BMW i3 window stickerThe numbers haven't made their digital way to the EPA's website yet, but we can now confirm that the BMW i3 with range extender will be officially rated at a combined 117 MPGe with 39 mpg once the battery runs out. That puts the amazing little city car just ahead of the pure-electric Fiat 500e (116 MPGE, combined) and behind the Honda Fit EV (118) and the Chevy Spark EV (119). In the plug-in hybrid category, it's at the top of the class, beating out the Honda Accord PHEV, which is rated at 115 MPGe but is also a much bigger vehicle.

The i3 REx also has an official all-electric range of 72 miles and can go another 78 on gas (for a total of 150). When it's not carrying around the extra fuel tank and engine, the all-electric i3 gets 124 MPGe (combined), which is the currently the highest in the US. The i3 EV also has an all-electric range of 81 miles.

BMW expects to deliver the first i3 REx in the US this week and delivered the first all-electric version earlier this month. There was a bit of a hold-up on the range-extender version thanks to a delay with getting these EPA numbers. Now that all the bureaucratic boxes have been checked, it's off to customer driveways they go.


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  • 137 Comments
      CarNutMike
      • 7 Months Ago
      39 is the COMBINED number. I'll bet the pure highway number (how did it even complete the test?) is miserable. Don't expect anything more than a limp-to-the-next-charge performance out of the REx and you'll be perfectly satisfied.
        Spec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @CarNutMike
        The REx is good enough to go freeway speeds on flat ground. I'm sure it would suck on hills but it is good enough to do the job on those rare occasions you need longer distance.
      Michael Walsh
      • 7 Months Ago
      Am I wrong when I say that a Volt with 70+ miles AER and then 38-40MPG thereafter would simply kick BMW's butt on all counts? I don't think I am, especially if it had seating for 5 and undercut the i3's price substantially.
        ChrisH
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        Well it shows that Voltec 2.0 is long overdue. The difference between the i3 and the Volt is BMW didn't compromise on their goal. If they had made it look like one of the X series I doubt they could make enough of them,. Damnit GM, where is version 2 at?
        Spec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        Yes, but such a volt would be much more expensive and difficult to build.
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        Volt is a plugging hybrid, so what is the big deal? It can get more range - from a bigger battery. But in the same car body, where will those larger batteries and their cooling system fit? And the extra weight will affect its driving dynamics even more, including the range on gasoline, so keep dreaming... Version 2.0 is not as easy as ver 1.0 was... and the bar is set higher nowdays too. If they had a great ver. 2.0, it would have went into the Caddy ELR...
        Letstakeawalk
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        It does show what an achievement the Volt truly is.
        montoym
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        It already has the battery size to allow that as well, GM just has to uncork it. Some minor changes to the engine would probably bump the fuel economy as well. Pretty minor changes to catch up with a 3yr newer design methinks.
      Rotation
      • 7 Months Ago
      The figures are unremarkable at best. Making a car that light and efficient get such bad mpg really shows the efficiency limitations of serial hybrids. Despite the GM haters, this shows again how difficult a feat the Volt was, and the follow-ons like Ford's Energi vehicles. It saddens me that so many i3s will be saddled with the REx. I know there are some people who will live out in the countryside and really need it. But I also know I'll see piles of them around me, when they aren't really necessary due to the infrastructure we have in place. On another note, my friend got his non-REx one last week. He's really happy with it. Anyone know how to activate the front camera without having to go through the iDrive knob? Seems like a pain compared to in my LEAF or my friend's A6, where we both have a single button to do it.
        BipDBo
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        It's much more efficient to put that power straight to the ground. That engine might get 45 mpg if it were geared right to the wheels rather than through the wires, but since the engine is going to be on a such a low fraction of the service of the car, the difference between that 45 mpg and the 39 mpg is going to make such a tiny impact on the total lifespan gas consumption. It's not worth it to put in a transmission like on the VW XL1. This series range extender is therefore a very logical design approach.
