State of Charge Gauge Missing On BMW i3: BMW Says You Won’t Need One

As any electric car driver will tell you, the most useful gauge on an electric car’s dashboard — aside from perhaps the speedometer — is the one which displays the car’s state of charge (SOC). We’re not talking about a basic, segmented bar graph representing with terrible resolution an approximate representation of how much charge is remaining, or a digital display detailing how many miles are left before you’ll need to plug in.  We’re talking an honest-to-goodness gauge showing the remaining charge as a percentage — and it’s one of the most commonly requested features drivers ask automakers to include in any new EV.

There's no SOC gauge on the 2013 BMW i3... at least for now.

There’s no SOC gauge on the 2013 BMW i3… at least for now.

The most useless gauge on an electric car’s dashboard? That’ll be the aforementioned ‘miles till empty’ display, commonly refereed to by many EV drivers as the ‘guessometer’ due to their notorious inaccuracy and ability to dupe first-time EV drivers into thinking their cars can travel further than they really can.

So why has BMW, maker of one of the most eagerly anticipated electric cars on the market, decided to include a guessometer and not an SOC gauge, despite a long-and extensive multi-year test-fleet of electric cars which did include an SOC gauge that owners raved about?

BMW says the new BMW i3 has such accurate range prediction features that a traditional SOC gauge isn’t needed, but that’s a big mistake, say some of BMW’s biggest electric car supporters.

That’s according to BMW ActiveE ‘electronaut’ and long-time EV advocate Tom Moloughney, who confirmed on his blog that the highly-anticipated car won’t include an SOC gauge.  At least, U.S. versions of the car won’t, and those European cars which include a state of charge display will have it displayed on a hidden screen on the centre console.

“During the MINI-E and ActiveE trials the participants like myself were very clear that we liked the state of charge display,” Moloughney told us earlier today. “I personally conveyed this to the program managers and engineers on a few occasions myself. It will be disappointing if there is no state of charge gauge on the production i3.”

Sexy urban chic -- and good at maths, apparently.

Sexy urban chic — and good at maths, apparently.

As well as providing a really accurate representation of the true amount of energy remaining in an electric car’s battery pack,  SOC gauges are far easier to read on the road than a constantly changing ‘guessometer’. That’s because guessometers traditionally use historic energy consumption data to predict future range, and do not take into account changes in road conditions, traffic or how full the car is and can actually rise and fall during a single trip. An SOC gauge meanwhile, only does one thing: it counts down remaining power until the battery pack is empty or the car is plugged in to charge.

This isn’t the first time an automaker has made the error not to include an SOC gauge. When the Nissan LEAF launched back in 2010, it chose to give the LEAF a twelve-segment bar-graph to represent the remaining charge in the car’s battery pack, alongside a numerical representation of estimated remaining range. However, after consistent complaints from owners over the inaccuracy of this setup, Nissan introduced a user-selectable SOC gauge as a standard-fit item for all 2013 Nissan LEAFs and newer.

Moloughney says the ‘obvious critical error’ could have easily been avoided by BMW,  and explained that at a recent private event at the LA Auto Show for existing ActiveE drivers, BMW executives were given a hard time by those there for not including an SOC gauge as standard.

“BMW tried their best to explain that the i3’s range predictor will be so accurate that a proper state of charge gauge isn’t needed,” he said. “That didn’t sit well with the ActiveE drivers and the protest continued until the manages said their hear our displeasure and promise to revisit this.”

While the U.S. version of the BMW i3 will likely not ship with an SOC gauge however, Moloughney said that European versions of the i3 REX — the range-extended version if the i3 which will allow owners to manually switch the car’s tiny 660cc range-extending engine on and off to ‘save’ the battery pack’s charge for zero-emissions city driving — will have a hidden SOC display, accessible from the car’s main multifunction iDrive menu system. The U.S. version of the i3 and i3 REX however — which will not allow owners to switch on the range extending engine as desired in order to comply with tough Californian emissions regulations — will not.

