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BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. Home on the Range


BMW »s i3 is the cleverest all-electric car yet. But can we really still call it an ‘all-electric» car in ‘Range Extender» form with a little two cylinder petrol scooter engine slung out the back. Actually, we can.

Jonathan Crouch

tries it BMW’s i3 is an electric vehicle unlike any we’ve seen to date. It can be bought either in pure electric form or, as tested here, with a Range Extender petrol engine added to prolong the period you can travel between potentially rapid charge-ups.

The light weight of a specially developed state-of-the-art carbon fibre and aluminium chassis further helps extend that mileage and, along with the startling power of the battery pack, also plays its part in creating the kind of dynamic driving experience you simply wouldn’t expect an electric vehicle to be able to provide.

But then this is BMW’s approach to EV motoring. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.

The biggest draw for many with this i3 will be its personal taxation advantages. The all-electric version is, after all, BIK tax- free, while this Range Extender model’s official 13g/km CO2 rating means it qualifies for a mere 5 per cent of benefit-in-kind liability.

BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto

Corporate business customers benefit from a 100 per cent capital write-down allowance and very low levels of National Insurance taxation. As for driving range, well here’s a car that official statistics suggest can offer a range of up to 118 miles on the European test cycle.

Mind you, my experience with electric cars to date has taught me to deeply distrust official statistics and, rather refreshingly, BMW doesn’t seem to hold much with them either, preferring to quote a real world range of 81 miles in wintry conditions and 100 miles in the summer.

If just listening to those kinds of figures prompts you into an … of so-called range anxiety, then the i3 Range Extender model we’re looking at here is the version for you — to a point. The little motorcycle petrol engine here mated with battery power is reasonably efficient but unfortunately must operate with a tiny 9- litre fuel tank that offers you an extra driving range of no more than about 80 miles.

In other words, your total real-world journeying distance is extended over that of the pure electric i3 to a figure somewhere between150 and 186 miles, depending on season and conditions. Based upon battery and engine combined use over that sort of distance, BMW claims the combined cycle i3 fuel figure to be an astonishing 470.8mpg.

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BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto

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