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2017 Bolt EV
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I stand by my position that it is not safe to have strong regen to the rear axle only that cannot be turned off or at least turned way down. That is not a safe design.
I wasn't commenting on the i3's regen setup, I was commenting on the part of the post where you said: "You think it's not safe to drive a fwd Bolt in L on slick roads?". It's my contention that there's little if any difference between driving in "L" vs "D" as long as you've mastered the ability to finely control acceleration and deceleration in "L" mode.

I think it's on me for not making that clearer, my apologies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I wasn't commenting on the i3's regen setup, I was commenting on the part of the post where you said: "You think it's not safe to drive a fwd Bolt in L on slick roads?". It's my contention that there's little if any difference between driving in "L" vs "D" as long as you've mastered the ability to finely control acceleration and deceleration in "L" mode.

I think it's on me for not making that clearer, my apologies.
Sorry, I might have been a little strong in my response.
I think there鈥檚 a big difference between braking with 4 wheels worth of traction (twice as much actually), and even more so with the front axle vs the rear. But I鈥檓 talking about marginal road conditions, and if I鈥檓 being honest, I鈥檓 probably talking about driving a little fast for conditions as well.


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So I've had my 2020 Bolt now for right about a week after trading in my 2015 i3. I thought I'd give my thoughts as to the comparison between the two so far.
sorry for off topic question, but I am looking for info about i3 OEM EVSE.

We know GM OEM EVSE (the 120 V) can be "hacked" and connected to 240 V and it will work fine, just the 2x the power.
Can the same be done to i3 EVSE?
 

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2023 EV plain vanilla. White, standard out of the box, no options possible without waiting a year
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My reference to 鈥渓ight braking鈥 probably should have been to 鈥渆ven braking to 4 wheels鈥. In the i3 there is no D mode. There is reasonably strong regen at all times. I had no issues getting accustomed to one pedal driving and rarely did I ever even use the brake pedal.

When you are driving down slick roads, sometimes something happens and you need a little more braking than what the regen provides. The problem is that in fairly slick conditions, by the time you can get your foot from the accelerator to the brake, it has already locked up the rear tires. That is not a safe design. And again, I鈥檓 talking about using the brake pedal to get braking pressure to the front axle as well.

You may have a misconception about how friction brakes are set up. When you press the brakes, the braking force (or to be precise the hydraulic pressure) is not applied evenly front and back. Generally speaking, most vehicles apply 70% or more of the force to the front brakes. A small part of this is due to the fact that most ICE cars carry more weight in the front, but the major reason is that as a car slows, the cg shifts forward (the harder the deceleration, the more it shifts forward) placing more of the vehicles weight on the front tires and drastically reducing the amount of weight on the rear tires. The change in weight has a similar effect on the amount traction that each axle has. Additionally, by utilizing brakes on both axles, you spread the work of braking over the traction of four tires, not just two.

It is not safe to drive with brakes that are 100% biased to the rear in slick conditions, which is in effect what the i3鈥檚 regen does.

Even decades ago when anti lock brakes first came out, they were rear only. The reason is that if the rears lock up, the car has a tendency to go sideways. If the fronts lock up, the car tends to go straight. One of those is generally a safer condition than the other.

This is why I generally just drove my truck when roads were icy. Occasionally I would unfortunately over estimate the quality of the roads.

Now I鈥檝e been driving since well before I hit my teens. I grew up on a farm and have operated motorized vehicles of all forms in an extremely wide variety of environments, from cars and trucks, to tractors, combines, tandem axle trucks, etc. I鈥檝e competed in organized motorcycle and atv races on dirt and pavement. I鈥檝e slid a motorcycle, with the rear brake locked and the front nearly so, through paved corners passing other riders (Supermoto). I鈥檓 fairly experienced in automotive design and repair. I鈥檝e rebuilt engines and restored cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even antique tractors. I鈥檝e replaced entire brake systems and dealt with setting up proportioning valves.

So I think I鈥檓 fairly well versed in the operation and design of brakes in most conditions, included operating separate brake systems on different axles, as well as things like turning brakes.

Combines have used hydrostatic transmissions since I was a small kid, and they in fact handle very similarly to one pedal driving in an ev, as do many lawnmowers. In fact they typically require an even gentler handling of deceleration.

So as I mentioned before, sometimes I over estimated road conditions. I鈥檝e done that, as a fairly experienced driver. Like many, my commute involves highway and rural roads with higher speeds. I鈥檝e found that the i3 wasn鈥檛 safe in some of those situations. I think it鈥檚 reasonable that other less experienced drivers could wind up in similar spots.

I stand by my position that it is not safe to have strong regen to the rear axle only that cannot be turned off or at least turned way down. That is not a safe design.

If my i3 still had a warranty and had the Bolt鈥檚 option of D (and maybe a little more range), I would probably still have it.


