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BMW i3 Electric Vehicle Gets Optional Range-Extending Gasoline Engine

BMW i3 Electric Vehicle Gets Optional Range-Extending Gasoline Engine

By Jeff Youngs, August 04, 2013
BMW knows that electric vehicle (EV) buyers suffer range anxiety, the concern that their battery will die before they reach their destination, even if the automaker's internal research shows that the average person drives about 30 miles per day. Therefore, in addition to providing a pure electric driving range of 80-125 miles, depending on conditions, topography, and whether the driver is employing the ECO PRO driving mode, the new BMW i3 can be equipped with an optional range-extending gasoline engine that serves as a backup generator should an i3's owner require it.

This concept is similar to what is employed in the Cadillac ELR and Chevrolet Volt. However, the BMW i3's range-extending engine is much smaller than the Cadillac's and the Chevy's, a 650cc 2-cylinder that makes 34 horsepower and has a 2.4-gallon fuel tank. The BMW's range-extending gasoline engine serves solely as a backup generator, able to double the i3's range to 160-250 miles, depending on where and how the car is driven. Theoretically, this means a BMW i3 could be driven from Los Angeles to New York without recharging the battery.

When the BMW i3 goes on sale in the second quarter of 2014, the range-extended gasoline engine option will cost $3,850 and add 330 pounds to the car's curb weight.

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