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Commuting to a Three-Day Race Weekend - 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited February 2015 in BMW
imageCommuting to a Three-Day Race Weekend - 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

I was able to commute to a three-day SCCA weekend at Auto Club Speedway because our 2014 BMW i3 has the optional range extender.

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Comments

  • grijongrijon Member Posts: 147
    Stellar post, thank you!
  • cjasiscjasis Member Posts: 274
    this is the kind of post I find informative. thanks.
  • penboypenboy Member Posts: 8
    I saw you guys had this car there when I was out on Sunday for one of the Formula Mazda races; I was wondering who brought it out. I swear everyone that saw it that day stopped to take a look at it. (I still can't stand how it looks, though)
  • goaterguygoaterguy Member Posts: 64
    This post is exactly what a potential buyer would find extremely helpful. It also proves that a L2 at home proves invaluable for EV owners. Cool.
  • gugulingugulin Member Posts: 14
    Please correct me if I was wrong. It seems like i3 range extender can run without any charge station because it can always genearate electricity through gas engine. So in theory it can be the only car and use for inter-state travelling. Is that right? (pretty much like the idea of Chevy Volt)
  • stillageekstillageek Member Posts: 114
    The car can be used for inter-state traveling as long as you want to stop every 60 miles. Not very comfortable. I own a I3 REX and love it. I know it's limitations. My family of 3 has taken a road trip longer than 100 miles exactly once in 7 years. I work for an airline thus we travel for free.
  • gugulingugulin Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for your messsage, stillageek. I fully aware it's limitations. Just want to confirm whether i3 REX can run in an environment which totally does not have any charge station. So "in theory" it can be the only family car.
  • actualsizeactualsize Member Posts: 451
    @gugulin That depends on where you live and what you call interstate driving. The electric charge only gets you out of your garage on the first leg of the day, so trips of any length require a connect-the-dots approach. I know of several places in the west where "next service 80 miles" signs exist. You wouldn't be able to go anywhere you wanted because there are lots of routes that wouldn't connect the dots. And desert A/C use and/or mountain passes will eat up range on gasoline, so in those scenarios the target distance to the next station would shrink below the nominal rated gasoline range.

    So this isn't very much like a Volt in the only-car coast-to-coast sense. It's more of an electric car than a Volt; it has quite a bit more electric range and its meager gasoline range is meant more for allowing for spontaneous errand-running off your usual commute or for saving your butt if you miscalculate on the charging. It's not meant to enable unrestricted cross-country travel. That's why it is classified as a BEV-x vehicle, a category that earns more EV credits than the Volt, which earns credits like a plug-in hybrid.

    If you live in a more densely populated area without big gaps between towns, you could maybe do it. But even then 60-mile bites is no way to get anywhere.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481

    The car can be used for inter-state traveling as long as you want to stop every 60 miles. Not very comfortable. I own a I3 REX and love it. I know it's limitations. My family of 3 has taken a road trip longer than 100 miles exactly once in 7 years. I work for an airline thus we travel for free.

    BMW restricted the gas tank to 1.9 gallons so that the car could have the BEV status from California Air Resources Board. I think the rule is, to get the BEV status, the electric range has to be greater than the gasoline range.

    That's why we don't get the Euro version, which a) has a larger gas tank and b) allows the operator to switch on the gasoline engine whenever they wish. The US model can't do that.

    The reason the US version has the smaller tank is maybe because CARB certified the car's electric range for fewer miles than BMW claimed it to be.
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