AutoWeek Review Rips BMW i3 To Shreds


BMW i3

BMW i3

To date, we’ve not come across as scathing a BMW i3 review as this one from the editorial team at AutoWeek.

The review opens with what seems to be a positive statement:

“BMW’s entry-level electric car offers a possible glimpse of the future.”

But then, all hell breaks loose – factually incorrect statements (at least according to our understanding) attributed directly to AutoWeek:

Associate Editor Graham Kozak:

“Driving? Well, yeah, you can drive it, although you get the feeling that it’d be better for you and the planet to simply buy it and let it sit there. Certainly, there’s nothing about this package that makes you want to hop in and turn the key.”

“While the batteries have juice, you’re treated to the typical electric car smoothness; effortless launches are followed by serene cruising. It’s all ruined when the range-extender kicks in. You ever see that photo of a Toyota Prius with a gas generator strapped to the back? Yeah, that’s what this setup feels like. It’s inelegant, and it doesn’t seem to supply the car with adequate power for non-city driving.”

“Unlike Tesla’s offerings, the supposedly hyper-efficient i3 doesn’t have the guts to be all-electric. We’ve driven Chevrolet Spark EVs that have double the range. Trying to be all things to all people, the i3 ends up being a total drag to drive in range-extender mode — for the few miles you can actually drive in range-extender mode before stopping for gas.”

2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt

Associate Editor Jake Lingeman:

“Get a Chevrolet Volt.  That’s my advice after driving the BMW i3 for a night. I got in the car, after it was charging for three hours, and it only had 5 miles of range, along with 20 more from the gas tank. Twenty! A full gas tank will only get you 47 miles, add that to the battery range and you get about 30 more.”

“You could use this car like a golf cart at a retirement community maybe, though I’m not sure how many sets of clubs you can fit in that cargo area.”

Both of the Associate Editors listed above are Detroiters, not a city known for electric car adoption (though the Chevy Volt sells well in the Metro-Detroit area).

West Coast Editor Mark Vaugh:

“While my colleagues in Detroit drove the i3 with range extender, out here in LA, I had the pure electric version, battery power only.”

“Despite its super-goofy exterior and ultra-eager lift-throttle regenerative braking, I really liked this thing.”

“I like the i3, but I like all electric cars. I think EVs can form an important part of a more efficient transportation network, especially in cities and in developing countries like China and India, once those countries get cleaner power grids.”

And lastly…

Digital Editor Andrew Stoy:

“Always-entertaining electric-car torque is there in spades, and unlike some other editors, I didn’t find the two-cylinder range extender particularly obtrusive when it kicked in. If anything, the i3 is notable for its smooth, stable driving dynamics and a far quieter interior than that found on most of the tinny EVs on the market.”

“This is strictly a city car, though: BMW advertises up to 150 miles of total range, but you really want to be in EV mode to enjoy the driving at all. Thing is, that juice gets used up quickly if expressway driving is part of your routine, and the gasoline in the tiny 2-gallon range extender tank would be gone in a hurry too. Keep it in town for 30-40 miles of driving per day and it would be perfectly at home.”

Sadly, the AutoWeek review of the BMW i3 sort of sums up the regional differences in the U.S.  As a Detroiter myself, electric car spottings are few and far between (again aside from the Chevy Volt).  Furthermore, the general consensus among the public here is that electric cars really have no place in the automotive industry.  It’s unfortunate, but true.

So, are we to fault AutoWeek for going along with what’s expected to come from a Detroit automotive magazine?  Absolutely.  Journalists should be held to a higher standard and must be held responsible for their reporting.

Source: AutoWeek

Categories: BMW

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105 Comments on "AutoWeek Review Rips BMW i3 To Shreds"

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Jake Lingeman is outright lying.

Only 30 miles EV range? Only 5 miles after three hours of charging? Only 47 miles on gas? WTF is he talking about?

Exactly, right? Seems bogus.

Funny how “Journalists” become Total Idiots when they drive an EV. It couldn’t be Exxon payoff’s, no, not possible.

No, they became total idiots when they became journalists. Some of them eventually go on to become politicians.

Being engineers and EV fans, sure – you can miss the point here because they flew over some details. But the general message is in line with the truth. i3 is a nutty, goofie car. It’s overpriced and underdelivers in every single way possible. Shoot the messenger – OK, I get it. The car is hard to defend. It’s funny when I get called names for calling i3 what it is – a sorry compliance car by a company bent on profiting as long as they can on ICE CUVs and sedans. Name-calling and posturing is below you guys. You just have to face the limitations of this car. For those who label me “anti-BMW”, they missed the fact I’m a huge fan of the new 2 Series Gran Tourer. After finishing tearing me a new one with name-calling – try going to and looking up the Gran Tourer. Not slated for U.S. sales yet – but I predict it will make it here soon. It’s genius. Still overpriced, it’s clever solution to people hauling exalts it into a class previously unknown. I point out that Gran Tourer’s flat floor due to it’s FWD platform allow BMW engineers to… Read more »

James oh! James, why so much hate?