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Hmm, I prematurely ruined the brakes on my Audi a4 (using tiptronic instead of brakes); Ford c-max using L instead of brakes and my lovely 2019 volt regularly using regen instead of brake pedal. My 2023 bolt is due in a few weeks and I won't be using regen. Using the brake pedal, I presume, will give you the same regen recapture with a little more brake caliper, rotor and pad exercise?
 

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So I've had my 2020 Bolt now for right about a week after trading in my 2015 i3. I thought I'd give my thoughts as to the comparison between the two so far.

I'll start off with a couple very subjective areas. So this is just my opinion.
-Exterior styling: I know the i3 design can be polarizing, you like or you don't. I loved the design language of the i3, I think it looks like a weird electrified cross between a Mini Cooper and a Beetle. It looks different, it looks fun, and it is at least unique. The Bolt looks fine, but it kind of blends in. I think the best part of the refreshed 2022 Bolt model is the headlight design. The current Bolt headlights just look a little too cheap and economy-ish and lets the rest of the design down.

-Interior styling: I might love the interior of the i3 more than the exterior. It feels huge when you're in it, it's very airy, and while it is weird, it has a cool luxury Scandinavian thing going on.

Now for hopefully more objective areas...
-Range: No comparison, the Bolt is on a whole other level. My brain is still struggling to adapt to the bigger battery. As a side note, I try (at least when it's warm) to only charge my car at work where it's free. With the i3 that meant hitting it every afternoon for a couple hours or so. With the Bolt, I was mad yesterday that the charger was taken all day and I would have to charge it at home--until I realized I still had 140 miles of range. I could make it a few more days before charging. Now, all this being said, if I could choose between the Bolt's 260 miles of BEV range, or get at least 150 BEV miles plus have a REX as backup, I might almost choose the REX route, just because it means you always have the backup of quick fuel stops regardless of whether you can find a charger (or a working charger). I think even the current i3 only has 125 miles of range if equipped with a REX so it's a moot point for now. I went to great lengths with the i3 to only run on battery, to the point that every now and then the REX kicks on and says it has to run for 10 minutes for maintenance. In January I ran the REX purposely because the gas was from summer of 2019. I'm very happy however with my current 260 range compared to my previous 75 miles.
Also, the Bolt seems to be better about maintaining range at higher speeds.

-Interior room, front row: i3. I don't think it measures that much bigger there, but the design makes it feel so much bigger in the front.

-Interior room, back row: Bolt, hands down. i3 wasn't all that bad, but a little tight for adults, plus no middle seat.

-Trunk space: Bolt has so much more storage space, it's so nice.

-Interior materials: Not something I would normally think about that much between cars, but the difference is striking. The BMW feels very premium, the Chevy feels like an economy car. Honestly the Bolt interior is fine for me, but it's hard not to notice the difference.

-Infotainment: Gotta give this to the Bolt. My 2015 i3 had no car play or Android Auto. BMW navigation is good, but entering addresses is the worst. I did really like the iDrive controller though. I listen to a lot of different genres on satellite, and it's easy to shoot around through channels. Also it's easier to use with less concentration. The i3 also had the worst voice recognition, hands down, of any car I've ever owned.

-App: This modern world is great right? Where we have apps that can do so much stuff. The BMW app should win this category, the remote features are free without dealing with onstar, and the current info and stats are so much more detailed (and the details load faster, not sure why since my i3 only had a 4g modem). The problem however is that for the majority of the time I had the i3, the remote commands didn't work. The BMW app has incredibly low reviews in the app store, with nearly everyone pointing out non-working features. Last fall they finally got it working on Android most of the time, and maybe a month or so ago it started working again with iOS. The app if anything is more important on the i3 as well, because there is no other way to start the precondition process now. You can schedule a precondition from the car, if it's at least an hour in advance. There is no "remote start" on the fob however. BMW knew it didn't work for at least a couple years and didn't seem to care. This is an important feature to this car and there is no excuse. So the Bolt runs away with this category.

-Driver assistance: Kind of a push. They offer for the most part different things. I really miss adaptive cruise, although it didn't work if you were driving toward a low sun in the sky or if you had a really dirty windshield (understandable). The parking sensors and radar on the i3 were nice. 360 camers on Bolt are probably better but I have an LT so I don't have that, and had I known the Bolt didn't have comparable sensors to the i3, I might've sprung for the premiere. Not something I ever thought I needed but awfully easy to get used to. Lane keeper on Bolt is nice although it seems a little sketchy. My i3 would also completely parallel park itself, hands free. I never actually used it other than to try it once, but I bet that would be good for some people. If the i3 offers the Traffic Jam Assistant in the US now (not sure, it was Europe only for my year), the i3 would win this category. If you're not familiar, TJA is basically like a lower end autopilot. It centers itself in lanes but needs a car in front of you to base speeds off of. And I think it only works at like 45mph or less. It can be hacked into earlier US i3's, there are some cool videos of it on youtube.