BMW won't be including an SOC gauge in U.S. cars -- and only on European REX models.

BMW won’t be including an SOC gauge in U.S. cars — and only on European REX models.

Moloughney remains hopeful that BMW will hold true to its promise to revisit the inclusion of a SOC gauge in the future, either as a software update for existing i3 owners or a feature in the next generation of the car. Even though he’s visibly disappointed however, Moloughney says he’ll still likely buy an i3.

“Will this prevent me from buying an i3? No. Will it make the driving experience much worse? Probably not,” he says. “What bothers me more than anything else is this is something the MINI-E and ActiveE were overwhelmingly in favor of and I don’t know how BMW missed it. The point of the MINI-E and ActiveE trials were to find out things like this so the i3 and future BMW electrics would be the best they could be. I hate to really harp on this so much but I’m really disappointed this was somehow overlooked.”

Do you agree? Would this put you off buying an i3, or do you think it’s a tiny omission letting down what is otherwise a great car? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • Dennis Pascual

    I was at the private Electronaut event at the LA Auto Show and was fairly vocal (along with my compatriots) on the need to keep the SOC. Though they claim that the algorithm is very good at predicting using past driver behavior, elevation, driving mode (Comfort, Eco Pro, and Eco Pro+) that the guessometer is very accurate. I spoke up and pointed out that one of the critical things that the guessometer does not take into account is multiple EV driver families and the differences that our driving styles have on range.nnAs often as I am the driver of a particular vehicle, my wife and I share our vehicles and she drives differently than I do. I use the SOC to calculate for myself whether my aggressive driving style will need to be adjusted during my commute.nnnThe fix would’ve been simple, put the SOC back in and that should fix it. The BMW executives were somewhat dismissive at the event and to placate the crowd had mentioned that they will discuss perhaps putting the screen back on. The East Coast Electronaut contingent will have their chance to drive the i3 in about a week and hopefully their voices will echo what the West Coast contingent (plus Tom) had harped on at the LA Auto Show event.nnnA suggestion that I wrote about in my blog was that BMW could also use the keys to determine which driver is using the vehicle. The Guessometer should log my driving style for MY keys and log my wifeu2019s driving style for HER key. Just a thought.

    • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

      You forget 2 important things: i3 comes with 2 different keys, so it will know whos driving (it even remember the rear view mirror adjustments for the 2 keys). The other thing that makes it less vulnerable to different driving styles is the light weight (1195 kg), and very effecient recuperation. This is together making a much less difference in consumption between different driving styles.

      • Dennis Pascual

        Ole I expect the car to remember such things for the keys. I drive the Active E on a daily basis (or at least I did, until recently when I got my Model S and find myself swapping back and forth) and it does not seem to remember the driver’s driving style on THAT vehicle. I was making the comment that it should remember range guesstimates based on the key for that same reason. If the i3 already does this, then great, if it doesn’t then it should.nnnOn the Active E the only thing that really changes are the mirrors and the presets. (seats are manual.)

  • CDspeed

    Hopefully this can be cured by a software update if BMW fails to correct this before the US launch.

    • vdiv

      It remains to be seen how aggressive BMW will be with software updates that add/change the features of the i3 especially after the launch.nnI would not count on it.nnMaybe the 2015 model…

      • CDspeed

        Being a BMW owner I’ve had software updates on my car, it’s usually done while in for service at the dealership.

        • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

          I3 is always online – and BMW intends to do such updates online with it. You’ll most probably be prompted to accept update in the phone app…

          • Andyj

            If the car cpu is always online, there will be a constant drain like we see the tesla suffers with…. not good

      • danwat1234

        If they do it like Chevy does software updates with the Volt, it doesn’t happen. Previous years don’t get software features that newer Volts have 🙁

      • Dennis Pascual

        Being an Active E driver… I can tell you that they’ve done a lot of patches to the software. The most irritiating one has been to lower the charge rate… then lower it again. the car used to charge at 7.2kw/hour… closer to 5.0kw/hour now.

