BMW is looking to stave off electric vehicle range anxiety with a new program that offers buyers a free gasoline loaner with every i3 purchase. Ward's Auto reports BMW is confident that the EV will give buyers the kind of transportation they need for 90 percent of their trips. The loaners, meanwhile, will be available for those few occasions when drivers need to cover more ground than the machine's batteries will allow. The i3 gets around with help from a 180-horsepower electric motor paired with a lithium-ion battery pack.

The combo is good for trips of between 80 and 100 miles depending on driving habits and weather conditions, though BMW also plans to offer a model with a small two-cylinder range-extending gasoline engine as well. That option will likely set you back an additional $4,000. When the machine bows in 2014, it will likely come with a charge time of four to six hours when suckling from a 220-volt outlet.

As far as the conventionally powered loaner car goes, the cost of the program is included in the i3's purchase price, though BMW has yet to figure out how many free loans will be offered, or what happens after that threshold is reached.


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  • 50 Comments
      Carguy
      • 1 Year Ago
      As an BMW Active E driver who will consider both the i8 and i3 when they are made available I think this is a very smart solution. In metro areas like Southern Ca. where a large percentage of these cars are going to be sold and serviced having access to a a BMW rental for long family trips will be perfect for people without a second car. If you read soem of these EV related comments you would think everyone in America has a 180 mile round trip commute to work and everyone has a weekend home in mountains 300 miles away and they go there every weekend. Reality check: based on stats you probably drive 40 or less miles a day and if you are like most American families you dont spend weekends rock climbing and instead you driving your kids to their sporting event or going to someones birthday party. If you dont fall in this category and you really are Indiana Jones on the weekend then a Jeep Wrangler is probably the car for you.
        Bradford
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Carguy
        That's why I drive a Jeep Wrangler.
          Carguy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bradford
          I've owned one too and its a fun car but probably not the best car if 95% of your driving is done commuting on congested LA freeways. That's why I dont think EV's are for everyone but I also dont think any one car is one size fits all.
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      Between the small 2-cyl charging motor and these loaners, BMW is going to be in a great position to squeeze as much utility out of these cars as they can.
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is what every manufacturer should do for their electric cars. Nissan should have done this from the beginning for the Leaf. Give people a couple days a year where they can borrow a gas car for longer trips for free. Dealers already have loaners in their fleet. The added cost would be negligible.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ferps
        Maybe in the short term, but in the long term it doesn\'t really make sense. At the end of the day, the consumer is paying for this service whether they use it or not. If I already owned another car that I use for longer trips or didn\'t take longer trips; I would be paying for something I\'m not using. And really renting a car would seem to me to be a short term solution for just those that really want to have an EV. I don\'t think your typical car buyer is going to be alright with going somewhere to borrow a car everytime they want to drive more than 100 miles. As for the loaners in their fleet, they need those for their service department, they would need to grow that fleet. And since most people take longer trips at the same time every year; they would probably needs lots of extra cars relative to the number of EV\'s they sold/providing service to.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          I think the part you are missing is that this is a made-up problem in the first place, that by far the majority of households will resolve by owning either a PHEV or gas car that they will use for long trips. So there probably won't be the kind of actual demand for loaner cars that you predict. It will function in the real world more like an insurance policy of last resort, because the reality is that very few i3 owners will ever actually need this service. Families with only EV's with short ranges that would use this service are the rare exception that prove the rule, not the majority of households. It is sort of like the free towing assistance that comes with buying many luxury cars. If you apply your logic, the towing companies would need to increase how many tow trucks they need, and have a huge fleet of tow trucks because they have more people with free towing coverage. In reality, so few new BMW's ever need to be towed that there really is no need for a whole lot of new tow trucks.
      Pandabear
      • 1 Year Ago
      So, what happen when everyone wants to borrow the loaners at the same time, say, on long weekends, thanks giving, or Xmas breaks?
      Foxxwoof