          BipDBo
          • 7 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          They did that on the i8 to make it fast, not really for efficiency, but that might be a plus. On this design, you get the power of both the battery and the engine going down to all 4 wheels. Also keep in mind that this is a much more expensive, higher end car, so the extra mechanical complexity and expense is justified.
          MikeE
          • 7 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          And oddly, that's exactly what BMW did with the i8; it's a through-the-road hybrid, with the IC powering the rear wheels and electric motor for the front. I can imagine lots of reasons why you couldn't do the same with the i3, but it seems on first analysis the better design.
        SpikedLemon
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Consider this a Gen1 series hybrid in a car. They're bound to improve on this. Also consider that series hybrids are the powertrain of choice for locomotives. Parallel hybrids, like the Volt or Prius, have had a couple iterations now.
          Rotation
          • 7 Months Ago
          @SpikedLemon
          It's gen 2. Gen 1 was the Fisker Karma.
      holysmoke.s
      • 7 Months Ago
      Not a single view of that car is acceptable. It's the most god awful car I've ever seen.
        Grendal
        • 7 Months Ago
        @holysmoke.s
        Easy answer - don't buy it then. The car has a polarizing look. It more focused on functionality than looking good. Some will love its odd looks and others, like yourself, will hate them.
      Kuro Houou
      • 7 Months Ago
      Prepare for the ugly parade!
      paulwesterberg
      • 7 Months Ago
      A volt competitor with better performance and more range or a city EV competitor with great performance. I think that bmw will sell a decent number of these, but I'm not quite sold yet.
      Britt Benston
      • 7 Months Ago
      Just saw one on Melrose at Robertson in LA. It has an oddly narrow and tall proportion, but looks futuristic.
        DarylMc
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Britt Benston
        I also think it looks very futuristic. Don't love the styling but it does make many other vehicles look a bit 20th century.
      NewTexian Brewery
      • 6 Months Ago
      Fugly
      CarNutMike
      • 7 Months Ago
      This is counterintuiitive on first glance but the best efficiency for the Volt ICE (as measured by Brake Specific Fuel Consumption) occurs at 2800rpm with the throttle wide open. It is slightly more efficient to run the ICE at that speed, build up a buffer, shut it down, rinse, repeat. It's also not a super pleasant experience, which is why they don't do it. In operation (using gasoline) most running (off the top of my head) occurs at 1700 and 2100 rpm. I'll bet one of those ranges actually corresponds with approximately 34hp but it's not the most efficient operating point.
      BipDBo
      • 7 Months Ago
      This little city car has RWD and 170 with plenty of EV low end grunt, so if given some tires that are a bit wider, it has the potential to be a really fun car. What if they modified this platform into a 2 seat roadster? It could replace the Z4. It could actually be priced lower than the gas powered Z4 which starts at $50,000 for the base model, but be just as fun to drive, possibly even more so. The only reason I think that they wouldn't do this would be that with the i8, it would give them 2 electric sportscars, which would crowd that little niche in their lineup. A lot of people may not see enough justification to pay three times the cost for an i8. Looking back, I think that building a city EV and a roadster EV on the same platform, bith very affordable would have been a much better strategy than building a low-end city EV and then a very high end, mechanically completely different EV sportscar.
      paulwesterberg
      • 7 Months Ago
      Too bad bmw didn't offer an extended range EV version with extra battery capacity in the Rex compartment to provide 100+ miles of range. If you get the car without the Rex can you at least use that space for cargo?
        Rotation
        • 7 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        You cannot use the space for cargo. Not in the trunk or front. Someone said that the heat pump takes the place of part of the REx system (fuel tank?) but that's just rumor. I'd love to see a "range extender" option which is just more battery.
      Naturenut99
      • 7 Months Ago
      I always wished there was an Eco mode. Although Normal mode is considered the Eco mode. The other day I couldve really used a little help to get back home. It took 6 kWh's to go 23 miles, one way (open area - county hwy - high wind). I did get back home all EV with less than est. 1 mi to spare. but it took the perfect route and driving technique.
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