        • George B

          I’m charging at 4.96 kW while I write this.

  • danwat1234

    It really should be an optional mode in the screen, why not include it? Give people options BMW

    • Dennis Pascual

      On the Active E, the screen is hidden in the menus. I program it as a preset on position six for easy access.

      • George B

        Ha, I have it on position four 🙂

  • Michael Thwaite

    BMW are convinced are they? So, they know ahead of time that I’m going to change my route home from backroads to highway, or turn up the heat or put my foot down, really? Absolutely sure about this guys?nnn…Better make sure that the tow companies are on standby, it’s going to be busy for them.

    • Dennis Pascual

      Michael, Jacob’s answer during the session was that the guessometer adjusts to those changing conditions… Still an incomplete answer because the range may have been enough as you start your drive, but it will be later when you realize that you need to go looking for a place to plug into.

    • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

      As soon as you enter another road, it will recalculate range, yes (based on the topography on that road/speed limit onwards). If you adjust the temperature in the cabin, it will instantly show the + or – value in the range itself. So yes, it is very accurate, and takes everything possible into consideration. It is always online, so it knows expected weather and traffic conditions even before the trip starts 😉

      • Michael Thwaite

        Well, if it knows all of that, and it’s accurate it would be impressive. That’s all the influencing factors that I can think of right now. However, (you knew that was coming right 🙂 I still want an SoC display as, I find it a useful quick check when I get in and, I think that, when placed front and center on the dash it becomes a year-round health meter that reveals how battery life twists and changes throughout the year, something that new drivers have to learn.nnFord dropt the SoC meter on the Focus in release 1.0 and I found myself very lost – no frame of reference for each day’s driving, for example, I can tell how cold it is by the SoC reading on my car as I arrive at work.nnFord finally added the SoC % into the MyFordJab system in the center screen in the current software version 3.6.2.

        • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

          You do have a SoC at hand “when you get in” – it is on your Smart phone 😉 Yes, the same smart phone that you’ll be using to activate pre-condition of the car those 5-10 minutes before you “smile away”. It’s nice heh – to always have that SoC at hand… New ways of thinking, with this i3 (a lot of new ways, actually)

  • SoC (State of Charge): is a “current status” u2026 like the time displayed on a watch; not displayed are the hours till you will fall asleep.nn”Miles to Empty” (Guessometer): a forecast u2026 modeled on assumption on driving style, weather, route, terrain, & traffic conditions. Like a weather forecast, may have high accuracy for short-term, but not much better than a guess in the long-range. Most models, including a guessometer have a bias toward initial conditions, ie: yesterday’s weather and driving conditions vs current reality.nnGauges on the dashboard need to be real time indicators of current vehicle state to ensure optimal user experience. Any performance-based calculations should only be displayed on secondary displays (as an optional screen on the dashboard, or on a secondary telemetric/navigational screen).

  • Tommolog

    Neither the SOC or the GOM are perfect. The more info the better in my opinion which is why I wrote the post. I would really like to have a wh/mi gauge too but hey, I know I can’t have everything. BMW obviously wants to do the right thing, hopefully a little prodding will help influence the final result.

    • Dennis Pascual

      What is frustrating is the fact that they’ve “studied” the behavior of EV drivers for almost five years and they’ve come up with a decision like this. As I indicated below, I have mine as preset six on my Active E and George has shared his is on four. For a screen that was already pretty well hidden in the Active E and for a driver to dedicate a specific button for it shows how important that function is for the driver.

      • Tommolog

        Mine is also on preset number 6 Dennis!

    • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

      The i3 has a Wh/mi indicator as a part of the driving computer (displayed in the main instrument cluster). It has even both instant and average (since last reset) for this. It EVEN shows the charge factor in kWh/100mi on the instant one, when you lift off the pedal so the magnificient recuperation gets into service. The latter might be even one more factor for throwing out the GOM, because the recuperation is seriously much better on this car (in steep downhills, you can actually see the miles earning in to the bank). So I think BMW is right on doing it like this, there is a graphical indication on that graph, and that’s more than enough. I have driven a long trip trial with it, and the indicator was very accurate at all times (2013 Leaf isn’t even close in its guessed range – while you apparently can trust the one in i3). The values in the display can be toggled with the outer button on the turn signal lever, and are shown in kWh/100mi or kWh/100km 🙂

      • Tommolog

        That is very good to hear Ole. I didn’t see the instant Wh/mi screen while I was driving but I’m very happy to hear you say it’s there. I’ll be driving one again next week so I’ll make sure to look for it.nnI do want to be clear I am a big fan of the i3. I love the driving experience and am overall very pleased with how the car has come out. I’m just very picky with this and was very surprised to see it wasn’t included on one of the iDrive screens

        • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

          Yes, it is an absolutely fantastic car – no doubt about it (I’ll get mine in Feb/Mar here in Norway). The avarage value for kWh/100mi is however also included in the iDrive screen under “Vehicle Info”. The average since last manual reset is found under “Onboard Info”, and the one for “current trip” can be found under “Trip Computer” (or Journey Computer as it is called in some areas). The last one is automatically reset when the car has been idle for more than 4 hours, so you can basically always see the average consumption for current day/trip in it without having to remember manual reset. Both these info screens can be assigned to one of the 8 buttons, either as full screen, or as split screen, so you can have them shown at all times. BTW, (without current access to verify it), I think the charge is indicated in % on the 3D screen for ECO-operation (the one where you can see the charging/discharge flow “animated” into, or out from the battery). This view can also be put out as a split screen. BTW#2: I’m quite sure the phone App (i3 Remote), always shows the charge state in % – and that will even work, while driving the car (not that you should use the phone while driving of course – but you could mount your phone in a holder 🙂

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            I can confirm that the phone app is having SOC, updated at all times. So basically, what you have been looking for, is already in your pocket – go figure 😉 (I also had a hard time to get that point sorted, actually. Wasn’t using the app on my test of the car)…

      • Andyj

        The fact your mileage goes up and down with hills (just like the Leaf does) denies all you have said about the car taking topology into account.

        • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

          I’m not sure you understand me very well, Andyj. What I was trying to explain is that the high level of recuperation is making a SoC less interesting, because the driver will have more difficulties to do the range calculations himself. The topography data (that you claim is not existing on BMW’s servers) will always be taken into account (even before recuperation), and all these things working together, will therefore result in a very accurate range meter (yes, most places have mobile networks these days, and i3 roams any of them).

          • Andyj

            I understand you perfectly.your belief (as you admit) does not constitute facts.

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            Well well, my 30 hours (3 charging cycles) with one of the test veichles here in Norway, proved that the range meter is very accurate at any point of time throughout the cycle (guessometer is something I think Leaf-owners should keep for their own language). I have driven Leaf on several occasions, and I know how “good” that GOM is 😉 It’s not really comparable at all with the i3 !

          • Andyj

            In your attempt to praise the car you allude to severe shortcomings. Range is not a fixed calculation. Game over.

