Taiwanese scooter-builder Kymco will be responsible for BMW’s upcoming i3 extended-range electric car, according to reports circulating in the media this week.
Adding plausibility to the reports is the fact that Kymco, which has factories in China and Indonesia, is already a BMW supplier – selling motorcycle engines to the German company that can be found in the BMW G450X enduro, as well as the BMW C-class maxi-scooters that debuted back in 2011.
Expect the Kymco/BMW motor to look something like this …
… and for the engine to be fed by a small fuel tank, which should stretch the i3’s range to almost 220 mi on a combined diet of electrons and fossils. Keep in mind, that’s adding to the i3’s projected 80-ish mile range on a fully charged battery.
In addition, it should be noted that this range-extender is just that: an OPTIONAL ADD-ON that BMW is offering to i3 buyers who suffer from “range anxiety”. This is opposite of what we’d find in cars like the Chevy Volt or Fisker Karma, for example, which are sold as EVs that feature range-extending ICE engines as standard equipment.
More than the functionality of the engine itself, the bigger question BMW might have to face is: will the public accept a premium price tag on (what could be perceived as) a Chinese car?
We’ll soon see …