Tips for new BMW i3 Drivers

I’m shortly starting my first Onto rental with a BMW i3, very excited and been going over the forums reading most posts and liked reading the new user post particularly.

Along those lines does anyone have any tips or info about the i3 a new driver would want to know or things they’d have liked to know before the start, please share!


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  1. Start off in Eco Pro mode. It’s got quite a lot of power and a very sensitive accelerator. Your first drive will not feel so smooth and you’ll find yourself speeding a few times if you’re not careful. Eco mode will reduce the power a bit and help you get used to it to start with.
  2. The i3 has very agressive regenerative braking as standard. You can’t disable it. Going back to the first point, get used to the accelerator. You’ll not use the brake pedal much at all, and will instead just make very minor adjustments to the single pedal to control your speed. Remember that simply lifting off will apply braking power.

The other tips aren’t i3 specific. But make sure you have all the apps you will need on your phone ahead of time. BMW have their own app, as well as Onto’s app. Zap Map and ABRP will also be handy for finding chargers and planning journeys. On the subject of chargers, make sure you try using them before you really need to so you can have some practice with it all. And when rapid charging always use the CCS Connection.

It’s not a difficult car to drive or live with really though. You’ll quickly learn as you go, but we will be here to offer advice and answer any questions you may have once the car is delivered. Enjoy!


You’ll love it!

  1. Use numbered buttons as shortcuts to almost whatever you want.
  2. Use voice control - it’s pretty good. Say ‘online search’ then the destination etc you want and it will search the internet instead of just the built in POI database.
  3. Front seats flip forward.
  4. Hidden 12V socket under dash.
  5. Brodit phone holder works well.
  6. Near enough max charging speed is maintained up to about 88% - best to leave the charger when you get above about 92%.
  7. Steering is very quick - keeps your wits about you on motorways.
  8. iDrive system has built in Spotify / Deezer.
  9. GOM is more accurate if you set your destination in the sat nav.
  10. Cup holders can be moved about
  11. Headlights are very (too?) bright. Expect to get flashed by other cars.
  12. For best efficiency, coast as often as possible by feathering accelerator pedal so power meter stays centred.
  13. ACC will cancel often in low sun. Be ready to catch the regen with accelerator.
  14. ACC won’t work often in the early morning due to condensation. Blast it with window heating for 10 mins.

100% agree on all of the above. While you get used to the regenerative braking use Eco Pro mode else you’ll feel like you’re a rally car driver.

Give yourself some time to get used to the ‘iDrive’ computer as well, especially if you’re not used to this from driving BMWs. It’s unique but once you get it, it’s brilliant.

Oh and push the button at the end of the indicator stalk to switch the ‘thing’ shown on the dash. Mine defaulted to Odometer, but it can do outside temperature, battery % (called Statement of Charge or SoC) Odo and I think time?

Most of all enjoy. We’ve fallen in love with our i3 and don’t want to give it back


Thanks guys. We have a 6 GT currently so know the BMW side of things but have only previous driven a model S, otherwise completely new to electric cars.


Best tip… Enjoy friends commenting on how weird it looks and thinking its a milk float…
Then taking them out just to give them whiplash when you accelerate :laughing:


Idrive has built in Deezer ?

I did have that with online entertainment in a previous i3 (£160/yr), but do you mean via phone ?

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If you have the key this is not an issue, but if you are only using the onto app, the car won’t power on and says hold key near dash if you try and power on/start with any open door - it took me a while to figure out what that was and as soon as I did and remembered to shut the doors I had zero app issues.

The other is related to the regen- which I loved, but because it’s so strong when it’s up and running, remember that like all EVs it isn’t available at full whack if the battery is at 100% or until the battery warms up a bit so you might really miss it if you set off like a rocket first thing (which it’s both fun and easy to forget!!) and find yourself needing to hit the anchors in a hurry!

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Yeah via phone - it went a little way to making up for the absence of CarPlay. I think it used the old app though which may have been discontinued now though so maybe you can’t do it anymore.

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