Well I get 52 Miles easily in the most frigide winter we have seen in last 20 years in Canada. Getting 62 Miles in normal winter condition and I won’t have any problem getting 95 Miles this summer. Living in a city, I don’t use gas but I’m not lmited to the city.

And with the Rex it makes it worries free…

Point me to other EV/HYBRID that can do that.

I don’t remember, what EV are you driving again?

I have no problem with people criticizing the i3 . . . With facts. But the outright lies and deception are unforgivable. 5 miles with 3 hours charging? Spark EV has twice the range?

Well perhaps he was charging using the supplied 110v EVSE. That might explain the slow charge rate

Re your Series-2 Gran Tourer comment: Looks like a potentially good MPV, but certainly not “class previously unknown”. There a lot of 7-seaters compact MPV models, about the same length (some are actually shorter), all with clever seating/cargo arrangements, which have been selling (in the 100Ks/year) for years. Ford Grand C-Max, Renault Grand Scenic, Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, Fiat 500L Living…
They cost considerably less than the BMW will.

Don’t get mad, buy a Chevy Volt!

I know – right? Seems obvious, but for snobs who will claim $50,000 is not too much to spend for a limited city car when Volt just doesn’t have i3’s limitations. Not at all.

Volt kind of pits the “electricity all the time and no compromise” people against free-thinkers who realize the EV charging infrastructure sucks right now and not all of us can by single-use cars.

BMW makes nice interiors, I’ll grant them that. If you look at the new FWD offerings they are coming out with based on the Mini platform – you’ll be impressed…Unless you want to drive one car and do most of your driving using electricity as fuel.

What limitations? Please elabotate… after 2500 miles, I didn’t encounter any limitation and that includes a 625 miles trip in the middle of winter.

I know, I own one, so me posting real life numbres must mean I’m bias… right?

What about the inability for the i3 to keep up with traffic speed when using the range extender? Edmunds is also biased because they also own one. Check their long term test. “At first the i3 climbed easily. But after about seven miles of steady climbing, my speed began to drop. By the time I reached the pass I was going only 30 mph with my foot to the floor. Apparently, I was in danger of overrunning the ability of the gasoline range extender to charge the battery.”

Did you read my post? I did a trip of over 600 miles, 3/4 was with the REX. I never encounter the limitation, in the mist of winter.

Is it possible to get in this situation? Yup, and that’s the only place where I fault BMW, the car should better inform/warn the driver.

It’s a car with a different target. If you always drive over 200 miles, go with the Volt. If you always drive around 100 miles or less and don’t want a 2nd car, the i3 Rex becomes a great option. You have a 2nd car and only want to commute, then plenty of options and your choice will be very personnal (price, service, technology) like any other car.

It’s just easier to bash then to praise. Look at James, never any suggestion, just bashing…

Actually, did you read your post? James points out that the i3 has limitations that the Volt doesn’t have for a much lower price. In your post, you asked to explain the limitations which I clearly pointed in mine. What suggestions do you expect from James? To tell BMW how to fix the i3? You say that James doesn’t praise BMW but he clearly praises their interiors and the new FWD model coming. Most of what James states are facts. Even if you drive 100 miles a day, if you live in an area with hills where your battery will be depleted, the i3 Rex is still a poor option not even considering the expensive price which is clearly stated in the Edmunds ownership experience.


As for James… he wants it all for less money then a Leaf, so please, don’t defend him.

Again, I’m just the poor guy that actually drive the car everyday in all conditions. And James is the guy that saw 2 i3 in the wild, never drove it, never sat in it. He is just happy copy/pasting what ever he saw somewhere on the web.

Since when a slight hill is an abnormal driving condition? You are just making up excuses now…

Who, When and Where? Facts!!

Here’s facts… over 600Miles, High Winds (facing). 3/4 on the Rex and plenty of hills. I drove respecting speed limits (yes, I know, it’s quite a concept)

Details here, use Google translate to get the details. You even have the elevation of my trip. Facts!!

Same facts as the Edmunds article I quoted. Just because they are YOUR facts on one trip doesn’t mean it’s not a real problem. We get it, you are defending your purchase, enjoy your i3.

I’m not defending anything. I’m just opposing real life use to a one day test drive where bloggers are chasing the limits and once they meet it they generalized them.

And they are doing with other cars, remembers the NY Times test drive of the Tesla?

My real life experience has the merit of putting all the data out there for you to judge. It may be as you say “only me” but at least I don’t hide any facts.

In these 2 cases, it’s not clear how they ended in this situation. The same happen in the UK and a blogger at end admited he was chasing for that condition to happen and went out of his way for it to happen.

I like Volt, but I love i3. It’s simply genious. And it’s carbon.
Driven both. Volt is a chepo Chevy, BMW=BMW. You can actually get a pretty much 5 series set up in i3…in a Volt there are no power seats…period.
i3 has a much more practical interior^ much better driving habits.
PHEV is always a compromise to me (though I like a power versions of it like my Volvo V60 PIH).
Volt is not right comparison to i3 IMHO. i3 would be a better comparison with eGolf, Leaf is way old, and KIA is no premium.

To be fair, that might be with a 120 V outlet. Though, you’d need to say as much if you wanted to practice good journalism ethics.

