It's no secret that the BMW i3 has a spot in the powertrain bay reserved for a gasoline engine range extender. Given that the i3 city car is available as a pure electric vehicle, how does an additional liquid fuel powerplant fit into the picture? Green Car Reports recently wondered out loud about this very thing, and that prompted us to ask BMW directly. Turns out, opting for the peace of mind that, to some, gasoline offers will indeed give you more range, but it won't allow the i3 to make the drive from South Carolina to Southern California.

David Buchko, BMW advanced powertrain and heritage communications, told AutoblogGreen that:

The i3 range extender is meant to enable the car to go a little further than the pure BEV on those rare occasions when driver needs to go a little further. It is not intended for daily use. We've said that the REx [range extender] will double the effective range of 80-100 miles. I have not seen anything to suggest that it would not be capable of doing so.

The exact, official electric range of the i3 has not yet been announced. Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Maximilian Kellner, head of product management of BMW i division, said, "The i3 has a range on a single electrical charge of 130 to 160 kilometers [81-100 miles], but with two eco modes the EV range could grow to 220 kilometers [137 miles]."

If you've been eying the i3 and its best-of-both-worlds powertrain, now you've got a bit more information to go on as you plan your purchase. The i3 launches later this year.

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