UPDATE: BMW Cancels Range-Extender Option For i3 In Europe

OCT 4 2018 BY MARK KANE 177

BMW i3 REx hits dead end.

There will be no range-extender offered for the 2019 BMW i3.

***UPDATE: We’ve received confirmation that the i3 REx will continue to be sold in the U.S., but not in Europe (WLTP cited as reason for cancellation).

It seems that the new 2019 BMW i3 with its 42.4 kWh battery (instead 33.2 kWh) has enough range not to bother with that emitting range-extender. BMW announced that it will cease production of the i3 Range Extender.

We assumed that the REx version would still be available because the i3 REx was still listed in the 2019 model year specification. However, BMW doesn’t say anything about REx for the 2019 model year on its websites.

“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.”

It’s possible that decision to kill the REx versions was made after the introduction of the 44.2 kWh battery, when the feedback encouraged BMW to go all-electric only. The decision may be WLTP based, too.

The range-extender option was one of the most expensive ones. A 650cc motorcycle engine combined with a generator provided 25 kW of power for about 100 km (62 miles) – limited by a very small tank capacity – of rather slow driving in the case of a discharged main battery (REx was turning on before the battery was fully depleted).

Sales data already shows that the 33.2 kWh was significantly more popular than the REx version anyways (it was 50/50 in case of 22 kWh battery).

So, say goodbye to the BMW i3 REx. It’ll be a rarity in the future, so it’s value may now increase in the used marketplace.

2019 BMW i3/i3s specs and official chart (per BMW’s press release):

  • 42.2 kWh battery
  • 8 modules with 12 cells each (120 Ah lithium-ion cells)
  • Typical range 260 km (162 miles), expected EPA result of around 246 km (153 miles)
  • WLTP range : 285-310 km (177-193 miles) / 270-285 km (168-177 miles)
  • NEDC range : 359 km (223 miles) / 330-345 km (205-214 miles)
  • electric motors: 125 kW / 135 kW
  • 0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds / 6.8 seconds
  • 0-100 km/h: 7.3 seconds / 6.9 seconds
  • 80-120 km/h: 5.1 seconds / 4.3 seconds
  • on-board charger: 7.4 kW single-phase or 11 kW three-phase
  • DC fast charging: 0-80% in 42 minutes at 50 kW

Source: Autocar

Categories: BMW

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177 Comments on "UPDATE: BMW Cancels Range-Extender Option For i3 In Europe"

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Well my bladder holds more liquids than the Rexs’ tank 😀

Yep, Byorn agrees, Bladder Anxiety is real!


That graph shows clearly that the demand is shifting towards BEV as the capacity of the battery pack increases.

With the 42.2 kWh battery pack the difference will be even greater.

BMW buyers what that extra .2 second to 60. :^)


BEV is King.

Time to change your screen name.

The author, Mark has just posted this update:

***UPDATE: We’ve received confirmation that the i3 REx will continue to be sold in the U.S., but not in Europe.

REX is still King.


It seems pointless to me.

Then don’t buy one 🙂

Seriously, there always will be people, who want to wander off into an EV charger desert. Not every EV will have a REx, but some will – recently I read about Mazda considering its rotary engine in the REx function for a would-be PHEV of theirs.

Rex is still king until 200 miles BEV

Well, I guess it’s a good thing there is already the Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace, Porsche Taycan, Hyundai Kona EV, Kia Niro EV, Chevy Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3 SR, Tesla Model 3 LR, Tesla Model S(60 to 100), Tesla Model X(60 to 100). Am I missing any?
Oh yeah, at some point Nissan Leaf is getting a 60kWh battery from LG Chem that gives it 225 mile range(more likely it will be the 64kWh drivetrain used in the Kona and Niro, and 260 mile range).

