Despite the discontinuation of the BMW i3 in 2022, the electric vehicle (EV) continues to enjoy popularity in the secondhand market. However, a recent revelation has shed light on the potentially daunting costs lurking behind the allure of these eco-friendly cars. One i3 owner was left reeling after receiving a jaw-dropping quote of $71,208 (RM339,163) for a new battery pack for their 2015 i3 REx. This amount not only exceeded the car’s initial value but also surpassed that of a brand-new BMW i5 eDrive40.
While EV battery replacements are known to come with hefty price tags, this particular figure appears especially exorbitant, even by BMW standards. Similar estimates for battery replacements have typically hovered around the $16,000 (RM76,208) mark, making the quoted amount all the more shocking.
Following the posting of this astronomical quote on Reddit, other i3 owners shared their eye-watering estimates, with one individual facing a bill of $30,000 (RM142,890). The inconsistency in quotes for the same job has raised eyebrows within the EV community.
Speculation has arisen among Reddit users, suggesting that dealers may intentionally present customers with outrageously high quotes to dissuade them from proceeding with repairs, potentially steering them towards purchasing a new vehicle instead. While no concrete evidence supports this theory, it has prompted i3 owners and drivers of older EVs to explore aftermarket solutions.
The BMW i3’s battery pack comprises eight cells, and even the malfunction of one can result in substantial costs for the owner. Seeking out specialised experts for repairs could offer significant cost savings for i3 and other older EV owners. Individual battery modules typically range from $3,000 (RM14,289) to $3,500 (RM16,670), indicating that repairs may be feasible at a fraction of the quoted $71,208 (RM339,163) figure. However, such exorbitant repair bills only add to the perception of EVs as disposable commodities.
It’s crucial to recognise that the issue of high repair costs extends beyond the BMW i3. A study by Recurrent found that replacing batteries in a Volkswagen e-Golf could cost up to $21,000 (RM100,023). Similarly, the owner of a hydrogen-powered Hyundai iX35 faced a staggering $113,500 (RM540,600) bill when the fuel cell encountered problems. These instances underscore the financial challenges associated with maintaining older EVs in today’s market.