As to the range…all freeway driving in winter? Or perhaps he has a somewhat obtuse definition of “practical range?”

Well, if he’s testing it he probably only plugged into 110 (literally, since he probably also used a pressure draining extension cord), and then, if he floored it on the highway, he did probably only get 3 miles.

The 2 big bugaboos here are apparently the 2 gallon gas tank and the small engine. Why do high occupancy lanes in California have to hobble the rest of the country as well?

Now myself, I could live with the small engine, but the small gas tank would drive me nuts. I’d permanently carry around a 5 gallon gas can, although I’m not sure that’s strictly legal or not.

My Thoughts exactly. I could live with the small engine but the 1.9 Gallon gas tank is the deal breaker!

I actually drive one and liked it! My favorite thing about it is that it sits tall like a mini-SUV.

Too many negatives though:
1) It’s hard to in and out of the back seat (I think its easier to get in and out of the back seat of my Volt).
2) The rear doors (Need I say more)
3) The 1.9 Gallon gas tank
4) The price
5) Lacks an AM Radio

BMW should offer a California Rex package for CARB States and another version sold in the rest of the U.S. that offers a “mountain mode” to retain a larger battery buffer and a 8 to 10 gallon gas tank.

my interpretation of the detroit writer’s math is that he was stating that he had 20 miles of range in the gas tank and 5 miles of EV range. if he had filled the tank, he would have gotten about 25 more miles of range. when added to the 5 miles of EV range he would have gotten about 50 miles of range: about 30 miles more than he already had in the tank.

what i don’t understand is that statement about the Spark having twice the EV range of the i3…

Total lie.. standard 240V charger charges my i3 car in 3-4 Hrs. I do it everyday. With full charge at 75-80 miles/hr speed I get ~75 miles pure electric. REX gives you piece of mind from range anxiety. But i3 is not my all 4 wheel Acura MDX. Different cars have different applications. Not sure how this editor got hired at Autoweek !

Reminds me of the old days of Fox’s Neil Cavuto’s fact free hit pieces on the Volt.

Charging for 3 hours gave 5 miles of range? I find that unlikely, but even if true it suggests they are using 120V charging, which is a common problem with most EV reviews. How are the reviewers supposed to really get a feel for these cars when they do not have access to 240V charging? If he had a proper 240V station, he would gave gotten 60 miles of range, not 5.

And there are Spark EVs out there with 160 miles of range? Who knew?

Not necessarily too far of a stretch on 120… i know the Roadster and Model S would be in that ballpark after 3 hours in cold weather… at cold temps the car expends quite a bit of energy trying to keep the battery warm enough to receive a charge

I didn’t understand this statement. So Volts aren’t suppose to plug in?
“I got to the plug-in spot with 57 miles range remaining… And found all plugs plugged in. OC residents with Chevy Volts who didn’t need the electricity to get home were freeloading off the system.”

Wow, that statement (which seems to be retracted) just shows that the Volt can’t get any love from the ICE drivers, who think it was made from bailout money, and BEV drivers, who think it shouldn’t have the right to plug-in at public charging locations.

The quote is from “WEST COAST EDITOR MARK VAUGHN”, in the Autoweek review.

Well, it is a bit obnoxious for Volts to hog chargers when they don’t need them. Especially when they are done charging and just blocking others from getting a charge. This is why chargers should NOT be free.

i think what he is stating is that Volt drivers should leave the public charging stations to be available for BEV drivers who can’t choose to wait to recharge as Volt owners can.

That ridiculous – how does one know if any BEV taking up a charging spot actually needs the charge to get home? Could just be doing an opportunity charge for all anyone knows.

If I own a plug in car, and there’s a plug available, guess what? I’m plugging in.

Mark’s comment is like complaining about other handicap drivers parking in all of the handicap spots, because he’s more handicapped than they are.

Maybe they should have more spots and/or make the cords longer. I don’t have a problem w/someone moving the cord after I have a full charge.

At least at the place Mark was talking about, they had a valet that could rearrange the cars and plug them in.

Just seems silly to complain about people because they chose to buy a car that has a range extender so they wouldn’t have to worry about those types of situations.

Go get them kdawg. 🙂

If there is is plug, I am pluging in also.

I did not buy a Volt to burn gas. The range extender is for emergency use and trips, not everyday driving.


Well said, kdawg.

Those who buy the Volt do so for the same reason BEV owners do: To us as little gasoline as possible.

BEV drivers don’t have any “more” right to a plug-in charger than a PHEV driver. In fact, there’s an counter-argument to be made that the Volt owner should get priority over, say, a Leaf, because his EV range is lower.

A bunch of selfish garbage. if you want to drive on electricity then buy a pure electric. Don’t hog a resource just because you’re too cheap to buy a long range ev and too cheap to buy gas.

Agreed, but I leave a note with a cell number to text if I was opportunity charging.

