German auto giant BMW brings another ‘ultimate driving machine’ to market with the subcompact i3.
The BMW i3 enters its junior year in the plug-in electric car class delivering clean, emission-free transportation with a mile per gallon equivalent (MPGe) of 117.
A glance at the chalkboard shows MPGe as the measure of distance a car can travel on pure-electric power as compared to the same amount of energy contained in one gallon of gasoline.
BMW i3 comes standard as an electric-only vehicle (EV) with a travel range up to 72 miles depending on driving habits, while an available Range Extender (RE) optimizes nearly 150 miles with the aid of an onboard gasoline powered electric generator.
The i3 is powered by a 125-kilowatt electric motor energized by a 22 kilowatt -hour lithium-ion battery pack stowed under the floor to generate a spirited 170 horsepower.
Range Extender models utilize a 34 horsepower 2-cylinder gasoline engine to fuel the generator.
When i3’s electric energy is depleted, the generator seamlessly engages to continue travel.
Both models are recharged with standard household 110-volt current, but require 22 hours to fully replenish the battery. Use of 220-volt circuit drops the charge time to four hours.
Plug-in ports to accommodate 110 and 220 current are provided.
I recently tested the 2015 BMW i3 with Range Extender and am impressed with the overall execution of this rear-drive electric car.
Beyond the expected range and instantaneous power from the electric motor is the strong regenerative braking that when gauged prudently, allows the car to slow or even come to a complete stop without using the brake pedal.
Use of the brake pedal is only necessary when close full-power brake force is needed.
Equally impressive is the quietness of i3’s electric motor that renders a faint whine under EV take off and acceleration.
The only other sounds come from the narrow, 19-inch low rolling-resistant tires and engine drone when the RE is engaged.
Inside, slim profile seats afford four adult riders cross-town travel with use of a two occupant second row gained by rear doors integrated into the body profile.
The BMW i3 goes to the head of the class as a distinctive electric car priced at $43,350 including freight. With Range Extender, the charge is ramped to $47,200.
BMW i3 4-door hatchback apart in the electric car segment.