Saturday, June 30, 2012

First Public Sighting of an i3 with the REx Option

It looks like we have the first pictures of an i3 with the REx option. According to Drive Arabia, this photo was taken in Dubai recently. Speculation is the i3 is there to conduct hot weather testing. 

In the photo you can see the open port above the front wheel. I've never seen any i3 photo with a fuel door there. Every picture and video I've seen to date shows only one door and it's about six inches above the rear passenger side wheel. If you look closely at this picture you can see the outline of the small door there. I believe this is the door to the charge port and the opening you see above the front wheel is where gas will go for the optional gas range extender (REx). 

This i3 looks like it's pretty close to production beneath the swirly camouflage. Hopefully we'll get a peek at what's under there sometime soon!


  1. The more I see the car the more I like it. I hope BMW shows us what it looks like soon. Why all the secrecy and camo? I just read your last post about the price and I think 45k should be the ceiling for the base msrp. Do you think there is any chance of an optional larger battery pack like Tesla is doing. This car with a 35-40kw battery would be awesome. It would probably go 150+ miles per charge. That would be worth an additional $6,000 to $8,000.

  2. It's very common for car manufacturers to hide the look of the car until right before the launch. I think part of it is to build excitement and part to not let the competition see exactly what they are up to.

    BMW isn't going to offer a larger battery pack as an option. I'm with you and wish they would, but I think they are focused on adding a range extender to their plug-ins for customers that want more range rather than a larger battery. If I could have a larger battery in the i3 I would probably want something in the 28-30kWh, not as big as you mentioned. A 30 kWh i3 would probably go 125-130MPC and would really be perfect for me. I would almost never need to plug in at work or charge mid-day anytime.

  3. Tom, at first I thought you were being funny that the Rex was the tow truck! But I do also see the label on the door that says Hybrid Test Vehicle!

  4. That's funny Mary, I hadn't even thought of that!

  5. Tom: My wife (and entire family) loves the ActiveE we're driving and would never buy, lease, or probably ride in the i3 that's pictured. It's too "attention grabbing." I think there are a lot of potential BMW EV buyers out there that just want a BMW EV like the Active E (without the decals). I only wish BMW would consider producing the ActiveE along with its i3 because there's certainly a market for "traditional-looking" ELECTRIC BMW's. We really love ours. It's been trouble free and we'll hate to have to return it. (We may buy a Tessla S if BMW doesn't produce something a little more conservative along with its i3. Should be relatively cost-effective if they'd just consider continuing with the ActiveE)

    1. Hey Bill,

      Unfortunately BMW's not going to be catering to your wishes, at least for the foreseeable future(next three or four years). They aren't going to be producing the ActiveE - and that's a 100% certainty. It *may* be possible when the next 1 series platform comes out around 2015/2016 that they could offer an electric option, but personally I highly doubt it. Believe it or not, it wouldn't be very cost effective to reproduce the ActiveE as is is now. They have to really cut apart a 1 series frame and reinforce the entire car with over 300lbs of steel, (I've seen the car completely dissembled) and then it needs a huge 32kWh battery pack to get a 94 mile EPA rating. The i3 will get a similar rating with a battery pack that's 1/3 the size and the battery is the most expensive thing on the car. I doubt they could make and sell (for a profit) an ActiveE for less than $60,000 -$65,000 which is way too much for small coupe with less than a 100 mile range.
      I love my ActiveE , but definitely wouldn't buy one. The car wasn't meant to be an EV and BMW had to make compromises to retro fit the electric drivetrain in a platform that wasn't designed for that use. First, it weighs over 4,000lbs! I want a purpose built electric car that takes advantage of the body-on-frame, skateboard type of design that the i3 and Model S is using. This allows for a very efficient use of space, reduces drag and makes servicing very easy (especially access to the battery packs), not the Frankenstein-like way the ActiveE was assembled where they basically stuffed components in any available space they had and needed to make a hood bulge to fit one of the battery packs in it. Also, the battery pack in the old transmission tunnel is so low the steel cage that protects it is constantly hitting the ground -so beware DO NOT drive fast over a speed bump or you'll have a problem on your hands.

      Not everybody wants a compact hatchback granted, but you do know the i3 is not going to look 'futuristic' like the concept car they have been showing with glass doors and roof, right? I don't think the production version is going to be a big attention grabber at all. In fact, it will just look like a 5 door hatchback with BMW styling.
      If it's not for you the Model S will be available, but does cost considerably more, as it should because it's a bigger car with a longer range. At least we have some EV choices now. It's going to take a while before every need/desire is satisfied. BMW is going with the i3 for now, there isn't gong to be another electric offering along side the i3 as you had hoped. You do have nearly two years to think about it and see what else is gong to be available. The Infinity LE should be available in early 2014, when you have a chance look it up, that may be more along the lines of what you are looking for. Just keep an open mind about the i3 also. You haven't seen the real production version yet - I think quite a few people out there are going to be very pleasantly surprised when they see the final production version.