2014 BMW i3 Hill hold

5 Things You Might Not Know About Your BMW i3

Saturday 28th June 2014

You’ve just picked up your brand new 2014 BMW i3 and everything is wonderful. It’s all so new and exciting and there’s so much to learn about your new EV. I’ve had mine for almost two months now and I am still finding new aspects of the car that I didn’t know about at the beginning. I’ve put together a list of five things that you might not have realised about your BMW i3 yet…

2014 BMW i3 Hill hold

5 – Hill Hold – This works superbly well, I mean really, superbly well. Hill Hold is the means by which the car holds itself on a hill (upwards only, of course, you will need to use the brake if you are pointing down a hill) or on the flat. You do not need to put your foot on the brake for all but the very steepest hills – it has its limits. It is just brilliant. As you look ahead and see that you are going to have to stop, use the regenerative braking to pull up to the white line, which can be done ever so precisely in the BMW i3, remove your foot from the accelerator and sit and wait for the lights to change. But, do be mindful of always being prepared to use the brake if need be. Ah, if only everything in life were so simple!

2014 BMW i3 Power level controls

2014 BMW i3 Power level setting4 – Charge Rate – The charge rate on the BMW i3 is preset at delivery to the default ‘Reduced’ rate. If you think it is taking ages to charge up your new BMW i3 then check the Charge Rate Settings.

Go to Menu – Settings – Charging, scroll to the bottom of the Charging Screen where you will see AC Charging Power. Below is the Level 1 and Level 2 settings. You can change the Level 1 to be Max (16A), Reduced (12A) or Low (8A) and the Level 2 to be Max (30A) or Reduced (20A). [Currently guessing about those numbers based on a total lack of info from BMW…] Do, however, check your power supply before changing from the default setting.

2014 BMW i3 US charging socket

3 – Rubber Protective Charge Port Covers – The rubber protective covers on the J1772 port can be easily removed to save time. It turns out, as far as I can see, that they do not serve any purpose. The door flap would appear to be totally waterproof and I have proven this by directing the hosepipe, with the water turned on, at the charge port door. Their only purpose, that is apparent to me, is to slow me up when needing to charge. Therefore, just unclip and store in a safe place until you return the car. The car needs to be returned with all accessories that it arrived with.

2014 BMW i3 front seat headrest

2 – Front Seats – With the front doors and the rear doors open you can get into the rear of the car by sliding in. The people in the front seats do not have to get out but they do need to remove their seat belts! But, should you need a little extra space then the front seats do in fact tilt forwards. This is done using the lever found in the back of the headrest on the front seats, lift the lever and tilt the seat forward. Place the seat back to its original position once the passenger is safely in the rear of the vehicle. Note: The rear doors cannot be opened once the front doors are closed – child proof.

2014 BMW i3 navigation palm rest

1 – Palm Rest – How kind of BMW to give us a padded palm rest for the times when we are using the iDrive system. My palm and wrist graciously thank BMW. Although I currently haven’t used it as I keep forgetting that it is there!


And there is a number 6 (from my sidekick) – sort of… How to defeat the charge cable lock – should you think you need to.

2014 BMW i3 US charging socket showing locking clipPress the release button on the J-Plug whilst locking the doors – the little locking plate above the J-Plug wants to come out, but it won’t until you release the button on the J-plug. Slowly ease the button up whilst tilting the J-plug out and back… wait for it… the moment the catch starts to move, press the button down again quickly to block the catch coming out! The catch will stop automatically, thinking it’s out far enough but it’s not! With a bit of practice you too can defeat it every time leaving the cable unlocked for the next person to use.


Is there  anything that you think that BMW might have missed from the Manual?


Update: And a 7th curtesy of Eric Velasco in the comments. Sure enough, directly above the net on the centre console, there’s an unmarked 12v outlet, shown here with the cover removed:

BMW i3 aditional 12v port


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  • Eric Velasco

    The 12v adapter plug under the car radio above the front net in between the two front seats.