I guess BEV is king now (-:

They are giving up on a lot of markets that prefer the REx? I guess if they don’t actually want to sell more cars…

Do Not Read Between The Lines

The trend line make it pretty obvious: the additional range has led to more BEV sales, while REx sales have remained flat. There’s no real benefit continuing with the i3 REx.

It doesn’t preclude revisiting EREV in the future, but continuing with the current i3 REx is pointless.

In Germany maybe (where the graph is taken from). What about US? You are probably right though, most of those buyers will flee to Model 3 regardless if REx is there or not.

The i3 will remain production limited. The US only receives what is necessary for CARB and a tiny contingent beyond.
There is no point stocking the car in the US if all units can be sold in a build to order market.

In the US, I hear that REx is about 2/3 of i3 sales, maybe even higher.

I lay in Europe but not here in the states

Can you tell me which markets you are referring to? Because even in Germany the REx version is only about a third of the sales for the current version with 33 kWh. In Norway, the BEV i3 outsold the REx i3 by about 1000:1, if I’m not mistaken. Therefore, please name at least five markets that have sales of more than five BMW i3 vehicles so far this year, where the REx is outselling the BEV version.

BMW doesn’t advertise the split. My guess is US is still more REx, South Africa probably is too. My point is they are yielding a specific part of the market. In the US that was likely going to Tesla regardless if they offered it or not.

“My guess”

Rolls eyes.

Educated guess (just means I don’t have hard evidence but a lot of anecdotal evidence). According to BMW dealers in the US, they already have production allocation of 2019 REx models, so sounds like concerns are unfounded. Markets that like the REx still have it. This makes a lot more sense to me, and also supports that my “guess” is accurate.

Some dealers say a lot of things that are not necessarily true when it is about BEV and PHEV, and then try to sell you a diesel powered car instead. Just saying.
I’d rather trust the official BMW announcement on the matter.

This wasn’t just a random person asking a random dealer. It was a dealership employee posting on the i3 Facebook page… and based on the update in the article, he was right. REx remains for the US.

Here, you dropped these

That’s two markets you named and South Africa is not really amongst the biggest EV markets worldwide.
Also, your guess is not really hard evidence, I bet BMW made the decision based on market research and facts.
For the 22 kWh version, BEV:REx was about 1:2. That reversed with the upgrade to 33 kWh for all markets that have numbers except Norway, where the REx became a curiosity in new car registrations as of last year already.
By increasing to 44 kWh, hardly anyone will want to buy a REx in the other markets, too, and at that point it becomes to expensive to make a handful of them and jump to all the hoops of certification and complexity of production.

How many i3 owners do you know or have talked to. I have talked to at least 5 in Colorado and only 1 had REx ( they go from front-range to keystone and are waiting for their TM3).

I a lot of i3 are Rex in Ohio. Charging is very limited here

Whenever I search dealer inventory, they’re almost all REx. A BEV i3 is rare.

US and Canada. By far the majority are REX

Here in colorado, 4 out of 5 owners were BEV. And we do a LOT of driving here.

United States 🇺🇸 Canada 🇨🇦

“Only a third” is still a hell of a lot of the market. BMW has more data than we do, but I’m still very much surprised. The REx made the car usable as a long-range car at least occasionally.

I would still expect a 42kWh+REx version (assuming same additional price for the REx) to capture 15%-20% of sales, and given that this is an already-designed, already-in-production car (assuming no changes but the battery for 42kWh), the overhead costs for BMW to provide a REx should be minimal (esp. since they’ll be doing it for the USA anyway). Interesting decision.

They can sell the extra cars in Norway. They don’t buy the range extender anyway, due to taxes. .

If they wanted to sell more cars, they’d electrify the 3-Series. The whole point of the i3 was that BMW didn’t want to canabilize the gas 3-series sales and now they are losing market share to the Tesla Model 3.

The market is actually quite small for REx. In fact, the only truely useful one, would be for off-road, EMS type vehicles.
For day2day run-on-the-road vehicles? Nope.
Only fools buy those.

