly what my i3 REx did to me.

When I first got it (early 2014), I was so enthusiastic, telling myself I'd never buy an ICE vehicle again. Fast forward three years later, 20 odd trips to the dealer, thousands of pounds worth of repairs (at BMW's cost), charging niggles that took numerous attempts to fix and then a REx failure 100 miles away from home leaving me with a flatbed recovery - that was all I could take. I was back in an ICE.

All rather depressing when friends, family and work colleagues are asking how you are getting on with an EV and you have to tell them the truth...
UPDATE - the part is about £300, plus 10 hours labour. You have to remove the whole motor (electric machine!) and subframe. BMW know me and they have (reasonably) paid for 70%. My car is low mileage and there is no doubt that these early cars have appalling reliability. The service manager (and this probably the biggest i3 dealer in the country) says he never sees the new cars and I tend to believe that. It's still dented my faith in BMW. As an aside, I've owned a quite a wide variety of cars in my time. By far the 2 most unreliable have been an Audi RS4 and this BMW. Put me off both marques for life.
 

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Put me off both marques for life.
Yeah, my i3 was my first BMW and I was expecting so much better from the brand. When I sold it a couple of years ago I said it would be my last.

I'm currently on the lookout for a new BEV and an 120ah i3s would suit me well but not sure I want to trust the reports of everything being fine now with the newer models. Once bitten, twice shy and all that....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What's it made from, Platinum?
£2k+ of sodding labour. Who builds a car which needs 10 hours to remove the whole motor to replace a mount - which is so poorly designed it fails at less than 50k miles on an underpowered car.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's exactly what my i3 REx did to me.

When I first got it (early 2014), I was so enthusiastic, telling myself I'd never buy an ICE vehicle again. Fast forward three years later, 20 odd trips to the dealer, thousands of pounds worth of repairs (at BMW's cost), charging niggles that took numerous attempts to fix and then a REx failure 100 miles away from home leaving me with a flatbed recovery - that was all I could take. I was back in an ICE.

All rather depressing when friends, family and work colleagues are asking how you are getting on with an EV and you have to tell them the truth...
Exactly. Feels like a massive step back but at least anyone can fix an out of warranty ICE, even a moderately complex one.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Exactly, but main dealer default is to order the entire sub assembly or major component over repairing whatever it is that’s broken/worn. It’s not just BMW, I had a friend quoted by an Audi dealer for a whole new turbo and actuator, because the vacuum diaphragm on the actuator had split.

£3k+ for the assembly, versus £10 for a new diaphragm and a few hours labour. We changed it in an afternoon, and were learning as we went.

It’s not only expensive the way that main dealers just replace whole units, it’s very wasteful.
The waste is key. It's already had a new electric machine (the generator attached to the REx) at BMW's expense. Instead of replacing the controller, they replaced the whole thing. For what is supposed to be a "green" car, they need to think a lot more about make these things repairable.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sounds like lazy/ incompetent mechanics to me. There must be some 'electric machines' in scrap yards though, mustn't there? Similarly the engine mount?
The electric machine is what BMW call the motor, and generator attached to the REx. When you think about it, they act as motor and dynamo, instantly flipping between the two modes, with large currents being reversed. It's not just an electric motor..it's a BMW electric motor, and all that
 

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Discussion Starter #20
These early cars, particularly the REx, had their fair share of problems. In theory all the issues that have plagued you should have been fixed by recalls (engine mounting bolts and software upgrades), under warranty or when in for routine servicing. I presume you don’t have an extended warranty which is sadly absolutely necessary for these early REx’s? I would ask for the service history to be checked to see what updates have been done and if they were overlooked look for a contribution from BMW. Yes, the car may be 6 years old but the mileage is still quite low and I think all the problems you have had are BMW known issues. If however the car has been serviced outside the BMW network I think you may be better at cutting your losses. My first 2015 i3 had a few problems - fortunately none serious and I am lucky in having a helpful local dealership - but my 2018 LCI has been absolutely bullet proof. I think BMW have made a lot of minor and subtle improvements during the i3’s life which has resolved all those early build issues.
Time to sell this one on while everything is working and I can honestly tell buyers it's in perfect condition.
 
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