BMW has been hosting i3 training events to get their client advisers up to speed and ready to sell the car. I'm very happy to hear they are doing this because I was really beginning to get concerned that they wouldn't properly prepare their sales staff for this unique vehicle. I even dedicated a post a few months ago to this very topic. I've now talked to a few client advisers that have done the training and they reported that they did indeed get a lot of useful information which will help them service their clients.
|The i3's tiny fuel tank is seen here at right in front of the battery pack in the center of the car. This is where the heat pump is located and why you cannot get the heat pump if you have an i3 REx|
This week the latest round of training sessions are being held up at BMW headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ and details of what is being taught are starting to leak out from some of the client advisers that are there. A couple things of interest shared were details about the range extender the i3 will offer as an option.
First, it was learned that the range extender is automatically activated once the state of charge drops below 6.5%. At that moment, it turns on and it's function is to bring the state of charge back up to 6.5% and to maintain that level of charge. It will not charge the car much above 6.5%, and it will not run if the car is stopped, unless the state of charge is critically low. Therefore you can't it in a stationary i3 and wait for the state of charge to increase. I knew the automatic turn on point was around 5% to 6%, but now we have an exact level when it engages.
|US i3 REx customers wish they had the European "hold" feature available|
You cannot manually turn the range extender off. This is contrary to what I was told by an i3 product manager at the i3 debut in New York City last July. I remember asking this specific question by saying "What if I knew I'd make it home on electric, say I only had a mile or two to go and the REx was about to turn on, could I just turn it off so it's doesn't fire up?" I was told yes, there will be a setting that will allow you to turn it off before it engages, but that setting will reset once you turn the car off. The reason for that is so that the next time you get in the car you won't forget that you had turned off the REx and you may end up needing it. I would have definitely preferred to be able to turn it off manually, and honestly can't see why that isn't going to be allowed.
|The range extender exhaust is tucked away under the car so you can't see the tailpipe unless you crawl underneath to look|
|The BMW i3 range extender is located next to the electric motor and power electronics, over the rear axle.|
1) The EPA rating for all electric range on the REx came out lower than they believed it would. If they used the 2.4 gallon gas tank, the gas range would be slightly longer than the all electric range, therefore causing it to be disqualified for the BEVx designation. The only simple way to make the gas range less than the electric range was to reduce the gas range by using a smaller gas tank.
2) The EPA rating for the MPG while in range extender mode came out higher than expected, creating the same problem cited above; a longer range in REx mode than in all electric mode. I've heard it gets anywhere from 36mpg to 46mpg from people driving REx's in Europe so this is a possibility. If the range extender got rated at 40mpg, and was using a 2.4 gallon gas tank, then the electric range would need to be 96 miles per charge, which is highly unlikely. If they cut the tank down to 1.9 gallons, then the electric range would only need to be greater than 79 miles per charge, which I believe is attainable, even considering that the REx version will have 6.5% less battery to use than the BEV i3 does, as this is held in reserve as a buffer.
So what do you think? Has any of these new revelations changed you mind about the REx?