2017 BMW i3 REx: drive assessment of range-extended electrical automobile


When the historical past of recent electrical vehicles is written, the BMW i3
will doubtless go down as one thing of an anomaly.

Its carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic physique shell, aluminum
underpinnings, and battery-electric powertrain with an elective
vary extender are a mix not provided by another
maker, now or maybe ever.

We spent 4 days and 316 miles with a brand new 2017 BMW i3 REx
mannequin this previous August, and have been mulling over our
impressions of the automobile ever since.

BMW i3 REx: proprietor’s three years with range-extended electrical

Our check 2017 BMW i3 got here with the elective REx range-extended
two-cylinder engine, and the physique panels carried a putting
Protonic Blue paint colour.

For the final mannequin 12 months, the
2017 BMW i3 REx acquired a variety improve from 72 to 97 miles,
attributable to a battery pack that grew in capability from 22
kilowatt-hours to 33 kwh.

(The battery-electric model with out the vary extender noticed a
vary improve from 81 miles to 114 miles, as a result of it is lighter
with out an engine, generator, and gasoline tank.)

NOTE: Whereas our automobile was the identical Protonic
Blue colour as proven in these pictures by reader and BMW i3 proprietor
Chris Neff, they really present his automobile. We determined to make use of his
pictures as a result of they’re extra compelling, taken in quite a lot of
parks and chicken sanctuaries he visits as a part of his job with
the New Jersey Audobon conservation group. We thank Chris for
letting us use his pictures.

2017 BMW i3 REx range-extended electrical automobile [photo: Chris
Enlarge Photograph

Our impressions of the automobile had been a mixture of issues we remembered
from our 2014 check and a few adjustments, of which there have been
fairly just a few, most of them comparatively invisible from the

The i3 remains to be each distinctive and polarizing in form; it is
a tall hatchback with two lengthy entrance doorways, two shorter rear
doorways that may solely be opened if the entrance is opened first, and
no central help pillar (as a result of power of its physique

The inside, as earlier than, is each comfy and calming, with
a large cabin, an expansive sprint with elective open-pore wooden
trim, and controls largely centered round its pair of digital
shows, one behind the wheel and the opposite standing pleased with
the sprint middle.

Chevy Bolt EV reviewed by BMW i3 driver: electrical vehicles
in contrast

On the street, the steering really feel is heavier, which makes the
complete automobile really feel considerably extra substantial.

We additionally felt the sound of the vary extender was higher
suppressed. It retained its motorboat-engine thrum from below
the cargo deck, however appeared much less loud than the comparable unit
in our 2014 check automobile.

The BMW i3 stays one of the energy-efficient automobiles on
the market.

2017 BMW i3 REx range-extended electrical automobile [photo: Chris
Enlarge Photograph

Over the 540 miles indicated on the automobile’s journey pc (which
we hadn’t reset on taking on the automobile), the automobile delivered four.1
miles per kilowatt-hour of battery power.

That is roughly the identical utilization we recorded in a 2017 Chevrolet
Bolt EV, albeit over a special route, and the BMW i3 REx is
rated at 111 MPGe, whereas the Bolt EV is available in at a barely
increased 119 MPGe.

Miles Per Gallon Equal, or MPGe, is a measure of how far a
automobile can journey electrically on the quantity of power contained
in 1 gallon of gasoline.

BMW i3 REx vary extender: proprietor assesses professionals and cons of
limited-power engine (Aug 2016)

Our time within the BMW i3 REx check automobile spanned a pair of in a single day
recharges at house on a 240-volt Stage 2 charging station,
giving us 263.9 miles (83 p.c) of our miles on battery
energy alone and 52.four miles (17 p.c) with the vary extender

Whereas the i3 REx is rated at solely 35 mpg when operating in vary
extender mode, we had been capable of cowl these gasoline miles utilizing
solely about half the indicated gas-tank capability.

We largely ran the automobile in Consolation mode, with maybe a 3rd of
our miles in EcoPro to check out that mode—although we stayed away
from EcoPro+, which lowered cabin air flow to an
uncomfortable level throughout a nice, heat August.


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