I don’t understand the use case of an i3 REx, so it must be only fools that buy them.

How did you embed the image?

That was in Germany, the size of New Jersey. Try the marketplace of the US

Interesting. I would have expected them to continue producing the REx until the BEV reached at least 200 miles (EPA). I guess this just confirms that the 40kWh Leaf really does have “enough” range for most markets. It’s that pesky US market that really wants more.

They could even offer a 60 or 94 Ah REx and 120 Ah BEV, would mean more buyers, but maybe they don’t actually want more.

Edit: Not just US, several other markets too.

I think the <150mi (in EPA) terms i3 is simply too expensive for most people for a shorter-range car.

It’s probably a totally psychological thing – you need 200. Not miles necessarily. Not km necessarily. Just 200 whatever the local people care about. 40 kWh leaf finally clears 200 km (and not just by a hair, like they tried claiming the 30 kWh did under NEDC.) 60 kWh will finally clear 200 miles EPA.

Are you saying that BMW needs to dial it up to 11?

Why not make 10 the 11? Because it’s 11.

It is also due to incentives. In Europe, the incentives for BEV version is far higher than the REx version.

So much for the i3. In the US most are REx, it was a distinguishing feature for purchase. They should at least keep it on the smaller battery, i.e. offer a 94 Ah REx and 120 Ah BEV.

I just made a 130 mile round trip drive yesterday in my REx that the 120 Ah BEV wouldn’t have been able to complete. Driving into 30 mph headwinds at 70 mph really drains the battery fast. To drive 60 miles took me 2 gallons of gas and about 4 kWh of electricity, the 120 Ah would get less than 100 miles in that case. With cold temps it would be even worse.

Well, I sort of suspect that will be the last year for the i3 regardless. They probably have something better to replace it in 2020.

Na, BMW is the releasing the REX in the North American market

Bad decision, the REX is useful when:
1) You are far from home and only have 120v chargers available.
2) You go to a charger and it’s ICEd.
3) You go to a charger and it’s broke.
4) You go to a charger and they’re all taken, this should start to become more common.

The REX allowed for none of these to bother you.
But, it was only “quiet” on the highway where you couldn’t hear it.

But, only BMW knows the reliability of the system, and the demand.
In the US BMW is only importing 6,000, so it may not be economic to stock the parts, vs. it’s actual real world usefulness.

But, the idea was PURE GENIUS.
Putting the gas system only as a backup system, and using the battery 99% of the time.
This allowed most trips to be electric, but, still the car was capable of driving into rural USA.

I was hoping to see this option on the i4 too.
Doesn’t look like that will occur.

All of those are easily answered by realizing people are only buying an i3 because it’s a BMW. People making rational choices buy a Tesla.

LOL. But, it’s incredibly easy to drive/sprint and park in the city, with a great ride.
If I never drove into a city Tesla would be my top choice.
Tesla clearly shines on long highway drives with it’s top quality charging infrastructure.
Tesla doesn’t need a REX, everyone else does.

The i3 was designed to get non BMW drivers specifically. Many BMW owners don’t like it at all. It is 5 years old now, and many of the owners are going to Model 3.

The i3 is still much more maneuverable in a crowded city than a Model 3. If you don’t need range or tech advantage of Model 3 it could make sense. Personally, I will change my i3 REx in for a Tesla in a few years as I live in more suburban area with frequent longer trips..

My i3 was the first new BMW I owned. One was enough for me…

Your comment is rather ambiguous. One was enough and you will never buy another one again or one was enough to convince you that BMWs are great?

One was enough that I’ll never buy one again.

get tired of seeing your paycheck go to BMW instead of the oil company?

Lol, I was not foolish enough to own it outside of the warranty.

Outside of warranty? How is that possible?

I bought a 2014 i3Rex USED and I’m still under warranty !

Only one? I’m buying my second one next year – Lovin’ this car !

