Author Topic: BMWi3 & Used EV's  (Read 515 times)


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 223
    • This Frugal Father
BMWi3 & Used EV's
« on: October 13, 2023, 07:05:16 AM »
Hi All,
I am no gearhead, I want a car to last w/minimal maintenance.  We have 2 cars, both paid off, 2013 Nissan Quest (family car) w/90k miles, 2004 Manual Toyota Corolla w/181k miles.  Both have been good to us so far w/regular maintenance.  We have a soon to be 15 year old, 13 year old and 10 year old, so a new car will be in our future whether it be to replace my Corolla or for a driving teenager at some point.  Most of my mileage is w/in 20 miles, so I've looked at used Nissan Leaf's before, but I know older cars and battery degradation causes issues.  I don't need a 300 mile range, but would like something that still gives at least 100 miles on the charge so w/future degradation we don't have issues.  We will keep all the cars, so long family drives we use the van or my corolla for solo distance trips.  We would probably need an electrical panel upgrade for a dedicated 240v outlet for level 2 charging at home.  I've seen 2014 BMW i3's with and w/o range extenders for around 10k or so, and while I wouldn't be opposed to a newer EV like a Kia, I would like to keep costs minimal, so open to something around $25k if it's fully electric and we think we can get 15 more years out of it, or something around $10k if we can use it for mostly local for at least 10 years.  Minimal thrills and maintenance is preferred as I cringe even when I need to drop off the car for annual inspection, and if the Corolla does die, I don't want to be caught scrambling to get another car.  I'm just starting to learn more about EV's, and I like the idea of minimal driving and charging, especially if I can get away w/o having a level 2 charger for a while.  Anyone have any recommendations on a reliable, used EV, or new one that won't break the bank?  Bonus question, is buying a car on Facebook marketplace a bad idea?  I think you can see people who may be scammmers who have 10 cars for sale, but for the single owner is it a bad idea to shop around there?  Should I just go through a dealership instead?  I've never bought a car other than from a dealership, so Facebook or from an individual owner makes me nervous (especially b/c I don't know jack about cars).  Thanks!!!


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7526
Re: BMWi3 & Used EV's
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2023, 07:39:44 AM »
My SO bought a new Bolt EUV for ~$23k after tax credit and she absolutely loves it. 


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 596
Re: BMWi3 & Used EV's
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2023, 08:08:15 AM »
Nissan LEAF 2018 and later have at least 150 mile range and can be had for as little as $15K depending on model year and mileage. If most of your trips are under 20 miles, you could probably get by charging on a regular 120V outlet at home.


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2851
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: BMWi3 & Used EV's
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2023, 05:18:58 AM »
How much is a Toyota Corolla hybrid or a Prius where you are?

I'm not sure if a BMW i3 is a great choice for a new driver given their higher propensity to damage it and the carbon fibre bodywork/frame likely being expensive to repair.

What are Chevy Volts like? If you are mostly doing short (<20 mile) trips you'd be able to do most of your driving on the electric bit.


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7435
Re: BMWi3 & Used EV's
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2023, 10:52:40 AM »
If most of your trips are under 20 miles, you could probably get by charging on a regular 120V outlet at home.

I have an ~16 mile round trip commute with an EV and have been doing well with a "travel charger" plugged into a regular 120V outlet in the garage.

From doing longer drives that dip the battery further down, I know I tend to pick up 40-70 miles of range charging overnight (4-5 miles of range per hour, 10-15 hours charging="overnight").

Paper Chaser

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1874
Re: BMWi3 & Used EV's
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2023, 06:15:29 AM »
The i3 has some strong supporters, but it's a small volume vehicle that shares very little with any other mainstream vehicles so parts supply will probably be pretty tight now and will likely just get worse as the years go on. Carbon body structure, oddball tire sizes, and BMW parts pricing would all concern me a bit too for somebody with a planned ownership measured in decades.

A gen2 Chevy Volt (2016-2019) would give you up to 53 miles of all-electric range, with the backup ICE for fringe cases/emergencies. It shares a platform with the Chevy Cruze and Equinox which were made in abundance so things like suspension components, brake parts, etc will be readily available from any parts store or Chevy dealer in small town wherever. Being a PHEV, you'd only need to install a 240V outlet if you really need to charge quickly at home and wanted to do as many EV miles as possible. For daily use, charging in a standard 120v outlet overnight would probably replenish your range just fine.

$10k is about the bottom of the market, but I'm seeing a handful of them with 80-125k miles in that range in a quick internet search. $20k-25k would get you options with under 20k miles:
« Last Edit: October 16, 2023, 06:18:11 AM by Paper Chaser »


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
  • Location: NE Arkansas
Re: BMWi3 & Used EV's
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2023, 08:29:06 AM »
I used to have a LEAF, but then it didn't satisfy my driving needs for a ~monthly cross-state drive so I bought a Volt. I don't have to make that drive anymore, and I miss the LEAF! I keep perusing the local used car ads for them. The Gen 1 Volt has a 35-40 mile electric range, which covers >90% of our driving needs, and we use our Prius for longer highway trips because it has more interior room, higher fuel economy, bigger fuel tank, and doesn't recommend premium gas! (Chevy recommends premium for Gen 1 and regular octane gas for the Gen 2 Volt).

In your case, I would look at the newest LEAF you want to afford or any Chevy Bolt. Don't bother with a PHEV if you already have a reliable car (or two!) for long trips. Skip the i3. Without the range extender it has similar capabilities to a Leaf, but was less popular and will have fewer used parts available. OEM parts are probably more expensive.

A regular 120V plug is fine to charge, especially if you have other cars in the household to use while the battery is low. If you do want Level 2, it does not have to be a massive 50A plug! A modest 20A 240V outlet can charge a car fast enough (12 miles per hour of charging), and the parts plus equipment are CHEAP. You can find charging stations brand new on Amazon for less than $100 by searching for "16A EVSE". You can also share an electric dryer outlet with the car.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2023, 03:30:28 PM by SweatingInAR »


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1601
Re: BMWi3 & Used EV's
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2023, 08:42:24 AM »
I have a 2022 Leaf + (62kwh version) that I have had for about 1. 5 years. I have a 15-20 work commute and use it for weekend stuff around town. SO has an ICE Rav4 that we use for long distances.

Maintenance has been essentially zero (1 $20 tire rotation).

I tried to initially get by with Level 1 charging and it was, for me, not worth the hassle. The install of a 14-50 240v outlet was not that expensive in my situation and I got a 30% tax credit on the cost (not sure if that is still included in the latest iteration of the EV credit laws).