2017 BMW i3 REx: drive overview of range-extended electrical automotive


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

Its carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic physique shell, aluminum
underpinnings, and battery-electric powertrain with an optionally available
vary extender are a mix not supplied 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 automotive ever since.

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

Our check 2017 BMW i3 got here with the optionally available REx range-extended
two-cylinder engine, and the physique panels carried a hanging
Protonic Blue paint shade.

For the final mannequin yr, the
2017 BMW i3 REx obtained a spread improve from 72 to 97 miles,
because of 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 enhance from 81 miles to 114 miles, as a result of it is lighter
with out an engine, generator, and gasoline tank.)

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

2017 BMW i3 REx range-extended electrical automotive [photo: Chris
Enlarge Picture

Our impressions of the automotive had been a mixture of issues we remembered
from our 2014 check and a few adjustments, of which there have been
fairly a number of, 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 assist pillar (as a result of energy of its physique

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

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

On the highway, the steering really feel is heavier, which makes the
entire automotive really feel considerably extra substantial.

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

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

2017 BMW i3 REx range-extended electrical automotive [photo: Chris
Enlarge Picture

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

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

Miles Per Gallon Equal, or MPGe, is a measure of how far a
automotive can journey electrically on the quantity of vitality 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 automotive 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 in a position to cowl these gasoline miles utilizing
solely about half the indicated gas-tank capability.

We largely ran the automotive 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 pleasing, heat August.

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