My i3 was my first BMW ever and I love it (even more than the old Saabs I used to drive). The ReX was genius – you can drive north of Boston and quickly get to moose and no cell phone land. Traditional BMWs and all Teslas have too much of a ‘douche’ factor to them for me to consider them. I don’t know what I’ll get when I trade the i3 in next year. Sad.

It sounds like this only applies to some markets, dealers in US are claiming they already have 2019 REx production allocation.

“Traditional BMWs and all Teslas have too much of a ‘douche’ factor to them for me to consider them.“


BMW drivers are known to be the worst @holes around. And Tesla is stealing a lot of BMW sales, so,…

And it’s pretty evident in the comments sections that the Tesla faithful are fairly rude, privileged, and self righteous.

Definitely makes me not want to be associated to that by owning a Tesla. Even though they do have very compelling vehicles, and I’m seriously on the fence for the Model 3.

Well if BMW is losing sales to Tesla, does that mean the ‘douche’ factor is moving to Tesla?

A 2019 i3Rex !!! That’s what I’m doing since this EV with range extender fits my driving needs perfectly!

For a long while, the economic theory was based on the assumption that the consumers are rational. The modern economics takes into account psychology and allows for irrational consumer behavior. People are crazy no matter what they buy. 😀

“All of those are easily answered by realizing people are only buying an i3 because it’s a BMW. People making rational choices buy a Tesla.”

The Model 3 wasn’t available any of times I bought an i3. The cheapest Model S was 2-3 time more expensive.

Even now, I can drive an i3 significantly cheaper than a Model 3, still do long trips, and still have a lower overall environmental impact than a Model S.

Teslas are great, but the i3 still has a niche, especially since it’s still significantly cheaper than any Tesla.

There’s plenty of room in the marketplace for other EV’s to exist. A sedan doesn’t work for everyone because people might need a hatch because of their line of work, hobbies, etc. Because people are subjective, even when the Model Y becomes widely available, there will be plenty of customers who do not like Tesla’s approach. More options means more EV drivers. The world is better for having more EV options for all.

Definitely a ven diagram intersection of Tesla enthusiasts and EV enthusiasts and car enthusiasts, but they are distinctly different communities.

“People making rational choices buy a Tesla.”

Uh, no. People making a rational decision buy what will work best for them, based on their preferences and the information available at the time of purchase. It helps us all when we realize that a diversity of products, different models and types of vehicles, from different companies, helps everyone.

I bought a new EV (my second) in March of this year. I didn’t even consider a Tesla because [1] it would have taken far too long to get the vehicle, [2] there are no Tesla facilities reasonably close to where I live, [3] the only Model 3s in active production were much more expensive than I was willing to spend, and [4] I both needed and wanted a wagon/hatch, which made the Model 3 a bad fit.

Even though it meant dealing with local Nissan and Chevy dealers, which in terms of buying an EV was most definitely a case of “dumb and dumber”, I went to two of each, test drove two different Leafs and two different Bolts. I would have considered a Soul EV, but there were none local and the dealers were even worse than Nissan and Chevy.

I made a rational choice to buy the type of vehicle that I’ve always preferred: a light, compact, nimble, corrosion-resistant hatchback. Tesla doesn’t make this type of vehicle, so buying a Model 3 would have been an irrational choice for me.

Instead, I bought an i3 BEV in 2014, my first BMW, and have been very happy. I wish that Honda or Toyota had made such a vehicle because BMW’s have tended to be less reliable and more expensive to repair. Fortunately, our i3 hasn’t required any repairs, only a couple of pre-emptive hardware replacements under warranty. If it remains reliable and Tesla doesn’t make this type of vehicle by the time the i3 is discontinued, I might buy the final i3 model.

The i3 is literally the only car on the market that meets your criteria. Is the i3 the first/only car you ever owned?

But why don’t put a range extender in all EVs?. I think that carry an engine and all the systems with a lot of weight, the cost of purchase, maintenance… for a 1% of the time is a waste. If the charger is broken, if you are far from home… you can call your aid on road service.