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            I’m not trying to praise anything – but I understand that you need to do some calculations (you should try the one concerning “how much can I get if I sell the Leaf” 😉

          • Andyj

            I suggest we watch this weeks transport evolved (#175). How much can i get if i resold a 3yr old i3? Myself, i do not swap cars after a couple of years. My choice was purely financial at nissans fire sale. Same reason to discount the i3. Here in the uk, you can forget fast charging. 7kw is your lot on a type-2

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            Just hang on, the fast chargers will show up, as soon as the gas stations owners see where it’s all heading. But selling the i3 after 3 years won’t happen for me – I’ll keep it for the rest of my life 😉 (if I had a T-Ford, I would keep that as well 😉

          • Andyj

            The fast chargers will not show up for the i3. Here in the UK, the fast chargers are all twin plug. 22KW type-2 on one side and 80KW Chademo on the other. DBT is now owned by Nissan. The Mennekes frankenplug denies fitting to existing type-2 only cars so you will be confined to 22KW at best.. A quarter what the Leaf can accept.nnnWorse still, the i3’s DC frankenplug is another COST OPTION. Last time I chose a car and added what I required to a French van like car, it ended up at stupid money so I walked away. That was 5 years ago and u00a32K more than I paid for my Leaf this year!nnnWhat is more scary for you will be the MKII Leaf offering larger battery packs if required and obviously more refined data handling. Not to mention a better price.nnnA few gave the i3’s internal panels a tap with their fingers and remarked how thin and cheap it feels. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is a better material for the boot than used in the Leaf. One guy I read remarked some of the surfaces resemble the same for washing up bowls.nnnAs I say, hubris brings a fall.

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            I think I’ll end my discussion with you here, Andyj. There is no point to continue with this. You’ve got your favourite Leaf, and I will get a car that I really want… Bye

          • Andyj

            The Leaf is not my favourite.nYou’ll be surrounded by Teslas with free 120KW charging for life! That alone would save you the price difference over a decade against the slow charging i3.nAll the best though.

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            You should read this: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/08/14/eu-chooses-sides-in-dc-fast-charge-standards-fight/nnPS! All the existing 50kW-chargers here in Norway (81 stations, 129 charge points) are now being upgraded to SAE Combo (most of these are CHAdeMO only, today). This is not as hard as it might seem, because the 50 kW charger is already there, so one extra output is all that it takes. All planned chargers (currently 41 stations) will however be both standards from now on + a 22 kW Type 2 (for Tesla rescue ;). Tesla has built 6 superchargers in Norway http://www.teslamotors.com/no_NO/supercharger – they are all outside of the big cities, and TM has not yet flagged that any more stations will be established.nnJust to be clear, a car based on SAE Combo fast charge is just as good, or better than the alternatives, when it comes to the situations where you actually need a fast charger (i.e. long distance trips). For normal use, you’ll always be fine with night charging at home. Tesla is also thinking the same way, and that’s why they are placing the SC’s far away from the city cores for inter-city support. And Tesla drivers here, are now seeing this as a problem, because the home point is still charging very slowly when you need to charge that TMS fast inside the city, where you normally are located)…

          • Andyj

            Telsa rescue = BMW rapid! Rapid chargers are when people want to travel any distance. Of course they do not serve as destination chargers! Sae frankenplugs are notcanbus and only similar to the i3 rapid plug which is cost option orphan. A serious step backwards and extremely easy to implement.

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            What I refer to as “Tesla Rescue” is the AC 22 kW (Mode 3, Type 2). This is also compatible with the upper part of the SAE Combo, so it can be used as “Semi-rapid” AC-charge for the i3 (although this option is mainly meant for faster home charging @230V/1x32A). BUT, (and here is what I think you’ve missed), the SAE Combo is also having a DC interface (on the lower part) which can take 50 kW from DC fast chargers (with the same power rate as CHAdeMO). These chargers are the ones that will be used as “Fast chargers” everywhere, because they are feasible in size/cost as opposed to the massive SC’s for Tesla). This 50 kW DC-charge can pump the BMW i3 (or VW eUP or many other “100 milers” to come) from 0 to 80% in 20-30 minutes. The AC 22 kW will take around 1 hour and 9 minutes for an 80 miles “fill-up” on the Tesla S (80 miles is 80% of 100 miles). So if you can’t charge a Tesla with one of the few proprietary Superchargers, you’ll have to go for the AC 22 kW-option in most cases. This together with the fact that Tesla S is consuming almost double the amount of kWh/miles (with its extra 1000 kilograms of weight(!)), you’ll end up with a very annoying situation, unless you have direct access to a supercharger, that seem to be installed between cities (and not in them). EPA consumption figures tells us that 16 Amps charge speed is 14 km per hour for Tesla, compared to 27 km per hour for i3/eUP)… A fully charged Tesla is of course unbeatable in range, but very few have considered how to keep it fully charged….!