I just did test drives of the i3 and Spark back to back. The i3 is much nicer. The Spark is a torque monster but IMO it doesn’t have the suspension to support it. On the other hand the current generation Volt is vastly superior. The next generation Volt will be even better still. Is that because GM turns out vastly superior cars? Not really. It’s because the Volt was designed for what people want. The i3? It was designed for what the whacky staff at CARB thinks people should have. For example, the next generation Volt has a larger engine so the range extender experience is as close to the experience of driving in EV mode as is possible. The i3? You get an intentionally crippled range extender not because it makes sense but because the CARB staff wanted the range extender experience to be horrible to discourage people from using it. Not surprisingly using the range extender is less than satisfying. Shame on CARB for coming up with this abomination. I’d say shame on BMW for agreeing to compromise the car but it probably needs the CARB credits. Even if the design is necessary, it’s a shame all… Read more »

Nobody forced BMW to offer the crippled motorcycle engine powered car. Only BMW is to blame.

The rules were negotiated at the request of BMW so that they could get Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) credits for a gasoline powered car.

Frankly, I agree with you (but for totally different reasons); no car that burns gasoline should get ZEV credits. None.

Extended Range doesnt have to burn gasoline, and it surely doesn’t need to be an under 40hp 650cc twin cyclinder motorcycle engine.

I don’t get the CARB blaming. It was BMW that lobbied CARB to create the BEVx category and draft the requirement. BMW could have been like GM and accepted that the car was a PHEV for compliance purposes, but obviously they didn’t do that.

Most of the provisions were created mainly to exclude the Volt from the category (which GM was extremely unhappy about, while BMW was the opposite). BMW has no one to blame but themselves (they can’t have their cake and eat it too).

Does anyone know how much money BMW gets per ZEV credit?

They meant over 60mm, on Tesla’s latest quarter. The i3 was created by BMW to avoid being among those feeding Tesla’s kitty.

actually, 5 miles to 3 hours of charge was exactly what I experienced in my first week, plugged into a 120 volt wall outlet and with the car still in its default setting of “low” for level 1 charging. My salesperson was foolish enough to tell me you can just plug into any wall outlet and fully charged within 3 hours, my iGenius told me something must be wrong so bring the car in for a loaner, while I scrambled to get a level 2 EVSE installed. Sounds like Mr. Lingeman ended up getting the same team of buffoons to help him learn his i3 as I did. Except as a car guy writing for a car mag, you don’t just stop at your first team of buffoons and call it quits.

But then his impression was CORRECT.

And most people in USA will get SAME first impression.

For EU it wont be as such, as we have 230V as standard.

So his review is IMPORTANT. Since dealerships fail at delivering important information to their customers (but not at supplying endless stream of “change Your oil” spam), others must.

Charging stations are optional in EU. Seam to be mandatory in USA.

I agree with you, IF this guy is just a random guy walking off the street and decided to write an article about cars for the first time ever.

But he has a title of “Associate Editor” of “Autoweek.” So why is he acting like just some random guy off the street???

The charging speed option in the i3 (low, high,etc.) is poorly documented and gives no indication. While it is disappointing that a car reviewer wouldn’t try to understand what is going on, it frankly is BMW’s fault for having such a goofy charging system.

There’s an owners manual, and there’s google.

An idiot has no excuse.
Maybe his Exxon Stock may have an an effect on his “professionalism”.

Why do these auto journalists get away with doing absolutely No Research, this is the laziest profession on earth.

Everytime you power off the car, it reminds you that you the level you are charging (Low, Medium, High). If you can’t read the screen, that’s a problem. And you can change it from that screen.

A friend has an i3 REx that I drove on a lot of occasions. This article is a hack job either written by narrow minded people or by people with an agenda. The i3 is a car with a special appeal to people that like modernity (my friend is an architect).
I commend BMW for the fiber carbon body, for the futuristic interior. To me, the REx is well done. Yeah, maybe in the 0.5% of the cases of long climbs with low battery one ends up with limited power. So what, there is no car built for 100% of the cases, or we’ll all end up buying tanks because “maybe I need one” against the zombies…

Any repairs yet?
How big are bills for repairs to the body of car?

Eg. aluminum repairs is not cheap. Is carbon comparable to non-EVs materials?

As I’ve oft reminded, i3 is not made of carbon fiber. It’s safety cage and floorpan are made of molded plastic with one layer of carbon fiber glued in-between. This is known as CFRP, and the questions re: body repair expense are valid.

BMW scammed the SAE and IIHS by telling them body repair costs for i3 were approx. the same as a steel-bodied 2 Series. No way. Once the insurance industry realizes i3 body repair is akin to totaling the entire car for a fender bender – insurance rates will skyrocket. highlights repair procedures for i3 and i8 which includes special technicians, special training and proprietary jigs and tools. At a BMW dealer? Are you nuts? This equals big, big bucks.

James oh! James

It’s special car, for special people… it’s just not for you. You clearly whish it was (hence all the rent and venting you are doing), but it’s not.

Repairs, well I have choice trusting an hangry man (that’s you) or BMW who wouldn’t spent 1B$ of a new fabrication process without thinking how to fix it.

The few that were in high speed accident (go check the Facebook group), praise how the car was secure. Most of the damage & repair being done to front & back and rarely the CFRP. Yet you seem to suggest the CFRP always need repair. Well let me tell you this, if any care need to fix its structure, it will be costly (and will often be tagged as total lost). The fact the CFRP cage is as strong and even stronger then other material seem irrelevent in your commments.