Range extenders are a cost trade off between li-ion cells and the ICE system. The higher range the more buyers that will be available. At some point you can tolerate broken chargers. The higher the EV range, the more people that will be able to handle not having the backup.

A true switch-hitter PHEV like the Volt or the Clarity PHEV makes sense. A pure BEV with a 200+ mile range also makes sense.

Bolting a small auxiliary engine — a motorcycle engine, for heaven’s sake! — onto a BEV doesn’t make much sense. It was a bad compromise. BMW did that only to get more ZEV credits by convincing CARB to create a special BEVx category specifically for the i3 REx. But now that the average BEV has more range, it makes sense for BMW to give up that awkward compromise and go with a longer-range BEV.


Volt/Clarity vs i3 really depends on your use case. When I bought my first i3, I was in a situation where I would exceed the Volt/Clarity’s range frequently during normal around-town driving. Also, like most people, I only took *long* trips a couple times per year. Therefore, the i3 made more sense. It’s capable of longer trips and is much better at maximizing electric usage on trips, but for daily driving and even day/regional trips, the i3 can be all-electric. The Volt/Clarity would be slightly more convenient a few days of the year and less convenient / use gas more often the other 360 days.

This isn’t to say the Volt/Clarity aren’t great cars. They seem to be. However, they have pros and cons like the i3. They trade electric range for gas range/versatility. That trade-off works for many, but the i3 works better for others who prefer the longer range and faster charging.

“Volt/Clarity vs i3 really depends on your use case.”

Certainly. My comment was a “glittering generality”, and of course there are exceptions.

Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks; one size does not fit all, especially when it comes to cars! If it did, then there would be only 1 subcompact, 1 compact, 1 luxury sedan, 1 SUV, 1 pickup… etc.

I hope you are enjoying (or did enjoy) your i3 REx. 🙂

Well PP – I’m glad only 3 people in the world agree with your opinion and most readers disagree with you!

After owning the i3Rex for years now (and being my first BMW) not needing to tow around hundreds of pounds of batteries that I don’t need (or want to pay for) but having a small gas generator that can power me around to the next charger station (or home) for half the price of what a Tesla would have cost me has been my best vehicle purchase EVER!

Looking forward to my 2019 i3Rex !

Or rent for the rare long distance road trip.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

They’re selling under 500 per month i3 total.
They’re selling a lot more of their other PHEVs.
They probably figure they can get the ZEV credits they need from the i3 BEV with extra range. More range means more credits.

“They probably figure they can get the ZEV credits they need from the i3 BEV with extra range. More range means more credits.”

Bingo! There’s the real reason BMW is discontinuing the REx version.

They should install a larger tank, and change software for that market. 20 liter tank, and 25% more power would be a plus in those markets.

That would kill the BEVx reason that BMW structured the vehicle the way it is. Folks with a REx don’t want a plug-in hybrid. If they did, there are several available for them to choose from. i3 REx is for folks who understand that a pure EV is useful 95-99% of the time, and that a full blown ICE isn’t necessary to gain that last bit of utility. The REx eliminates all the fundamental range/charging issues of pure BEVs but still allows the full BEV experience with a decent all electric range. There simply are no other PHEVs with 80+ miles of AER. So that means in many more corner cases, that the ICE is forced into service. Another item is that with the exception of the Outlander PHEV, only the i3 was smart enough to put in a DCFC inlet, further cementing it’s focus as an all electric car. The point of a hybrid is to take advantage of the strengths of each of the contributors while downplaying the weaknesses. Putting a full blown ICE with a large gas tank takes away from the BEV part of the car. So when the objective is to put out a BEV,… Read more »

how funny.
Now, you rex type add in all the fairly minor charger issues and make them into something that it is not.
OTOH, your maintenance costs for REx is OUTRAGEOUS since you have both battery and ICE.