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            …BTW, I don’t see that buying an i3 without either AC or DC fast-charging options, as being an alternative. This is a must for 90% of the buyers. But BMW leaves you with the option to not add it in, and that might be good for those who will use it strictly for commuting purposes, (or have 16 amps in both ends). I understand that some people see this as an expense, rather than the option of not adding it – but compared to other alternatives, I don’t consider i3 as an overpriced car. With all its technology, it’s rather surprisingly cheap.

          • Andyj

            Sadly the SAe “Combo” is not the Mennekes “Combo”. The former is a lame extension to the (J1772) type-1 and will negate anyone fitted with such a thing using the most common EU type-2’s.nnhttp://www.mennekes.de/uploads/RTEmagicC_ea655cf3c1_01.jpg.jpgnnhttp://insideevs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/SAE-Combo.jpgnnnAs you see, the SAe is a step backwards and destroys compatibility to every other car made, including standard socketed i3’s. Stupid with knobs on.nnThe combo’s are 100KW max – same as the Chademo. Talk about reinventing the wheel but exclude the driveshaft! It does not have the same quality of communication protocols as Chademo so a pack as small as a car is not in fact, suitable without the fine grained control the Chademo offers.nnThe Tesla is a sports tourer . The i3 with it’s CdA of 0.69 is for towns only. Horses for courses. Both are great cars and add to the human experience set. My mum would choose me the i3 because she can get in and out much easier. My girlfriend wants to go everywhere. I simply don’t want you to buy the car and feel deflated afterwards when expectations were only a snapshot.nnAnother Tesla point. Add cash and they hand the owner a huge array of plugs, sockets and fittings so you can fit anything.. even Chademo.

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            Andyj, you need to read up a bit – you mostly presented wrong information on your last post, and that’s not good for other readers. The “Mennekes plug” was adopted by SAE for fast AC-charging – that same socket is called “TYPE 2”, today. For AC charging only, it is, (as I have tried to tell you before), the upper part of the SAE Combo car socket (aka. CCS – Combined Charging System) – this means that ALL cars with SAE Combo, can use the Type 2 socket (with own cable) or charging guns, for fast AC charging. It operates on “Mode 3” charging protocol, which communicate with ALL cars that can use charging Mode 3 – and gives the car the choice of the maximum charge mode that’s available from the car/chargers perspective. Basically all EV’s these days can use this interface (even Tesla with own “Type 2 to Tesla cable”), and there are nothing with regards to AC-charging that this socket can’t provide (depending on the charger itself). nnThe lower part is the one for fast DC – that’s where the 0-80% in 20-30 minutes comes in, for the normal range cars (100 mi). Tesla might come up with a socketry that can use the charge-guns (CHAdeMO/CCS are never sockets because of the high current) for using the 50 kW DC-chargers, but so far they are only able to connect to the Type 2 “AC 22 or 43 kW” socket that is (or will be) normally provided on the 50 kW chargers. I understand that UK is mostly set up with CHAdeMO for DC rapid-charging (that’s the situation here in Norway too), but as long as the 50 kW DC-charger is in place, it is very easy to upgrade it with CCS cable/guns. And that will happen, because most of the EV cars will be having SAE CCS from now on in Europe. You can’t change that, because EU and the car manufacturers have already decided that this will be the standard from now on (phasing out new CHAdeMO-only, from 2017/18).nnTesla chose to go their own way with Superchargers, and that’s very understandable, because they’re way out of scale in general. You can not use the term “rapid charge” on a Model S with a 50 kW DC-charger. There are two main reasons for this: 1) it has a battery pack that is up to 4 times bigger than the normal range cars (100 mi) so you can multiply that 0-80% time with 4, (since 1 kWh is always 1 kWh), and Tesla needs 4 times of it in order to get filled up. 2) the extra weight gives the TMS an extra (and often overlooked) handicap with almost twice the consumption (kWh/mi) – so no matter how slow you’re bound to charge it, you’ll end up using it faster as well (ai ai). So they need enormous “Super chargers” in order to do a real Rapid charge for the TMS. These installations are requiring a lot of space, and the grid power it requires (3-phase, 400V/175A for 120 kW) isn’t even available in most locations – in other words: they won’t be many. nnnSo for many people, it’s more practical to have a smaller battery, higher charge speed and many charge stations – compared to a slowly charged, and (in many ways) oversized, battery and very few charge stations. There is a reason for BMW to end up with 100 miles of range in a very light construction – they could have gone for something else, if it would have been more logical – but when it comes to charge speed and rapid charging, it isn’t. nnnPS! I don’t know where you’ve got your i3 data from, but its drag coefficient is 0.29 (Leaf is 0.28).

