The i3 REx is forced into extinction in Europe due to the longer range possible from the latest pure-electric variant of BMW's hatchback
4 October 2018

The BMW i3 is now an electric-only model in Europe, as the range extender versions have been deleted from the line-up.

The range extender, which uses a two-cylinder 650cc petrol engine to provide additional charge to the drive battery, has effectively been made redundant by the improved, longer-range pure-electric version of the i3 unveiled at this week's Paris motor show.

The i3’s battery has been boosted to 42.2kWh from 33kWh provide 193 miles of range under new WLTP cycle. That's 34 miles more than the older version could manage and is sufficient, according to BMW, to negate the need for the range extender version, which offered a claimed driving range of 231 miles under the outgoing, less-accurate NEDC test. 

In a statement, BMW said: “The Range Extender i3 will cease production and we will only sell the pure-electric version going forward. With the gains in pure-electric range, together with the increasing availability of rapid charging facilities we believe the customer demand is shifting to an pure-electric model.”

The move takes the i3 model range down from four variants to two, namely the standard i3 and hotter i3s. The latter produces an additional 13bhp and 15lb ft from its electric motor, with 181bhp and 199lb ft contributing to a 0-62mph time of 6.9sec.

The range extender version of the i3 formerly made up 60% of sales, despite a £3150 premium over the standard car. 

The Range Extender i3 will still be available in North America and Japan, where demand remains higher than Europe and the rest of the world. 

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Comments
16

4 October 2018

I'll guess the Range Extender (REX) has been made redundant because it was unreliable, not because the new car has more range. 

I've owned two i3s. The REX blew on both of them - at £5k a time. The BMW dealer told me they had hardly any issue with the pure EV i3, just the REX's

The problem is that most owners used their REX only rarely, and when they did it was usually for a short time. Inactivity is never good for internal combustion engines.

Worse, BMW made the REX motor almost as an entirely sealed unit. Even BMW main dealers were very reluctant to strip down a REX unit and replace individual parts in it. So, if even the slightest thing went wrong, it was a whole new REX and you were £5k down.

I should add that it was the best car I've ever owned and I miss it terribly... :-)

REX's and plug-ins are the best way to get people into electric cars. It's a shame that BMW is not persevering with it - the owners certainly did!  

4 October 2018
Jason Dunne wrote:

I'll guess the Range Extender (REX) has been made redundant because it was unreliable, not because the new car has more range. 

I've owned two i3s. The REX blew on both of them - at £5k a time. The BMW dealer told me they had hardly any issue with the pure EV i3, just the REX's

The problem is that most owners used their REX only rarely, and when they did it was usually for a short time. Inactivity is never good for internal combustion engines.

Worse, BMW made the REX motor almost as an entirely sealed unit. Even BMW main dealers were very reluctant to strip down a REX unit and replace individual parts in it. So, if even the slightest thing went wrong, it was a whole new REX and you were £5k down.

I should add that it was the best car I've ever owned and I miss it terribly... :-)

REX's and plug-ins are the best way to get people into electric cars. It's a shame that BMW is not persevering with it - the owners certainly did!  

 

Have you met Symanski?

4 October 2018

So if there is no engine in the boot is the boot bigger or can it be filled with extra batteries? Despite just increasing the range of the i3, BMW are way behind the competition from Hyundai/Kia.

4 October 2018

Yes the boot is bigger, well the section underneath the luggage area to be more precise but I guess that to drop in more batteries in that area might need a bit more thinking about.

Anyhow, I’m now off to look at the new Kia/Hyundai carbon fibre reinforced plastic model with the motor in the rear, with a completely fresh design theme both inside and out that drives and steers properly - not.

Plez.

4 October 2018

Seems a brave move to discontinue a model that sold 60% of the range, and which could have extended the range of the latest i3 towards something pretty decent. If warranty claims are the real reason, then it doesn't say much for BMW "quality" engineering. It should have been possible to make a simple two-cylinder engine that could withstand occasional use! 

4 October 2018

This is very odd timing, considering the REx versions, albeit with the older 94Ah battery, had recently been re-homologated under WLTP regulations. That means that BMW have invested in 4 homologations (94Ah REx NEDC, 94Ah S REx NEDC, 94Ah REx WLTP, 94Ah S REx WLTP) with presumably very low volume for each of these variations.

It also removes the only Range-Extended EV remaining in Europe (as opposed to PHEVs, where the ICE is mechanically linked to the wheels), since the second-generation Chevrolet Volt wasn't introduced here.

4 October 2018

It is very hard to know if reliability issues are statistically significant and the real reason for the rex being withdrawn, or if affected owners (mainly internet savvy early adopters who are active on forums etc) are making a lot of noise about a relatively rare issue? I might be unduly cynical though.

I have had 2 i3's and have had no issues, but as i say there is no way of knowing how widespread issues actually are. It will certainly diminish the cars appeal as even the new battery will leave the car some way short of the new Kia/Hyundai EV's and other options launching soon.

4 October 2018
The REX still lives on with the LEVC TX.

4 October 2018

The taxi?

4 October 2018

I am surprised that some are claiming that the range extender variant is unreliable as this is not the experience of most of the i3 owners on either BMW’s customer community forum or the BMW i3 UK Facebook group. There were some issues with the early cars but these were mostly satisfactorily fixed under warranty albeit it often took some time to get to the bottom of the problem.

There has been a huge outcry about the withdrawal of the REx. In theory the new battery will offer almost the range of the current REx. The 10 litre fuel tank gives another 80 miles so the 94ah has a range of 200 miles whereas the new BEV will only have a range of about 160 miles. Yes, it is an expensive option but a good many i3’s are used as company cars and therefore essential business tools. The EV charging infrastructure, particularly motorway rapid chargers, has become unreliable and chargers can be blocked by the increasing number of hybrids. Even if chargers are free and working, congestion, accidents, road works etc i.e. lost time means that switching to the REx gets you back on schedule. I suspect BMW want to get us back into the (new G20) 3 Series but I for one will not go back, especially as the current 4 pots are no match for the great 6 cylinder 320, 323 and 325 of the past. Fortunately I have been able to secure one of the last build REx’s which I expect will become a future classic. What is so alarming about BMW’s decision was that it came out of the blue. Although the longer range battery was strongly rumoured BMW have only just increased i3 production by 50% so there was no indication that the REx was about to be dropped. Yes, I know the REx doesn’t help BMW’s green credentials but it is such a sensible solution to those of us who cannot manage to go pure electric. Why not let the market decide and then withdraw the REx if demand slips. Nobody is going to pay a £2800 premium if they can avoid it.

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