Those issues could be solved by buying 3 (BMW or Tesla).

A better decision may of been to scotch the whole line, and go back to the drawing board.

They already are of course, but with design of i3 done it is easy to keep making them. 120 Ah battery fits in same spot as old 60 Ah.

There are many people that love the design of the i3, myself included. Driving around the city it is a lot easier to get in and out of than the Model 3.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

For now this is their only BEV. They’re keeping the body, and just keep updating the battery. The battery improvement is the important part.

This car sells more units than ever anticipated by BMW and they keep upping the production. There are more i3 on the road than Model X.

Well, they started selling the i3 in 2013, two years before Model X got to market, so it is no wonder they are ahead in total numbers.
However, in 2017, Model X easily outsold the i3 (BEV and REx combined).
(I3 sales 2017: 31482, Model X sales 2017: 46535)
Model X will have approx. 120 k cumulated sales by the end of 2018.
BMW i3 will be approx. 130 k cumulated sales unless they have increased production when compared to last year.
Thus, it is likely that Model X numbers exceed i3 total numbers around mid 2019.

Perhaps BMW thinks that people who don’t want to buy the BMW i3 (without the REx) will look at one of their PHEV models?

Good point. But, the X2 & X3 have high centers of gravity and narrow tracks, they’re don’t feel as grounded on the highway as the i3 and the 3 series. They’re good for your wife and the kids, and a plugin would be a nice option.

But, they both probably generate more profit, but, who knows, at the i3 list price they have to be making a profit.

The updated 3 series features a PHEV as well.

Your assessment about CG and narrow tracks is true, but the reality is that most shoppers probably already made up their mind when they looked at the X2 and X3 since drive feel is really not important for most CUV shoppers at all. “Commanding seating position”? Check. Plastic Cladding? Check. “Rugged looking”? check. Sold.

Most likely they will look at a Model 3 instead as they are looking for all electric driving range.

Both dog + kid fit in i3.
It is dog vs kid in the model 3.

They used to be just noncompetitive on price, now the range will be substandard. Guess they don’t really want to make these anymore.

Yes, it does very much look like BMW intends to let the i3 die off instead of spending money on a major refresh. Perhaps that’s wise, as the carbon-fiber body hasn’t proved to be very practical, and the odd styling still puts people off.

Probably better for BMW to go back to the drawing board and create a new BEV from the ground up. Something to compete with the Model 3 instead of an overpriced competitor for the Leaf.

PP, it’s called the iNext – most people who follow the EV movement have known about this for over a year.

Come on… catch up!

They’re actually increasing production.

Oh ok, the whole point of this article was wrong – they’ll still make them for the US

Yup. Discussion made mostly pointless due to a premature announcement.


If you want a Rex, by a Volt, better fuel mileage with engine on, may make up for the lower electric range.

I prefer my i3 to my Volt. The Volt was better on the highway of course, but the i3 has better visibility, better turning radius, easier to get in and out of, better city car, and the REx is good in a bind.

Many people that buy the Volt try to never use the gas engine. Odd to me, as it was meant to be used. Better with a Bolt EV or even an i3 BEV if they can never turn gas engine on with only 50 mile EV range.

The only thing is that is isn’t in fact “never” no matter how hard most folks try. All it takes is on trip out of range, or one road trip for the value of the ICE to be evident. There are places that PHEVs can go that pure EVs simply cannot yet.

But that’s the reason I think that minimizing the REx while maximizing the battery is a good thing. It facilitates and enhances the all electric usage while still retaining the ability to the the REx for what it does best: range extension in those circumstances where due to time constraints or accessibility, that recharging isn’t going to work.


Now, they need to cancel the whole I3 BS,
and work on IX3, I3 series with 250 miles range EPA minimum

They are working on the iX3 and the i3-series. How would cancelling the current i3 help them when it still sells well in Europe and costs them virtually nothing in R&D?