-Performance: Bolt is quicker and corners better. Noticeably so. Interstate on ramps are so much more fun in the Bolt.

-Suspension/ride: i3 handles bumps better, but I would take the trade-off with the Bolt to get the better cornering.

-Comfort: i3 seats are better. Before I bought the i3, I drove a then brand new, first-year Bolt. Those seats were awful. I'm glad to see they're much better in my 2020. But still not as good as the i3 seats. Seat heaters are also stronger in the i3. I'm not sure why anyone would use anything other than the highest setting in the Bolt. On the i3, when the highest setting first cycles on, it's almost too warm.
If you're in the back seats, the Bolt is more comfortable. i3 doesn't have heated rear seats (neither does my Bolt, but it's at least an option).

-Regen: Bolt is so much better. i3 will come to a stop if you are going up an incline or on perfectly flat ground. It won't if you're going downhill. The only adjustment is switching between the eco modes, which means you have to make other changes besides regen that you might not want. And you can't turn it off in the i3, which I'll come back to later. I love the fact that with the Bolt, I can use L and the paddle to get the amount I want. I might have used the brake pedal a couple times so far in the Bolt.

Now there are two things that I feel are potential deal breakers for the i3 and are both major reasons I traded.
-Turning off regen: You should be able to do this. You think it's not safe to drive a fwd Bolt in L on slick roads? Try a rwd i3. Let off the gas, car wants to go sideways before you can get to the brake pedal to lightly apply braking to all four wheels. There's a reason brake systems are biased 80/20. Rear-only braking is dangerous. So to me, the i3 is not a cold climate car, unless you only drive slowly in town and have really good snow tires. You can turn regen down, by going into ecopro+ mode, but that mode shuts off the hvac system to save power--not great when it's cold enough for there to be icy roads. The computer can turn off regen through traction control. If you hit a bump while decelerating, the regen shuts off (which sometimes sneaks up on you over small bumps when you suddenly lose regen), and when traction control kicks in it shuts off. So the software can clearly shut it off, but there's no way for the driver to? This to me is irresponsible at the least and at the worst it seriously endangers their customers.

-Cost of repairs: Insane on the i3. 12v battery die? Since it's a BMW you need a new one that's vin coded, for several hundred dollars. You'll need a dealer involved if you don't want cel's or other issues. I had a light come on that said there was a problem with the restraint systems. Turns out some airbag harness's internal resistance failed. That was around $2k by the time it was all said and done. Seems like a common issue on i3 forums. Or if you really want to fear your mechanic, google "i3 ac compressor failure". Apparently when the ac compressors go, there's no particulate trap, so they blow metal chunks into the cooling lines, including the ones in the battery, requiring replacement of the lines. One guy was quoted $22k to fix it. Here's the thing, the i3 is a cool design, a carbon fiber reinforced plastic body on an aluminum frame that should be able to outlast most cars even in salty northern environments. The problem is, maintenance costs will likely eventually exceed the car's value long before a steel bodied car ever really begins to rust. i3 forums are filled with people who had issues that not only require expensive BMW parts, but involve major labor because of the car's design. So, long story short, don't own an i3 out of warranty. If you lease cars, maybe it's no big deal, but I can't see keeping one for the long haul.

So long story short, the i3 has some definite upsides, but the last two issues kill it for me. There's some stuff that's so great, but then some design decisions that make no sense from any point of view. In the Bolt there are things I don't like, but generally I understand why GM made the choices it did, even if I don't agree (like the lack of adaptive cruise). I'm glad I have my Bolt. To configure a brand new i3 comparably to my Bolt, it would cost twice as much. But I think the Bolt offers much more as a car.
Wow, thank you!. I ordered a new bolt but was hesitant to take it until I read your post.I too have a bmw i3 and am torn about letting it go. I love the thought that went into the i3 and quirkiness. I have always owned European cars and the Bolt seems vanilla compared to them.
The repair cost of a BMW is staggering. I had to replace the12 volt battery which shorted out other components in the car for a total bill of $2200.00. Being newly retired, I just do not want to be faced with that again.

So I just called my dealer and am heading there today to give them the i3. Fingers crossed I enjoy the Bolt as much as the Bmw. Thank you again..
 

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Wow, thank you!. I ordered a new bolt but was hesitant to take it until I read your post.I too have a bmw i3 and am torn about letting it go. I love the thought that went into the i3 and quirkiness. I have always owned European cars and the Bolt seems vanilla compared to them.
The repair cost of a BMW is staggering. I had to replace the12 volt battery which shorted out other components in the car for a total bill of $2200.00. Being newly retired, I just do not want to be faced with that again.

So I just called my dealer and am heading there today to give them the i3. Fingers crossed I enjoy the Bolt as much as the Bmw. Thank you again..
You'll love the Bolt.

This is from late 2016, when the Bolt first came out. Now it's even better in some respects, and cheaper too.
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