Range-extended version of BMW's i3 gets EPA rating: 117 MPGe, 39 mpg with 72-mile EV range

2014 BMW i3 electric car
© 2014 BMW i3 electric car

BMW's i3 comes in two versions. So far, the 100% electric version has gotten most of the attention, but there's also a range-extended version (a concept similar to the Chevrolet Volt, where a small gasoline engine kicks in when the battery is depleted) called the BMW i3 REx. Deliveries in the US are scheduled for this week and the EPA numbers are finally out, letting us know just how efficient this little teutonic electron-fiend is...

And it's apparently quite good: 117 MPGe, 39 MPG when operating on gasoline alone, and 72 miles of range in EV mode.

The overall MPG-equivalent number puts it only behind the Chevrolet Spark EV (119 MPGe) and Honda Fit EV (118 MPGe). But what matters is also how many are sold. It would be nice if BMW ramped production of EVs up, with the goal of making a lot of purely electric versions of their best-sellers like the 3-Series and 5-Series along with dedicated plug-ins like the i3 and i8.

Here's the drivetrain without the range-extender:

And here it is with it (pretty space efficient, eh?):

Here's what the EPA sticker looks like:

Here's the electric-only version racing around a track:

And a first-drive impression:


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