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Discussion Starter #1
My 77yo mum wants to drive an EV 'before she dies' [her words] and loves driving in the Model S whenever we are down to visit. She currently potters around in an old A-class MB, but its thirsty and she's fed up of getting things fixed and wants a change.

The vast majority of the time she drives around town and maybe the odd excursion to the seaside - maybe 80miles round trip. She has a drive and a garrage and can plug it in every evening, so I expect that she would use the battery for 95% of the time. However, I would be personally reassured to know that she had a REX in the back should she forget to plug in or go further than half battery range on a day trip.

I don't think she could deal with charging on the road via card or app based charging networks. Although contactless, plug in and tap, Instavolt type rapids would probably be OK [does Ionity work like this as well or do they need a card / app ?].

So do you think that an i3 REX might be a suitable car for a reasonably adventurous, but now slightly creaky 77 yo granny ? Can I rely on the REX to get her home so that she doesn't need to worry about the battery state of charge ? Or does the tiny fuel tank mean you need to worry about petrol as well ? Do you just carry an extra 5l can of petrol in the boot to supplement the built in fuel tank ?

Also, is the seating position reasonably high and easy to get in and out of ?

And are there any specific points to look out for in a young 2-3yo second hand example ?

Sorry for all the questions, and many thanks indeed in advance !
 

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The seating position is actually a step UP to get in/out. In general I would say the car is suitable for this type of use, and this type of person. Even a 94 non-REX would likely give you a pretty comfortable 80 miles round trip range as long as you're not being ridiculous with heat/AC/cruising at 85mph, that sort of thing.
From what I understand of the REx it's pretty painless. The car manages state of charge automatically, and yes the fuel tank is very small but it's easily going to double the range of the 94Ah.
 

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One thing I’ve noticed with elderly people getting in and out of my i3 is that the wide door sills can make it a little more tricky to enter / exit.

(Elderly people mentioned to this me)
 

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Certainly an i3 REX would work for that use case so maybe take her to look at one. A lot of people on here like their i3, but me and OH were not keen when we had one from EVEzy for a few months. Bear in mind that if your mum wants to take elderly friends on a day trip, getting them into back of i3 wouldn't be great :LOL:

Personally I wouldn't rule out a full BEV for her. The latest eGolf would be far more conventional and practical and range fine for those day trips. The Zoe ZE40 is also worth considering as has great range, is easy to use and is a higher seating car - the mother in law finds it far easier than our Model 3.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Many thanks for your feedback and suggestions. My mum is particularly keen on he higher seating position of the old MB A class, so the i3 is similar in a way that the Zoe or eGolf are not. And despite being a convinced EV driver myself, I couldn't even begin to talk her through the likes of Plugshare, how to use the Electric Highway app and the difference between Type 2 and CCS sockets !

Which is why the REX is such an attractive option. Basically, all I need to do is train her to plug in her special plug into the car socket every night and then to 'put petrol in this hole' when the orange petrol light comes on.

I'll take her out to a dealership now that they are open again and see what she thinks...
 

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Everyone is different and your mum might be fine with one but I wouldn't get one for my mother who is a similar age. The reason is the complexity and high costs if anything were to go wrong. Older REX cars in particular have known issues, the petrol engine needs to be run occasionally. Not sure if she is likely to carry passengers but 4 seats and those suicide doors can be an issue for some. If she wants an EV that can do 80miles plus, that is reliable and cheap to run, with a seating position that is easy to get in and out of I'd be looking at a Kia Soul or 30kWh Leaf.
 

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My mum is particularly keen on he higher seating position of the old MB A class, so the i3 is similar in a way that the Zoe or eGolf are not.
ZOE has a high driving position and I definitely find it easier to get into than the Model 3 I had. My 95 year old friend has no issues getting in and out, despite three hip replacements. (This is a real friend, not a made up elderly person as in @Bill N case 😉)
 

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Everyone is different and your mum might be fine with one but I wouldn't get one for my mother who is a similar age. The reason is the complexity and high costs if anything were to go wrong. Older REX cars in particular have known issues, the petrol engine needs to be run occasionally. Not sure if she is likely to carry passengers but 4 seats and those suicide doors can be an issue for some. If she wants an EV that can do 80miles plus, that is reliable and cheap to run, with a seating position that is easy to get in and out of I'd be looking at a Kia Soul or 30kWh Leaf.
The REx will do a maintenance cycle about once every two months. It tells you and you just confirm. It is as simple as that providing of course there is petrol in the tank. Usually lasts for about 10 minutes. If your journey ends before the end of the maintenance cycle, it will complete next time you use the car. You get an an amber warning if the battery is about 75% as the REx will not start until the battery is below 75%.

My own car is just waiting for the battery to drop below 75% at the moment.

Buying secondhand specific point to check is the condition of the front damper gaiters. Very prone to splits but OK once replaced with a more robust gaiter.

You sit high up. It will feel very close to the MB A Class as the A Class has double floor with space for a battery as MB considered making a BEV version of the A class.
 