You are a sad man… you need to move on.

Why are repairs such a big deal? Unless you are driving uninsured, it’s your insurance problem. I know about the premiums but they change from city to city and state to state so I don’t think that’s the point.

i3’s production line was developed to use robots for nearly every process, halving the number of human employees needed. Then, the battery pack chosen for i3 was intentionally small. To get an 80 mile BEV, heavy lightweighting materials and bonding procedures were developed. Some here claim we should bow down to BMW for making i3 “the most efficient EV”. How is it efficient when all BMW did is make the car cheap for them to produce, but expensive for you to buy?

I can buy a LEAF to get 80 miles AER and seat one more person in back with more cargo storage. Then I wouldn’t have to mess with teaching my passengers the procedure for using the back doors and listening to BMW tell me it’s worth the price because it’s a “premium brand”!

You may believe the hype that i3 is quick and high performance. Brits did a track test with a $14,000 hot hatch Suzuki vs. i3. The Suzuki beat the i3 around the track by 3 seconds! i3 feels quick because it’s electric. It feels responsive because it is twitchy and darty. Look at the high roof and 20″ skinny tires!

So tell me how i3 is worth $50,000.

Maybe BMW wants to actually make a profit on battery electric vehicles versus automakers like Nissan and Ford who may not have ever made a single dollar of profit on EV’s. For that matter, once you add up R&D costs, it’s difficult to establish with any certainty whether the EV fan favorite Tesla has done anything but lose money on EV’s.

Why is the iPhone worth 800$?

That’s why you should vote with your wallet, I buy what I like, not because of the brand but because I think it’s worth my hard earned money. That’s why I don’t own an i3 or an iPhone.

“Sadly, the AutoWeek review of the BMW i3 sort of sums up the regional differences in the U.S. As a Detroiter myself, electric car spottings are few and far between (again aside from the Chevy Volt). Furthermore, the general consensus among the public here is that electric cars really have no place in the automotive industry. It’s unfortunate, but true.”

It’s not a conspiracy. Here’s the deal: Detroit area has a lot of high speed freeway driving (when the weather is nice) mixed with typical stop-and-go patterns. We also have brutally cold winters. Any EV that is successful here must have decent range at low temps and be able to provide good range at 70mph.

The issue is 3 hours of charging and 5 miles of range.
That’s journalistic incompetence.

But, otherwise, yes, a Volt would be best in your area and Canada. Really does point out that GM designed the Volt for the whole of America, not just the US southern states.

3 hours of 120v charging on a Model S or Roadster at cold temps would only get about 5 miles range… keeping the battery warm enough saps a lot of the energy… but these guys clearly didn’t even try to have a normal experience

I would disagree.

It WAS normal experience.

No faulty battery, no faulty cable, no faulty connector, nor any faulty power line.

But what should come next in that interview, is analysis. Only last thereof put this journalist at fault. Weakness, REALLY is there to point at!
In USA. EU have 230V as standard.
(“people 120V aren’t going to cut it, You should really buy home charging stations” – or something similar)

One subtle difference that really showed up during this review is that the VOlt makes extremely wise use of gasoline during cold weather (all the jacket heat of the engine basically goes to keep the battery and occupants warm – which the driver can optimise by anticipating the engine starting and remaining cold for a bit or windshield a bit frosted and await for the engine to start with the heater controls on ‘fan only’ but taking every bit of hot water generated and using it for the cabin heat.) Whereas, the 2 cylinder engine in cold weather, spends most of its horsepower running an electric heater, which makes heating the I3 the most wasteful gasoline consumer there is, since none of its jacket heat makes it to the battery or cabin. And so that leaves even less power available for the car to make it up a hill. And then with the 2 gallon gas tank which gets used up in a hurry apparently since if the heater is on high the thing will suck gas like crazy. So if you want either performance, or mileage, which there is little of either to begin with, you have to shiver,… Read more »

Yet unsurprisingly BMW charges extra for the home station, as it obviously doesn’t come standard. The journalist simply used what was provided with the car.

I believe that’s only in Britain. In the states I’m led to believe they provide you with a 115 volt 12 amp charger brick. The battery is only 1/2 the size of one in a Volt, isn’t it?

Scratch that VOlt comment; I thought I was still talking about the I8.

So the thing the BMW dealers offer is a $1200 32 amp 7.2 kw EVSE? Or do they suggest you get your own elsewhere?

I want to see a “Chevrolet Spark EVs that have double the range”

the “EPA range” of the i3 Rex is 72. they list the spark range as 82. not sure how that’s double….

Ok. Here is the math for You.

Spark is 82? They did review on it, and even recommend it instead of i3 Rex.


5 + 30 = 35
35* 2 = 70

70<80 So the math is correct!

Though I'm NOT saying that comparison is fair. Same power socket that was used to charge i3 would equally HORRIBLE at charging Spark! And maybe weather was different between tests.