          • Andyj

            CD is the drag & CDA is the same multiplied by the area. BMW quote 0.69nThere is no such thing as an upgrade when there is no improvement.nWhy don’t you actually study what I showed you? The sae frankenplug is backward cimpatible with nothing and forward compatible with a minority car.

          • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

            OK – this is it………… You’ll get no more attention from me – GOOD BYE

  • George B

    Thank you for reporting on this, Nikki. Hopefully it will help raise awareness. nnThe SOC meter is not perfect, much like the guessometer is not perfect either. It’s just another tool in the toolbox. There is really no reason not to provide it. nnNissan has added this indicator to the LEAF because of the overwhelming show of support at a meeting between the engineering team and early adopters at Google in December 2011. This particular meeting included several seasoned EV drivers and two Plug In America founders. nnAlthough I personally thought that an SOC meter did not go far enough, and Nissan should consider an estimated kWh capacity display, this simple tool has proven itself in the real world. Nissan’s Chief Vehicle Engineer even went as far as personally thanking us for highlighting this issue.nnBMW i product managers and engineers would be well advised to listen to this suggestion. The SOC meter does work, and many drivers choose to rely on it. It’s not an anachronism, which should be unceremoniously disposed of. At least not yet.

  • Svenning Bju00f8rke

    I have driven electric car for 12 years in Norway and my opinion is that BMW have made the right desission. If SOC is used: The driver has to do judgements and calculations based on SOC. After the first part of the trip the driver know if the consumption is more or less then average, and this will be compared to wind, temperatur, trafficspeed and so on. The anchor for these judgements are the SOC. BUT – if BMW provides a good ‘guessometer’, this will be an even better anchor. When you have learned to know it, then you can adjust more easily because more variables have already been taken into acount. AND most of the time, the guessometer will be fairly accurate. Tests so far confirms this. I think it is important to adept to one anchor and let your brain adjust to this.

  • Andyj

    I’d always took my Leaf’s GOM as a pretty accurate countdown as the present rate of use against remaining SOC and distance covered. It kinda says “At this rate of use with your present SOC your overall distance should be..”.nnHowever, most of my trips are from home and back so the rates of change could be calculated appropriately with a clinometer in the car.nnFor instance, I leave my village to go to town; it’s 3.5 miles and a 350′ drop. When I’m in town I’ve got more miles on the clock than when I begun with but those big gains are decimated to a realistic number by the time I’ve climbed back home.nnThe trouble is, how does the car know if I’m coming home on the same charge? We need a suitably enhanced navigation unit (with terrain) and pre-inform what the journey is. No car made has this important feature of mile counting.nnnnThe BMW is no different than any EV in this regard so please, fan-boys of all sorts take note.