The i4 is shaping up to look very handsome.
It could be the first Tesla competitor.

This might also be in preparation for more conventional plug in hybrids entering the lineup for BMW.

Look, range extended PHEVs are not obsolete – Oh, wait – now they are.

They really depend on li-ion costs and charging infrastructure. Li-ion costs have fallen far faster than expected, and the charging networks are building out fast too. Meaning PHEV will probably move to low end market with small batteries for now (like Prime and cheaper), but only if government mandates it.

Funny. But, depends on where you live. In Philadelphia area, chargers are 20 miles apart, if one is iced or broken, you’d better have 20 miles of range to get to the next one.

Now, in California or Oregon you’re probably correct.

Or Ohio.

Mazda announced a rotary engine extender.

Which tells us more about Mazda than it does range extender technology, I suspect.

Yeah. Just because Mazda announced that doesn’t mean they can actually sell it, especially not at more than compliance-car numbers.

Yes, this would be a nice upgrade to the BMW REX, but, do they have a contract we don’t know about? Mazda hasn’t released any reason they themselves would need a range extender engine.

Interesting, Workhorse Trucks has a contract with BMW for their range extenders. Wonder if they will have to find another vendor. Workhorse has also stated that they will be using a BMW turbo 3 cylinder range extender in their W-15
Pickup that generates a lot more power than the i3 REX, enough to be capable of operating a fully loaded W-15 at highway speeds for hundreds of miles. Why not couple the new 2019 I3 drivetrain with this 3 cylinder range extender in one of their future cars and have an EV that can operate unhindered in charge sustaining mode? The technology apparently already exists.

Likely the turbo 3-cyl is an engine that they already make in volume and put in many of their cars. They’re probably just providing the engine to Workhorse, which is easy and increases production volume even more. That 3-cyl takes up more room than the 2-cyl motorcycle engine they use now…wouldn’t fit in the i3.

BMW is an odd one in this. They make a lot of engines for small volume niche applications no one really knows about.

The advantage, other than power, is the turbo would quiet down the engine considerably.

I don’t know if it’s true or not, but someone told me that the W-15’s gas engine isn’t meant to be a range extender in the usual sense. It’s only meant to run while the truck is sitting still. It can be used to power a generator for worksite power, or it can be used to charge up the battery pack.

If that’s true, it’s an interesting approach, and it would get around the deficiency of the i3 REx, in that its gas engine doesn’t have sufficient power to push the vehicle up a significant grade.

Which is resolved if you “code” the Hold-State-of-Charge feature.
Which allows you to try to hold state of charge around 75%, and have the generator kick in.
In this use case it’s nearly impossible to drain the battery climbing everything but Everest.

I had not read about that feature. Or maybe I had, but didn’t really understand what “Mountain hold” means for the i3 REx. So thanks for the info; IMHO that certainly would remove one of the car’s deficiencies… at least, for those who are willing and able to code it.

Is that function available for all model years, back to the beginning?

Yes, you can “code” any i3 REx to “unhide” the hold mode.

It used to require a laptop and software, but can now be done with an OBD dongle ($20) and an iPhone app ($20) in about 10 mins.

Pu. Everyone on this site knows about the hold mode feature and what BMW did to get its Carb credits. Which they software limited at the ports

2019 i3/i3s REX (120Ah) slated for production Nov 2018 (USA)

“So, say goodbye to the BMW i3 REx. It’ll be a rarity in the future, so it’s [sic] value may now increase in the used marketplace.” I say good riddance. There were serious deficiencies with using that under-powered motorcycle motor as a range extender, especially when the car was called upon to climb over a mountain pass, which resulted in dangerously reduced maximum speed on the road. Maximum speeds as low as 25 MPH were reported. But in past model years, the REx version significantly outsold the BEV version. If I recall correctly, outsold it at something like a 70/30 ratio. Good to see that the newer BEV version’s longer range has resulted in sharply reduced demand for the REx version! Larger capacity battery packs are better in many way, not just longer range. I think most BEV buyers realize that, which is why there is such a preference shown for battery packs large enough to give a BEV well over 100 miles of range. I rather doubt there is going to be much demand for it as a used car. The i3 is generally considered to be seriously overpriced, and the former smaller battery packs gave it no better… Read more »

Good riddance REx.

