How to Best Charge your BMW i3

BMW USA is looking out after its own and since they sold quite a lot of i3s they are not offering free counseling online to the owners, to help them out. After all, the i3 is a new breed of automobile on the auto scene and people need to learn how to use it.
BMW i3 Charging guide 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from Youtube
Therefore, they published a couple of new videos that should make people more familiar with the way an i car works. The most interesting one if you ask us is dedicated to charging your car as a lot of people still have issues learning how the whole process happens.

You have to start with the basics and understand that there are various voltages used to charge the car. In the US most wall sockets have 110-120 volts compared to Europe, for example, where the voltage is usually double.

Therefore, if you have a higher voltage, the charging process will take a lot less time. As the BMW i Genius explains in the video below, there are several ways to charge your i3 but you can basically reduce them to 3 big categories: there’s Level 2 Charging from a home or public station, Level 1 charging using the occasional use cable and DC charging.

Depending on what you choose to go for you could either use a regular wall socket or a special, BMW i Wall charging station. If you go for the second option, your charging time will be drastically reduced to around 3 and a half hours.

That’s because it raises the voltage to 240 Volts, no matter where you live. If you’re going to use a Level 1 charger, the time it takes to fully charge the battery is around 20 hours.

If you charge your car at home, you can actually program the charging to take place at the most convenient hours, as most suppliers apply different rates for electricity at night.

Of course, when you’re on the go, the car can be charged at various charging stations around town using the car’s navigation system that will also show you if they are available or currently in use.

This kind of charging can be done via the Charge Now platform, using a dedicate ChargeNow card. They are complimentary from BMW and payment is done with a singly online statement for all accounts.

When it comes to DC Fast Charging, the car can be charged up to 85% of the battery capacity in around 30 minutes.

The charging process per-say

Now that we told you how the charging can be done, let’s take a look at the process itself. In order to charge your i3 you have to first open the charging port located on the rear right side of the car, just like the fuel cap on conventional models.

Just press on it with the car stationary and unlocked and it will pop out. After that just remove the charging port cap and you’ll notice two sockets. The top one is for level 2 or 1 charging while the lower one is for DC charging only.

Then you just connect the correct port to your socket, depending on what power source you’re using. Don’t worry you can’t get then mixed up as they use different charging ports.

The white light around the socket will turn yellow at first, indicating that the charge is initializing and then it will turn blue showing that the car is actually charging. If the light flashes red, there is a problem with the charging process and you should consult your owner’s manual. When the car is fully charged, the light will turn green. That’s when you’ll remove the plug if the car is unlocked. As long as it is locked, removing it is impossible.

That’s about it. For a more detailed look, check out the video below.

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