    • Ole Bju00f8rn Hammer

      “No car made has this important feature of mile counting” Well, much of the i3 calculations are in fact handled by BMW’s servers, and the car is in constant contact with these (always online). Topography is indeed one of the parameters that’s taken into consideration among many others. So the range calculation will always be very accurate, yes – and when it comes to getting home, you shouldn’t worry, because i3 have an option to set your home address (or main charging station). No matter what you do, it will warn you about going to far without being able to get back home in comfort mode (that means you’ll always be able to get home, not least if the ECO-programs are being used). You can read more (on p29-30) in the white paper, which can be found here: http://star-motoring.com/getmedia/5464b1e7-2ca1-4954-b339-5905bfd14742/The_BMW__i3_EN.aspx

      • Andyj

        The BMW simply cannot use “a server” to prejudge future consumption to where you may turn next. n”The BMW i3 can be optionally equipped with a navigation system functionality has been extended to include the BMW ConnectedDrive services” This means ‘please send more money this way’.. I will not pay when it’s already free for the Leaf! Plus free apps and a website that a topo calculator. Do we really need to pay. If your cell-phone signal is poor – game over, again.nnAdmittedly you need a pc for the navigation. Do it on the ‘net. Let it suggest where to charge etc. and transfer it to the car. It’s never exactly well executed because they do not own or control the data – charging posts et al. Neither will BMW.nnPlease avoid Hubris here. Each new car leap frogs the last anyway. My experience of BMW’s is not very good. (Bring My Wonga).

  • Paul Churchley

    I have had a Nissan Leaf for 2.5 years and always felt that I would be significantly better off with a SOC display. I was pleased to see it appear on the Mk2 Leaf and I am hoping (perhaps in vain!) that Nissan issue a firmware update to add it to the Mk1.nnnAs to the BMW i3… I have always thought it wierd that the range estimate was used at all on the Leaf as it was. This is a car. OK, an electric car, but it is still just a car and for cars have a petrol guage. We are used to seeing a guage that tells us how much petrol we have and although some cars now also offer a range estimate we generally don’t use it as the main indicator of fuel remaining.nnnWhy should an EV be any different? We should have a SOC indicator, either as a % number or as a guage. That is all we have ever had on petrol/diesel cars and we are used to using them.nnnI am not saying we shouldn’t also have a range estimate, along with the inevitable inaccuracies, but SOC is the only real way to know how much power you have remaining. Anything else is just a guess and the driver is always going to be more accurate at estimating that than any car IMO.nnnAs an experienced EV driver I think the BMW decision not to put SOC in the i3 a huge mistake.

  • Andyj

    I really do not get it. Once again are everyone in denial that even the lowly leaf has an SOC meter. Just plug in a canbus obd2 with blutooth and hey presto, there are free apps to read SOC.nAbsolutely nothing has been read yet about the beemer that the leaf is missing already. Apart from horrible aerodynamics.

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  • aatheus

    As yet another Leaf driver, I must echo the disappointment that BMW removed the % State of Charge display from the US model. I have seen how 2013 Leaf drivers (who have % State of Charge, in addition to Distance to Empty) are willing to push their cars closer to their actual range limit. Knowing that you have 5% of usable capacity left is an absolute, underived number that doesn’t go up and down like the Distance to Empty number does. I definitely do not want to see the Distance to Empty display go away; just do what the Active E did. Put it in a different screen! More data for drivers who want it, less data for drivers who don’t.

  • greggpot

    Just got an upgrade to my i3’s software (July 2015). SOC is right there now as one of the many data options on upper left of main dash when you click the little button on end of turn signal indicator. Time, Outside Temp, Total Miles Driven, Avg Efficiency Rating, SOC, etc…