Basicly, he doesn’t say any lies.
He just not do a professional journalism.
This is no different than many, many mainstream press.
Mainly subject that would be interrestingly disruptive of bad habit, get burn down just by share lazyness and sometime by personal interest.
To be honest, everybody here is just asking for better EV, so this part is fair, but he doesn’t have to step on it as a piece of s.. that is not.

One thing I have to say is why must we always accuse others of lieing? Brian Williams did lie about a relatively random helicopter incident, but then other journalists became a wolf-pack and eat their own. Meanwhile, I have not seen so much outright lieing by NPR, and public broadcasting in general, and by the NY Times and Washington Post over the Ukraine Coup D’Etat and the (lack of) Russian Reaction. When Russia Reacts for real, then you will know it. Right now, John Kerry wants to ‘arm the Ukrainian Gov’t’ – you know, the one that overthrew the real gov’t . All Russia has to say, is that, THAT is an internationally recognized ACT OF WAR, and therefore, by the time your supplies arrive in Ukraine, there will be no army left to re-arm. OF Course, NyTIMES’ Judith Miller basically told lies every day about Sadam Hussein’s WMD, and ‘lied the country into war’, so anything the NYT says should be automatically suspect. Its basically more of an honest mistake in the EV world and not the same here. People in Los Angeles (especially EV journalists) do not realize how hobbling a lowly car heater is to the total… Read more »
“the CAR HEATER is the most important device in the entire car, and also by far the biggest energy consumer,” Well if you mean just after the traction motor, then it’s the primary consumer. And if you also meant that this is the biggest thing EV manufacturer should improve or have done proper ingeniering firsthand, you’re right! But they did not, even the EV-1 primely built for Cal, did have a heat pump that the Leaf didn’t have until it’s third year production. They haven’t done their homework in air infiltration, heat recycling, insulation, heating up the batteries at functional temperature, didn’t study other type of heating like IR or driver directed flow and transparent film heater to defog the windows. No, they just build their EV the same way an ICE is built totally ignoring that one has too much heat to dissipate and the other too scarse energy to waste. So, while I love my Leaf, I’ll say it piss me off to see how poorly they look at an issue that will repel almost everyone who might appreciate some heat without cutting the range in two. And, strangly, tha might goes down to some southern state more… Read more »
I’m in the same boat. I love my LEAF but I’m fairly disappointed with the energy inefficiency in the winter. For a first attempt at a cheap electric car, they did an OK job. But we are now 4 years into production and there are still some obvious improvements that need to be made. My car let me down last night in -15F conditions. It didn’t leave me stranded, but I had to make a detour and stop at home and switch cars. 30 miles. That’s how far my car will go when it’s -15F with a 100% charge while using the heater (you can’t NOT use the heater, or else you will freeze to death in -15F). The car is not practical in these conditions. Electric cars should really shine in extreme conditions. My coworkers were talking about waking up a few times last night to heat up their gas cars so they would start in the morning. I think of my LEAF, how it heats its battery if it gets too cold, and preheats the cabin in the morning- without my intervention. But I can’t say my car is any better- because it’s not. 30 miles on a… Read more »
i think that the writer of this article is mistaken in believing that there is a “detroit” attitude toward EVs, after all, he seems to acknowledge that the Volt sells fairly well in the detroit area – although, i suspect that the writer mistakenly assumes that is due to detroit-bias. from my reading of the autoweek comments, it appears to me that the writers are considering the bmw i3 rex to be comparable to the chevrolet Volt. the cars are not comparable: if you are using the Volt as the standard, the bmw i3 is probably not going to look very good because the Volt does what it does a lot better than the i3 does what the Volt does. in other words, the Volt offers a level of flexibility that is more in line with what drivers of ICE vehicles have come to expect; the bmw i3 does not this level of flexibility. the bmw i3 rex is still fundamentally a BEV, with many of the limitations that many would see as coming with a BEV. the gasoline generator in the i3 rex should be considered as a safety value to rescue you from getting stranded in the event… Read more »

Even Level 1 charging should yield 4 to 5 miles of range per hour of charge. Only 5 miles in 3 hours indicates something wrong with the charging setup; possibly a premature termination.

It would have been perfectly okay to note that someone unfamiliar with EVs might have a problem figuring out the proper charging setup, and that there’s a learning curve there. But it’s at best very misleading — if not an outright lie — to say “I charged for three hours and only got five miles of range!” as though this is a limitation of the car.


I had my Tesla ROadster in my attached garage plugged in at 3pm. By 5:30 pm it still had yet to START charging.. What was it doing for the past 2 1/2 hours? Why running the 1000 watt battery heater, reaching 95% completion..

After going to the store, on coming back out the Battery was getting cold enough to turn the NO REGENERATION light back on. So if I wanted to actually CHARGE the battery, I’d have to plug it in for ANOTHER heating session. Prior to any actual charging. It is that cold around here.

Thank you, Bill. I learned something today.

I guess all those people who say that a Level 1 charger is perfectly adequate for many people… must live where it never gets really cold in the winter.

