BMW i3 REX Needs to Be Gassed Up Every Hour

One of the most serious and successful threats to Tesla’s future dominance of the automotive market has come from BMW’s i sub-brand of electric vehicles. Together, the compact BMW i3 and the ultra-sexy, super-sporty BMW i8 supercar account for nearly 10% of the brand’s total car sales — which speaks to the appeal of the i3, mainly, since the i8 is in such short supply. Still, the BMW i3 — while liberating drivers from the sort of range anxiety they might experience in an EV like the Mitsubishi iMiEV — isn’t exactly perfect.

Fitted with the Range Extender option, the BMW i3 can go up to 150 miles (claimed) before requiring a fill-up. Once you cross that threshold, however?

That’s where Tom Moloughney from the Electric BMW i3 blog comes in. In the video, at top, Tom tries to show just how “inconvenient” it might be to stop every hour or so on longer trips. Throughout the video, he stresses the word “inconvenient”, like you must be some kind of idiot to think that pulling over to get gas every hour is a big problem.

Here’s the thing, though: that does actually sound pretty annoying.

Tom dismisses any and all objections that might be raised by people who cite longer distances between stations in areas like Texas or Wyoming, stating simply enough that the BMW i3 REX isn’t well suited to “those” areas, stating “But hey, BMW calls it a ‘city car’, after all.”

That is, in my opinion, a pretty cheap cop-out that could easily be fixed by giving the i3 either a slightly longer ICE range (say, 120 miles with an additional 3.5 gallons of fuel at Moloughney’s observed 35-ish MPG burn rate) or designing the car to be more efficient in ICE mode to begin with. That also ignores the fact that, at a starting price of $46,250, the little BMW carries a price tag nearly three times that of a similarly sized Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit — neither of which have to apologize for being a “city car” when the driver decides to see some scenes, you know?

You can read more about Tom Moloughney’s BMW i3 road trip over at our sister site, CleanTechnica. If you agree with him and want to defend the little Bimmer in the comments section, below, please be advised that I will be responding to every such response with, “Yeah, but for fifty g’s it’s really a bit crap, you know?” Enjoy!


Op ed content by Gas 2, video from the Electric BMW i3.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.