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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. Just had a quick question. My wife and I are planning on moving to Spain from here in the US next year. Our 2015 BMW i3 it is almost paid for and we like to bring it with us.

Now I believe that the charging plug itself in Europe is different from US standards. Would we have trouble finding an appropriate charger for the garage that will match our car based on 230 voltage in Europe?

Thanks again for any help.
 

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Renault Zoe 50
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They’re different. Type 2 and CCS is used over here.

The best thing to do is to sell it and buy an i3 in Spain when you get here.

Otherwise you’ll end up with a world of hassle. That’s before you even factor in import duties and getting the car registered with the DGT.
 

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You can get a Type 1/J1772 Chargepoint fitted at home, and even get a Type 2-Type 1 cable for slower public chargepoints as its the same connector that was used in Europe originally on early EVs.

For DC Rapid charging, you simply won't be able to. The CCS cables are always tethered to the charger and CCS is completely different in the US compared to Europe.

As Cah197 has said above its not worth the hassle and you should probably just sell it and buy another European spec model when you arrive.
 

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If this is a military related move there me be good reasons to bring your own car and work around the issues mentioned above. I'm interested as to why the charge port on the car cannot be swapped from a US spec one to a Euro spec one - is the CCS protocol really different between the US and Europe? :eek:
 

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If this is a military related move there me be good reasons to bring your own car and work around the issues mentioned above.
Not sure why that makes any difference?

Still have to work with Tráfico.
 

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Spanish attitudes to US military imports may be different to the UK - there is favourable treatment for "temporary" imports.
 

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BMW did offer a retrofit of charging inlets when they had been officially importing Type 1 vehicles into New Zealand before the country standardised on Type 2 and there would have been no Type 1 CCS rapid chargers left to use, so it's possible, and there's almost definately a standard part number and official procedure a dealer could order to swap the charge inlet to the more appropriate design.
The CCS protocol itself and pinouts are the same between US and Europe, it's just the layout of the vehicle inlet is different, so that the AC part of it can cope with three-phase charging.
Charge voltage isn't an issue, since even US spec vehicles can cope with 230V AC, or thereabouts, because that's what is known as Level 2 in the USA.
If you decide to stick with the existing charge inlet, and only use AC charging and give up the CCS functionality, then you'd need to buy a type 2 to type 1 cable. If you get the charge inlet officially changed, you'd want to buy a type 2 to type 2 charge cable to use public AC chargers. Most public charge points in Europe that aren't rapid chargers use a socket outlet rather than a tethered cable. This has the benefit of having a less cluttered on the streets near the chargepoints.

However, there's bound to be more subtle changes that the US-spec models have that the Euro-spec models don't, lighting etc is a common issue (fog lights and so on) you'll have to address before registering the vehicle in Spain.
Radio frequencies (FM channel spacing) are different in US to Europe. Europe doesn't have XM radio broadcasts either (but I don't think BMW ever fitted an XM capable radio to US spec models).

So, yes, you could import an i3 from USA to Spain, but you'd be better off selling yours and buying one locally when you arrive, then you won't have to pay as much to ship it, adapt it, pay import tax etc. If you buy a European spec model, then it can charge with three-phase AC, up to 11kW, whereas the best you'd get out of an adapted US model would be 7kW single phase AC charging.
 

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Spanish attitudes to US military imports may be different to the UK - there is favourable treatment for "temporary" imports.
You must be referring to the standard EU rules.

Not sure what you mean by a 'military import'. Unless you mean 'invasion'.
 

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They’re different. Type 2 and CCS is used over here.

The best thing to do is to sell it and buy an i3 in Spain when you get here.

Otherwise you’ll end up with a world of hassle. That’s before you even factor in import duties and getting the car registered with the DGT.
The great standard that is NOT a standard, the CCS debacle IE in two flavours, incompatible joke....
 

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I think you will find that there are many differences between US and Euro spec cars and it may be very expensive or even impossible to swap items out. I know someone who did this with a Jaguar a few years ago, it proved very difficult and expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for the feedback. I appreciate it. Sounds like we should sell it here and get another one there to avoid the problems mentioned. I don't want to complicate anything. I will have to take a look at the used i3 market over there and check the average cost compared to ours.
 

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Along with various other 1 post questions, this seems as bizarre as usual
Its not that unusual, there is a similar thread from a year ago on the Fiat part of this site and the question comes up from time to time. Pre brexit it was a thing reimporting EU built classic cars from the USA as they didn't carry import duty and if you bought them from a relatively dry state then much less rusty example where available for much less money than domestic ones. It was always a perk of working abroad with the military that you could buy a car and bring it back to the UK at low cost.
 

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USA is 60 Hz mains frequency, Europe 50 Hz. Shouldn’t make any difference to the rectifier and power electronics circuits but it’s something I would want to check out.
 
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