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think they have the program backwards. Obviously the electric car doesn't work in "all" driving situations. So what they should do is sell me a gas powered car because that will get "everywhere" I need to go, and when I need to just run down the grocery store to get some milk they can loan a fully charged electric car.
      Mr. Sled
      • 1 Year Ago
      Compromised plan for a compromised product.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mr. Sled
        You know what a real compromised product is? A car that relies upon gasoline which costs $9/gallon. That is what cars are in Europe.
      SloopJohnB
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow. The problem is the round trip to the BMW dealer exceeds the car's range.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        It's only 5 miles from my home.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        If you live in a place where there is no BMW dealer within 70 miles of your home then you are probably not a likely candidate for an EV purchase anyway. You probably live out in a rural area where you should get a PHEV if you want to be electrified.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        Well then it's a good thing this entire system wasn't targeted toward you personally.
      Xedicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Still don't get why hydrogen tech isn't being developed instead of battery tech for cars. It cures range and refueling concerns emits only water and can make better use of our existing fuel delivery infrastructure. Some want to say "what about all the energy you need to create hydrogen, won't that come from a fossil fuel?" Doesn't have to and a lot of our electricity still comes from fossil fuels (for example coal). Yes cost is a concern but that's true for any new tech and while cost has been coming down for EVs it's still a problem. Hydrogen needs to happen!
        SublimeKnight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Xedicon
        Says someone who doesn't drive a BEV. Having driven one for only a month, I find it funny how attached people are to going to gas stations. As if its like going to disney world. There is nothing pleasant about going to a gas station (whether you're filling up with hydrogen or gasoline). Every morning I wake up and I have sufficient range in my car for the day, its perfectly conditioned, waiting for me to drive. If hydrogen comes, great, but I'm not waiting with baited breath. In fact, even if hydrogen cars do become affordable, I'll still want a BEV for 95% of my driving needs.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Xedicon
        [blocked]
          Ele Truk
          • 1 Year Ago
          I wonder how dirty of water you can use for electrolysis? Who cares how dirty it is? Maybe dirty is better for more efficient electrolysis. Remember in grade school science class you have to add an electrolyte for it to work (pure water is non-conductive).
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Xedicon
        Now I remember why Hydrogen fuel cells got such a strong crowd of folks debunking H2 claims. It was because H2 Trolls kept posting b.s. dream world junk like this on every single blog. If there is nothing in the story regarding hydrogen or fuel cells, STFU about hydrogen and fuel cells. Stop trying to thread-jack other topics. If you can't follow that simple suggestion, don't whine when the inevitable anti-H2 backlash strikes.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Xedicon
        Hydrogen FCVs *are* being developed. BMW signed a tech-sharing agreement to get fuel cell technology from Toyota just a couple months ago. "We really share the same vision (of) the future of the industry," Mr. Diess told reporters.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          They are working on nuclear fusion too. I hope there are breakthroughs in both technologies. But I'm not holding my breath.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      No thanks to both!
        Carguy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Teleny411
        So you would prefer putting the excess miles and wear and tear on your luxury car vs a loaner? Or your just the guy that would turn down lottery winnings because you dont want to handle the "hassle" of paying the taxes.
      Jmaister
      • 1 Year Ago
      oh mazda!?!?!? here is your chance to shine. give us hydrogen hybrid cars!! Fuel cell can be home built, all the hard stuff is in the programing.
        Ele Truk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jmaister
        No, the hard stuff is in getting the Hydrogen for your car. Talk about range anxiety! Try limiting yourself to never being able to drive farther than 1/2 the distance to the only Hydrogen station in your area.
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey, range axiety is a US fear creation mind warp tactic. You guys across the pond need to get your own. Jeez, show a little more creativity. What do you guys do stand around, look at what happens in the US and then copy it?
      Tony McAdams
      • 1 Year Ago
      Back to the future I guess [LOL] Thats almost the distance to my "local" BMW. I guess thats why Ford had dealers in almost every town, but that was then.....
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