In 2014, when the BMW i3 first went on sale with it’s unique tire dimensions, the Blizzak LM-500 was the only winter tire available. Then, by the end of the year, Nokian announced their all-new winter tire designed specifically for the BMW i3.
BMW i3 Blizzak Winter Tires
155/70R19 Blizzak Winter Tires (available from TireRack) and Rial Wheels (see BMW i3 Aftermarket Wheels) are what Tom Moloughney put on his BMW i3 to prep it for winter in Northern New Jersey. Unfortunately, Blizzak only makes them in the 19″ version which is why Tom also needed aftermarket 19″ rims instead of just using the stock 20″ alloys that came with the i3.
Compared to the stock 20″ sport wheels and Ecopia EP500s that weigh 36.2 lbs, the Rial wheel and Bridgestone Blizzak LM-500 tire combo is 39.2 lbs per corner. source
BMW i3 Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 Winter Tires
The Nokian winter tire is a good option for a BMW i3 if you are interested in maintaining similar efficiency to the stock Ecopia tires. The Hakkapeliitta R2 is the world’s first winter tire with an “A” energy rating, with a 30% lower rolling resistance. source
The Nokian’s have been reviewed as perhaps being the better winter tire, just with slightly faster wear due to the softer rubber compound. However, they can also be harder to find. Check out the Nokian website for your nearest dealer
Nokian Tyres currently offers 2 options for the BMW i3:
Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3
155/70 R 19 88 Q XL
Nokian WR D4
155/70 R 19 88 Q XL
source: Nokian Website
Winter Tire Cautions
When having winter tires installed, make sure the shop keeps the front and rear wheels in their correct spots (in the front and the rear). One i3 owner had Nokia winter tires installed on a 2015 i3 Rex Giga, and winter specifications are for 155 width tires on the front and the rear (while the rear summer tire width is actually 175), so the shop wasn’t paying attention. Since the rear wheels have a larger offset, when installed on the front of the BMW i3, the tires actaully rub against the front coil springs. Read about the mishap here on the My BMW i3 Forum
Tire Snow Chains for BMW i3
Another option for winter driving is snow chains. Due to the unique wheel sizes, tire chains for the BMW i3 can be difficult to find.
In the UK, some are available from RoofBox
BMW i3 Winter Driving Review
BMWBlog video review of what it’s like driving the BMW i3 during winter