The problem exists only to my knowledge in Tesla products. I have heard no users describe what happens to their I3’s on 120, or 110, or whatever it happens to be. Teslas, Rav4evs, and Mercedes-B all, per their spec sheets, are horribly inefficient at 110. And as bad as that is, it is worse in my ‘transformered’ (sport and 2.5 version) roadster Power Electronics Module. I’m not sure why, but the juice must go thru more semi’s when on 110, since the inverter/rectifier seems to heat inordinately when on 110, and, unlike the model S where there is only around a 30-40% efficiency penalty on 110, and my roadster it is around one – half the efficiency of charging at 220. Now the roadster (as I say, I can only speak fot the transformered, and not the transformerless PEMS that they used at first), is also only most efficient at 7-10 kw charging rates, whereas all OTHER tesla charging products (rav4ev, etc) are equally efficient, at least if the respective spec sheets are to be believed). The point I’m unsure of, is that since both my Roadster and VOlt make sure the battery isn’t too cold prior to charging, have… Read more »

you also get fewer miles/kwh in colder weather (due to having to run the heater). 4-5 miles of range per charging hours is more like what i get when recharging in warmer weather; and i recharge at 12A.

Incorrect facts and out of context usage all adds up to be bad journalism for sure.

But two important points emerge from the journalistic chaff:

First, there is a tacit acknowledgement that the Volt works well and works everywhere. These guys are probably more representative of ‘joe average’ than we’d like to think, so that’s a positive for electrification.

Secondly, it clearly shows the i3 REx compromises require too many special accommodations and will never be accepted by ‘joe average’, or even some enthusiasts in this forum who often lament the compromised REx operation. The i3 BEV works (in the same manner as all the other sub-100 mile BEVs), but the REx is simply not good enough in its current form.

BMW i3 looks like a toy, I’ll stick with my 2012 Leaf.

I’ve driven both. The Leaf is a boat to the i3’s precision.

No better “EV” than the Volt except the Model S


Both are real cars that can do anything an ICE car can, and are not “weird-mobiles” like the i3 and Bolt.


West Coast Editor Mark Vaughn has been with AutoWeek a long time and is legit. These other two “Associate Editors” are the culprits — they are probably glorified interns who were allowed to add content and somebody (the editor) didn’t catch their assinine remarks and uninformed comments. This is the new world– editorial standards are lower now that content has to be written and delivered every day. AutoWeek has gone from a very successful Weekly to a Monthly to a blip in your InBox. It’s just a blog now, and that will happen to all these publications over time. So choose your blog, read, and comment — it’s a transparent world now where we can have a voice and respond back to the people who deliver the news to us.

I don’t pretend to know the details, nor have I had any direct experience with the i3, but a statement like “I charged it for three hours and only got 5 miles of range” is, if not actually a lie, at best very misleading. If that’s technically a true statement, then clearly there was something wrong with the charging setup. Also, it’s true that the American version of the REx option for the i3 is crippled. But it’s rather unfair to review the i3 as if it was actually designed to be a PHEV. The BMW i3 was designed to be a BEV, and any review should focus on that. Not on the operation in range-extended driving mode, using a gas generator which is only an added accessory. Mind, you, I’m rather disappointed with BMW in that it only offers (EPA rated) 81 miles of EV range, making it little if any better than a Leaf in that respect, but at a substantially higher price. I’m also quite disappointed with BMW in choosing to cripple the REx option just so they can get more California carbon credits. That demonstrates contempt for their customers. But the article in question isn’t an… Read more »

No comment on the review, but I took an i3 for an extended test drive and disliked it overall.

* Weird placement of controls (like Drive!)
* Always beeping at me. I am sure it’s possible to turn off some of this stuff but it was ridiculous. The seatbelt beep starts 1 second after you start the car. Parking is a complete cacophony. It even beeps if you’re “tailgating.” Please just leave me alone.
* The suicide doors are just plain useless and stupid. These are a dealbreaker in and of themselves.
* The trunk is too small to hold a bag of clubs.

It was definitely going back in time getting back into my 2012 Leaf, but I will not consider an i3 when my lease is up.

Call me odd- but I love my i3 BEV. I also love to see what’s coming out from other car makers like Kia, VW and Tesla to name a few. Point being- EVs are the future and this is the beginning. BMW builds premium cars and I’m fortunate to have owned a few. The i3 was built as an urban car- not to compete with tesla (that’s for the i5). What a lot of oil loving fanatics forget is that technology changes constantly and I think we will be seeing amazing new advances in battery and charging technology very soon. Ive owned several Bimmers, American cars and a 911 (still have it) and Ive never seen such an advanced car like the i3.

Anyone mention how ugly this thing is 🙂

I saw my 2nd one in the wild ( in four months ) and I was literally astounded how ugly it was.

BMW has a compelling new product today – only slated for sale in Europe but not here — yet. The 2 Series Gran Tourer has compact size, yet FWD, providing a flat floor. Now I know it’s blasphemy for a BMW to
roll propelled by it’s front wheels — But this little jewel, sitting on BMW’s Mini platform has incredible versatility. Available with a diesel, it has 3 row seating with actual trays with cupholders for the kids that fold down, and a center fold down section offering even more versatility for long items. If i3 had this platform and a larger battery pack – it may make Tesla sweat. Instead, i3 is an oddity that really has no niche to carve.

