The i3 was given a mid-life refresh late last year, and deliveries to Australia are just kicking in. This morning I was invited to kick the tyres of a literally fresh off the boat i3s.
Thanks to Murray at Col Crawford BMW in Brookvale for the invite – if you’re interested in pricing up an i3s, shoot him an email!
As expected, outside it’s more of the same from BMW. The more aggressive stance with wider wheel arches and tyres is noticeable, along with the facelifted front which definitely more modern than the outgoing model.
The i3s is around $1,500 more than the base i3 (starting at around $65k before any taxes and on-roads, expect to pay north of $75k once you start factoring in options and taxes). The i3 is definitely priced at a big premium to other EVs of a similar size such as the Renault Zoe, and probably the Nissan Leaf later this year.
However, as we’ll get into in a future post, we think this will still be less than a Tesla Model 3 – and regardless, they are a couple of years away from being widely available in Australia.
The extra cost for the i3s is a pretty decent deal for additional performance, firmer handling and tweaked looks. This i3s is optioned only with the protonic blue seatbelts. The grey interior is the (no cost) loft spec.
The range displayed on the vehicle was 205km, at just under fully charged and not in Eco Pro mode, and with no driving on the car for it’s computer to calibrate itself yet.
With my experience of the 2015 i3, I’d guess you’d be looking at a real world range of around 220km on the 2018 i3s.
When it comes to charging, I saw my first Type 2 (Mennekes) charging connector port on an EV outside of a Tesla in Australia (I am sure there are others out there, this was just my first). Older i3 models are specced with a type 1 (J1772) port. There’s also a CCS DC fast charging port too.
The type 2 plus CCS combo reflects the most up-to-date view on charging standards in Australia, and means that (in theory) I think the 2018 i3 could practically use Tesla’s Destination Charger type 2 network, but that much of the Chargepoint network that’s already in the wild in Stockland, Westfield and at other locations would need an adapter.
The 2018 i3 (at least for now) is then supplied with an EVSE from Australian supplier EVSE.com.au, which looks like it’s this model, which is a bit different to my existing BMW branded wall charging unit.
As far as I’m aware, this is the first (or at least, one of the first) 2018 i3s in Australia. All the other footage of the i3s I have seen so far has been from one of the fleet of Melbourne Red and Black models at the media days in Portugal.
Given this car is already allocated to a customer (whoever you are, nice choice!) I couldn’t take it for a drive to compare to my 2015 i3, but I can’t imagine it will be a radical difference – more of an incremental improvement on an already fun and agile city car.