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I think the i3 REx would be very suitable. It is a very easy car to drive. The steering is light, visibility is good and it has a terrific turning circle. There is even a Park Assist option which besides automatically parking the car (you just hold a button down) also adds front parking sensors (rear’s are standard) and a rear view camera. I would personally recommend the LED headlights as the standard Halogen lights are quite poor. As mentioned above getting in and out of the rear might be difficult for some elderly passengers. A word of warning - the i3 is pretty fast off the line so your mother should take a test drive. A REx variant version would be a good option but it was discontinued with the battery upgrade on post Nov 18 built cars. The few problems with the REx on the early 60ah battery cars sorted by BMW but it is best to buy from a BMW dealer or a specialist as they will know the service history and have checked know weaknesses. Actually you are best looking at a specialist because many BMW dealers are indifferent to the i3 and because they do not sell many do not have a great deal of product knowledge or maintenance knowledge. I would recommend you speak Arthur Kaminski at Wisely Automotive who is probably the biggest specialist used i3 dealer in the UK and only retails the best stock. Although based in London he sources and supplies i3’s throughout the UK including Scotland and Ireland. Ask for his stock list as he always has a number of i3’s in the pipeline - waiting for servicing, MoT’s, alloy refurbishment etc before being advertised. Wide choice of ages and specifications although most will have the desirable options. Contact [email protected] 020 8050 7500. To see his advertised stock Google Wisely Automotive and go to the Auto Trader site.
 

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The car manages state of charge automatically, and yes the fuel tank is very small but it's easily going to double the range of the 94Ah.
My i3s REx gets about 100-120 miles on battery and 50-70 on the REx. The standard non-S version should go a few more miles.

I rarely use the Range Extender. Mostly it only runs on the maintance cycle. I think I've put petrol in it once since the first fill up.

My guess is the maintance cycle will be the biggest issue. The battery has to be under 75% and the car needs about 15 minutes to complete the cycle.
 

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I think a Rex might end up being confusing with having to put petrol in and charge it up with two gauges to be on empty or full or anywhere between.

I'd definitely look at the old model Kia Soul EV as it's got the high driving position and it's got normal back doors. It's also got a 7 year warranty which is far better than BMW.

If there are contactless rapids where she often goes then it won't be as difficult as you think. App based probably would be a step too far if she doesn't have a smart phone or tablet.
 

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My Mum (86) loves our i3 BEV and is talking about getting one herself - currently a Fiesta driver. She has the same usage profile stated by the OP. Mostly local but reasonably often (pre lockdown anyway) drives her mates out somewhere for a lunch or visit which might mean 80 or more miles over the day. I'd have no worries about her doing that in our 94 BEV, although she may have to learn to drive a bit slower, so better still if she gets a 120. She'd be fine with putting it on charge at home - always has a fully charged golf trolley and lawnmower when she needs one. And I guess I'm just as "on call" to come to assist if it all goes a bit Pete Tong - the joy of owning a car trailer! I thought about the REX for us when we bought and am glad I didn't take on the extra investment/running costs/complications/potential reliability issues. We've very rarely had a range issue and have only use public charging a handful of times in two years - only 5k miles per annum however.
 

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I find it hard to recommend as the range extended i3 has its quirks and sometimes reliability issues too. I’ve been given feedback that they aren’t as easy as you may first think for getting in and out of either.

Yes the fuel tank is small, and if you use the range extender at the last minute on a motorway and are travelling at speed and using heating for example it may not be able to even keep up with the rate the battery is discharging at. Also no please dont suggest carrying a can of petrol in the frunk. In an accident that’s recipe for disaster.

If they are coming from an A class, would it not be worth considering a B250e? Body made by Mercedes in a similar style to the A class with similar driving position, and the electrical system is made by Tesla so a rather competent EV.

There is no rapid charging support, 11kW is the best you’ll get, and it’s a full EV with no engine/generator but using Range Plus mode I managed to exceed 100 miles range even at faster speeds. The car never gave me trouble the time I had it.

The only thing to learn would be to plug it in at home each night. It quickly becomes natural routine and sounds like it’s capable of their needs without the need to mess around with public chargers. Of course, nothing stopping you from paying £20 for peace of mind and throwing a CYC (or other suitable regional network) card in the glovebox for public charging should there ever be the need.

This is from someone who has a family member in their 70’s who has went from a W169 A-Class to the B250e. Minus a very slightly different radio system, they were immediately familiar with the car and how to use it, the size and shape felt easy to adapt to for things like parking, and while they couldn’t operate a charging app they are quite happy to use a RFID tag and plug in for a top up whenever stopping somewhere for a while.
 

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The almost perfect car for your mother.
Once she realises that the warning signs are not panic signs le it tells you to check your tyres, the maintenance cycle, bonnet or a door is not shut properly, she will love the car.
And the range extender is the icing on the cake.
 

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Also, is the seating position reasonably high and easy to get in and out of ?
Yes. Back seat may be an issue but it can be easier than some compact cars. There isn't a b-pillar which helps.

And are there any specific points to look out for in a young 2-3yo second hand example ?
Try and get one that has the facelift (LCI).

I'm not aware of any known issues on the LCI 94Ah cars. There was a recall to add a sticker to the EVSE but that is not a problem.
 

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I've had 2 i3s and 2 Zoes, the Zoe has a higher seating position, more MPV like, whilst you can adjust the i3 seat up, it feels unnatural, much more suited to a lower relaxed driving position. As others have stated, quite a wide door sill to step over and the door isn't as tall as the Zoe. Might be worth looking at a Zoe before taking the plunge!
 
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