Drive-Thru Interview: Erica and her BMW i3

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Contributing Author: Vehicle Nanny

People connect with their cars on different levels. For many, their car is a means to get from Point A to Point B with little or no fanfare.  For others, an emotional bond is created between person and machine.  This bond can be made because of a fond memory associated with the car, or maybe it is the style, color, or even the tone of the exhaust that got their heart pumping.

I am always curious about what causes people to connect with their cars, especially when it might be a quirky or unique vehicle.  Weekend car shows are a great way to learn what makes people tick with their cars, but that is not always practical, safe, or timely.  

If you think about a fast-food drive-thru, lots can be shared during the brief interaction.  That’s why I developed the Drive-Thru Interview as a means to learn more about a car owner’s experience in a quick and easy-going way.  It is also a very handy method when the car owner lives three time zones away, like this month’s Drive-Thru Enthusiast, Erica.

Approaching the Drive-Thru Window

Name:  Erica Sietsma

Age:  41

Current Residence:   Phoenix, AZ

Occupation:  Executive at a software company in retail automotive

Current Fun/Unique Car:   2017 BMW i3

Erica Shares Her Story

What was it about the i3 that caught your attention?

ES:  Back in February 2020, I fell for the Tesla Model 3 and was going to be taking delivery on March 27th.  Then COVID-19 hit.  I decided it probably wasn’t the best time to add a second car payment at $500+/month. Plus, our company serves retail automotive dealerships and I was feeling somewhat guilty at getting a Tesla.

I stopped looking at a second car, but then I received an email from my electric utilities company about the savings with an electric car and I was back on the electric bandwagon looking at options besides Tesla. I had seen the i3 on the road and on websites, but knew it is expensive and doesn’t seem like a good value (compared to the Tesla, especially) and seems tiny – I needed to put a car seat so myself or my mom (granny nanny) could help shuttle around my son. But then, two coworkers got CPO (certified pre-owned) i3s in a span of a few weeks as BMW was having unreal deals back in April/May 2020 and I got the opportunity to test drive and ensure the car seat fit and see the cute mini sunroof in real life! 

I was hooked – it was so fun to drive and bigger than it looked from the outside!  Within hours, I had searched online and found 3 CPO versions in California (I live in AZ) that had the sunroof and I chose a bright blue 2017 CPO i3 (my son’s favorite color) from Sterling BMW in Newport Beach.  We did everything virtually and/or via FEDEX/notary and our baby blue got delivered a week later! We are obsessed and it’s always a competition as to who gets to drive our fun zippy bright blue Beemer!

How do you use the i3? Is it your weekend fun car, or a daily commuter?

ES: Daily commuter – I only live 6 miles from work so it’s a great back/forth vehicle and for weekend errands. It’s like a clown car – you can fit WAY MORE than you think!

What modifications have you made (or plan to make) to your car?

ES:  I got the high-speed charger! SO. WORTH. IT.  Costco was having a deal on the JuiceBox EV Charger and, of course, my house had to be completely rewired (had to pull cable through the attic from the other side of the house) – but couldn’t be happier! Love it!

Are there any other fun or unique cars in your past?

ES:  My first car was a 1986 Thunderbird Elan and it had a keypad on the driver’s side door so I felt so cool that I could lock my keys in the car!  Unfortunately, based on the way the numbers were worn out, one of my guy friends was able to figure out the code and took it on a joyride without my knowledge!  

Are there any dream cars you would love to get? 

ES:  A 612 Scaglietti! Probably will never get that though – so more practical, when my lease on my main car (a 3 row Buick Enclave that I LOVE and the Vehicle Nanny helped me get) is up – I want an electric SUV! There aren’t a ton out there right now, but in 2022 there will be a lot more options and I can’t wait! Once you go electric – it’s hard to go back! Hmmm – maybe there will be an all-electric Enclave?!

Leaving the Drive-Thru

Erica’s passion for her electric BMW i3 is clear, which made this a fun exchange in the Drive-Thru.  It is always great to hear from owners who view their car as something more than just a tool.  This personal connection brings many rewards to car ownership.  Be sure to find something in your next car purchase that makes you happy and proud to own that car.

The Vehicle Nanny is actually Bill Taylor, a 34 year veteran of the automotive industry. Bill spent 32 years at General Motors in a variety of sales, service, and marketing leadership positions. After retiring from GM, Bill spent two years at Digital Air Strike supporting their growth in new segments. He then created, where he places a focus on nurturing the automotive interests of young car enthusiasts.

Learn more about Bill and his current activities at