Those that have followed this blog since before I got my i3 know I toiled a bit over whether to get the range extender option or not. Having lived with pure battery electric vehicles for five years I really didn't like the idea of hauling around an internal combustion engine if I really didn't need to do so, even if it was a very small, efficient one.
Ultimately, the decision was easier than I had hoped. Once it became clear the i3 would have significantly less electric range than the two previous BMW-made electrics that I've been driving (MINI-E and ActiveE) I knew I needed the REx. As much as I love the i3, I'm still disappointed BMW moved backwards with the electric range in every EV they have produced. The MINI-E was good for a reliable 100 miles in moderate temperatures, the ActiveE about 90 miles and the BEV i3 is EPA rated at 81 miles per charge. I drive a lot and 81 miles would just be cutting it too close for me, especially in the winter when the range is negatively effected by the cold weather.
|Our Equinox, Tacoma and i3 joined by my old ActiveE before I turned it back in.|
|Plugging the tire|
|The owners of the B&B she stayed were nice enough to let her charge up. They told her their son in law drives a Volt so they weren't totally surprised about a car that needed to plug in.|
So even though I've used the REx a dozen or so times already, this was the first time it was absolutely necessary, and further validates my decision to shell out the additional $3,850 for it. It really makes the car so much more versatile, and allows me to not even think about the range. As others have noted, it really does allow you to drive more electric miles because you can use it for trips you otherwise couldn't with the BEV i3. Obviously, the ultimate goal is for longer range electric vehicles to become more affordable, and infrastructure to mature to the point where public charging and DC fast charge is ubiquitous. However until then, the range extender will play an important role in the adoption of electric vehicles, as it allows for utility that is simply unavailable in the vast majority of today's electric vehicles.
|Trip stats: I was very happy to see 3.7 miles per kWh considering it was about 70% highway driving, with the cabin heat on the entire time.|
Stats from the trip:
Going to PA: 61 miles on battery, 34 miles on REx
While there: 49 miles all on battery
Coming home: 65 miles on battery, 30 miles on REx.
Total: 239 miles; 175 miles on battery, 64 miles using range extender
Total gas used: 1.7 gallons (.9 gal refill when she was in PA & .8 gal refill when she was 1.5 miles from home). Averaged 37.65mpg while REx was running.