    • philternent

      Thanks. Hadn’t spotted that! Better for using tomtom on iPhone when BMW satnav can’t find address.

    • johnbl

      THANKS .. missed that one..have you found the “12 V auxiliary power outlet” in the trunk space next to the light on the passenger side of the car.nnI can only think they installed these extra outlets to facilitate use of the tire Inflator.

  • CDspeed

    People should also remember that the frunk isn’t really a trunk as it isn’t sealed, and it can get water in it when it rains. It does have drain holes but your travel charger isn’t completely safe in there because of exposure. BMW does make whats called the “board case”, its a water resistant bag that is designed specifically for the i3’s frunk.

    • Electra Girl

      Yes, this is true, I talked about this in one of my blogs. However, I haven’t seen any water in my ‘froot’ yet.

      • CDspeed

        I’m sure it’s not a big issue, but it could get humid in there so we should keep an eye on anything that is stored in it. Most i3 owners will be storing their travel charger under the hood, so we’ll probably want to check it for corrosion. I live along the Gulf of Mexico so I’m getting the board case, I always like to improve on anything that can be affected by the weather.

        • Electra Girl

          We have the bag and only store the charger in there.

          • CDspeed

            I think it’ll make a great space for hiding gifts until you can sneak them into the house. : )

  • no-aids

    new guy here, don’t know or care about most here. the charge port cover isn’t slowing me down but it is needed, the door is not waterproof. anyhow I have two major complaints so far. n1. how do you get out of the back seat if there is no front seat passenger to let you out ? Rear door can not be opened. Major issue as we have 2 kids who gets out at different places and both under 8 so none can sit up front. BMW’s rear hinged door idea is not bad, but they should have just dropped the 2 rear doors and create one real rear door on the right side of the car. Rear hinged or not but one that can be opened from the inside without opening the front door. nn2. Handling. This little Bulldog (got the nickname in the first 5 minutes) handles like a pig. Steering is too light and way over boosted, to fast ratio. The car therefore drives like a mad pig on the road. Leans on the corners and every little correction makes it jerk around. I did not expect M3 level of handling but this is absurd. I checked the tire pressure and found it to be 36 which looking at the tire and moving the car was too low. I set it to 40 and its a small improvement but the ride got even worse then it was. It rides hard and stiff, but its still leans and feels unsettled on the road. I admit our roads here aren’t exactly smooth but my other daily driver an E36 M3 convertible still rides better. nThe tall and skinny tires are most likely partially blamed but that is done so it looks “hot with a deuce under it” never mind that they are probably only 4 or 5″ wide wheels. nA set of 18’s with something more substantial width could improve handling and not cause too much friction. I’m thinking a 205/65/18 tire would make more sense then the 175/55/20 does. nnBesides these the Bulldog is a great little car. Generator is louder then I’d like it but its a 2 cyl so we can not expect a Chevy Volt 4 cyl quietness and smoothness. The GM Volt/Ampera is a great idea and great technology executed horribly. nSo far so good though and love it except the rear door design.

    • johnbl

      Like your Bulldog analogy..can appreciate your rear door critique especially with the kids..I saw online a prototype of a larger version with regular rear doors ..that looked great.nnI know the driving issue you raised but found as I got more experience with the car I managed the handling better. I keep the pressure on my tires set at 33 psi front and 41 psi rears as recommended in manual.nnI side swiped a Bott’s dot coming off a highway and blow out the front passenger tire. I can only think that the pressure was too high. I know the dealer set them at 35 or so cause that was the pressure of the replacement.

  • Telveer

    Is there a way for i3 drivers to disable the cable lock? Leaf owners can set it to not lock, lock till charged, or lock all the time. We have shared charging at work and there is this i3 that starts charging early in the and is done within 30 minutes but others have to wait till the owner eventually gets around to unlocking the cable.

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