BMW i3 REx can be hacked to offer more miles, AM radio

These Changes Put Your Warranty At Risk, Of Course

If you're a BMW i3 REx owner who's willing to risk voiding your warranty, there's a low-level hack that offers up an interesting question. Which is worth more, an extra 20 miles or so of range from the gas-powered range extender or the ability to listen to local sports, like, for example, the iconic Vin Scully on Los Angeles Dodger broadcasts? The choice might be easy for Dodger fans, but it could be a bit more challenging anyone ready to make a road trip.

The i3 REx is considered a zero-emissions vehicle under the odd rules from the California Air Resources Board (an important category for automakers) because the miles provided by the gas-powered range extender are about equal to the single-charge range of the vehicle's battery, Green Car Reports says. Some enterprising folks have figured out how to modify the software to tweak the car's capabilities.

That means that instead of being able to put in only 1.9 gallons of fuel at a time into the tank, you can put in 2.4 gallons, allowing for that extra 20 miles of driving range. Additionally, the i3 REx's software suppresses AM radio because of potential electromagnetic interference from the electric drivetrain. But, again, that can be reversed with a few tweaks to the software. We need to give out a warning, though: messing with these sorts of software settings is a good way to void your warranty. So, if you're in LA and thinking about enjoying that Dodger (or, dare we say, Giant) broadcast and a few extra driving miles, make sure to figure in all of the factors.

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