BMW i3 own vs rent & fed credit question

Discussion in 'i3' started by jaz, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. jaz

    jaz New Member

    I recently test drove an i3 and loved it. I live in a state where I'm only going to get the federal tax incentive, but I do qualify for a $10k corporate incentive if, and only if, I purchase a 2019 vehicle. I'm on the east coast, so charging stations are not as robust where I live. I'm curious of two things (I am considering a REX):
    1) Is it worth it to buy this car instead of leasing, even if I end up having to rent a car for work trips to the office about 6 times a year (the office is 150ish miles one way and often there is A LOT of stop and go traffic (an extra 45 minutes worth). There are no Level 2 chargers within walking distance to the office, but I could probably Uber/Lyft/take a bus to and from one if necessary and if the car could make it close enough), and
    2) it looks like people are getting a refund on the fed credit as long as they paid at least $7500 in income taxes for the year that they bought the car, correct? I'm seeing conflicting information on getting the credit in the different forums that discuss this. Some people seem to suggest that you have to owe in order to get the credit--that there is no hope for a refund if you've already paid the taxes you owe, say as income tax paid through your employer. Can anyone confirm how this works?
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Whether or not it makes sense to buy vs lease is above my pay grade. I've always bought, often used, and never looked back. With a REx, you'll never have to worry about a broken or occupied charger. For longer distances, gas is often cheaper than a commercial, fast DC charger.

    It is called a non-refundable tax credit. So let's look at some cases:
    1. Taxes owed: $5,000; Withholdings $4,000 -> the $7,500 wipes out the taxes owed to $0 but the $2,500 is not refundable from the credit. However, the withheld money, $4,000 is returned.
    2. Taxes owed: $10,000; Withholdings $4,000 -> the $7,500 reduces taxes owed to $2,500 so a $4,000 - $2,500 = $1,500 refund.
    3. Taxes owed: $10,000; Withholdings $2,000 -> the $7,500 reduces taxes owed to $2,500 so a $2,000 - $2,500 = $500 taxes owed.
    Bob Wilson
  3. jaz

    jaz New Member

    Thanks for your response, Bob. I think the biggest question that I have with driving the REx is (and I didn't ask it clearly in my initial post), when there is a lot of traffic, does the traffic drain the battery the same way that a gas engine runs out of gas? I don't see any chatter about that anywhere online, so I feel like this is something that I am supposed to know about an electric vehicle. I have seen people say things about the engine "recharging" itself while driving in certain this something that can happen in stop and go traffic, or does traffic just run the charge out faster and reduce the distance that the i3 can go on a charge?
  4. jaz

    jaz New Member

    (I also read that the fast, DC charger can cause the battery life of the i3 to run down faster, so I'm thinking that in situations where I drive to work, using the REx gas engine, or renting a car, would make more sense).
  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    The REx operates at 3-4 fixed rpms. In traffic, the control laws operate to sustain the battery SOC. This can in some cases shift for several minutes between different rpms. It keeps the SOC +/- 1-2%. But you are still an EV.

    Bob Wilson
  6. sipabit

    sipabit Member

    No, an EV does not use electricity at idle like an ICE car does. You're much better off in traffic in an EV than a gas car for sure. Correct, using a DC charger too regularly is not good for the health of the battery. I wouldn't recommend an EV if you don't plan to charge at home overnight. It's possible obviously to own and operate an EV w/o it, but it's quite a challenge and lifestyle change that most won't consider worth it. I suspect that you may not be considering charging at your place of residence. If that's the case and you insist on moving forward with the i3, definitely lease b/c you may find later that you don't like it and don't want to be stuck with a car you nolonger want. Buying used would let you get rid of the car sooner than a lease though, so that's another thing to consider.

    Generally, if you're not certain about an i3, it's probably not for you. The i3 isn't really an on-the-fence kinda car.

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