I agree it is ugly and designed to not compete against ICE BMW.

James oh! James… are you telling us you never actually drive the car… that merely saw it in the wild, that you have been renting and venting over this car and never tried it?

I will let you in a little secret (well it’s not really a secret), you can test drive the i3 for 3 full days. Who else is doin that?

As for the look, it is different. I love the interior and the exterior is growing on me. The format makes it a great city car.

Looks is very subjective, but I’m not the only who likes it, BMW seems to able to sell the car as fast as they can build it.

I am curious why EV fans are so against designing the EV car to take advantage of what an EV design allows. The battery is in the floor of the vehicle to put the weight down low, and thus a long front hood is not needed as there is no tall ICE to account for. A long hood has long been associated with performance cars like Ferrari’s, Mustangs, BMW’s, and so on, but, this design has no purpose in a BEV. Frankly, it makes EV fans come across as 12 year old boys when they complain about things like this. You want EV’s and efficient transportation: here it is. Oh, you want it to look like a Mustang?? Get a life.

I’d have to agree.

Attention all auto-makers:
I don’t want an EV that doesn’t look like a prop from a Sci-Fi movie.

I want a car that looks like a car.

Not knowing how to charge an EV (timely) is equal to being an incompetent EV-driver and news editor. Read a book or watch a You-tube tutorial before stepping outside mr Autoweek!

Oh great, another “Steven”.

This is going to get confusing.

I can see about 1/3 the posters here have never even considered what happens to an EV when it is charged up in the cold.

Since the Leaf doesn’t have much of a battery management system, it must jeopardize the life of the batteries by trying to charge them when they are frozen. Do any Leaf owners here see permanent damage due to charging in the cold?

The VOLT masks the problem in 2 ways”

1). It says it is Charging, when it is really HEATING, plus it apparently can muster the full 3300 watts of a hot water heater to quickly bring the smallish battery up to temperature.

2). If you immediately plug in when the battery is dead, and the engine has run a bit, the ENGINE HEAT has been used to keep the battery up to temperature, so that if you plug in right away the battery can immediately charge up.

My Roadster heater, on a huge battery, is only 1000 watts. Therefore “charging” takes forever, and a 70 amp EVSE wont help you.

Didn’t know about a 3.3 kw battery heater in the Volt, neither that 1 kw take so long to heat up your Roadster.
It just prove my point anyway.
Bad or no engineering went into this topic.
Just good insulation of the pack with temperature management would do good. Heating an cooling ain’t no rocket science.
BTW no sign of degradation yet on my MY2012 Leaf with 70 000 km+ and lot of draining it to the bone in very cold climate. -25c° or such.
It make me think that lot of fuss about thermal issue with the Leaf battery are overblown. In my case it certainly is.

People tell me the water heater in the volt is around 6000 watts, which I would imagine is unregulated.. Now, since I’ve never seen a cold volt go DOWN in battery bars while at first charging, I’m assuming the thing limits the speed of the heating to whatever the juice coming in is.
(Either 900, 1300, or 3300 watts).

If this article is reflective of the views in Detroit then Detroit will continue to crash and burn with their continued arrogance.

Well said. When children of auto-press writers try to hold magazines for combustion ransom, all they eventually succeed in will be turning a previously fine weekly into another version of Classic Car. Lineage goes back for some of Autoweak’s writers, like Vaughn. Dutch Mandel is right there, over-seeing the effort, making sure the FUD of autonomy gets maximized as he shoots for his 30th year.

What will become of the Detroit dilettante, when the demand for the sand in his box goes away? It’ll be 2020, before these guys get the kwh. In the mean time, its deny, deny, deny, that IEVs, or the urban, non-Detroit, commute even exists. I suppose honest journalism is too threatening, if it stands to take the 8 minute ‘Ring pig out of your hands.

Not digging these Associate Editor fealty tests. They probably made them wear orange. There are better places to work.


The nonsense directed at the BMW REX is astounding. The vehicle isn’t designed or advertised as a hybrid. It is an electric car with an emergency range extender. If the REX is running, you’ve run out of electricity. You are lucky to be moving at all. If you run out of gas in an ICE vehicle, it doesn’t move. Complaining about this expected result is and should be viewed as ridiculous. Complaining about the possibility of limping on the REX is equally ridiculous. If you want the i3 to perform at full capability, go charge up. It is an electric car not a hybrid. When you’ve run out juice you are limited to what the REX can offer. It is a feature. The only real problem with this BMW implementation of the REX is that it is totally hamstrung by CARB compliance requirements. Those compliance requirements act counter to CARB’s stated goals. The REX should come on long before the vehicle runs out of juice. It should run in advance to prevent running out of juice. With a real gas tank (7 gallons?) and immediately availability upon starting the vehicle, 80 mile EVs with REX could easily provide 200+ miles… Read more »

With the colder weather in the UK we are effected by the range, we tested the i3 on a warm day around 18oC and got 80 miles range, on a cold day 5oC it went down to 55 miles. Yes we did have the heating on and this will have affected the results.