Yeah, good riddance!

Who would want a car that can do long trips, costs less than a Model 3, and still have lower overall emissions than a Model S?

So can a person buy an older Rex version whose battery is used up and upgrade perhaps to the new battery?

You can buy a 3 year old i3 CPO REX with most, if not all the options for $25,000 with a working battery, with maybe 3 miles lost to age. You don’t need to look for an i3 with a dead battery.

The i3 REx was a disappointment. It could have been a good car if it had a better engine, but BMW clearly always intended for the engine to be an action of last resort. But the real nail in the coffin was BMW’s shameless BEVx fiasco, which changed the i3 REx from its practical-but-quirky Euro-spec to a complete joke in the US-spec.

BMW made the intentional decision to sacrifice the i3 REx on the altar of ZEV credits, and I don’t think they’ve ever taken the appropriate amount of heat for that among the EV community.

CARB and BMW should now have real world user data, so, I hope they take that into consideration, and allow the Hold Stage of Charge feature to be implemented in the USA.

The only thing preventing that feature from being implemented is BMW’s desire to maximize their ZEV credits per unit sold. If BMW were content to receive PZEV/TZEV credits for the i3 REx, they could enable that feature yesterday.

It doesn’t need a “better engine,” just the availability to turn it on early like it was originally designed to do and as available in Europe.

They take plenty of heat for the software issue, too, from people who don’t actually own or understand the i3 use case. The people who own one and want the “Hold Mode” just spend $50 and 10 minutes to turn it on and now it works as intended.

Even under the Euro-spec, an engine that can’t power the car at highway speeds without draining the battery is undersized. A better engine takes the i3 REx from a city car with ~50% additional range on occasion to a fully-functional only car you own (like virtually every other EV that also has an engine).

Aftermarket hacks are not a viable solution. You have no assurance that BMW won’t decide to cut you loose on a warranty issue… and that’s setting aside the issue of BMW collecting ZEV credits for a car that is specified to have emissions restrictions that aren’t in place in reality. You’re basically advocating for a close relative of VW’s dieselgate cheat. (And to be clear, I am criticizing the automaker, not the customers who are simply making their car functional.)

“Even under the Euro-spec, an engine that can’t power the car at highway speeds without draining the battery is undersized.” I’ve tested it myself, the i3 REx can cruise at 70-72 mph with A/C (Florida), 3 people, and all the stuff needed for a weekend trip with a toddler, and still maintain the charge. If you’re blasting the heat or driving up a mountain or driving 85 mph, sure, it will slowly deplete the charge, but even then, if one plans ahead and turns on the REx with significant battery buffer left, the i3 REx can do just about anything you need it to do. _____ “A better engine takes the i3 REx from a city car with extended range in a pinch to a fully-functional sole car for the family (like virtually every other EV that also has an engine).” I’ve been using an i3 REx as a fully-functional sole car for the family for 4 years, most of them without “hold mode”. The only meaningful inconvenience is self-imposed by trying to maximize electric usage. We did a 1,500+ mile trip with all but ~300 miles done on electricity, for instance. _____ “Aftermarket hacks are not a viable solution.”… Read more »

re: dieselgate
In both cases, the end result is the automaker presenting one set of emissions to the regulatory authority (and the car being certified under that standard), with a different set of emissions being the known and accepted reality.

But if you bristle at the comparison because the software hack is being done by the customer instead of the automaker, you can think of this as equivalent to a customer disabling emissions-restricting equipment to increase performance. (In fact, it’s not even “equivalent”; it’s literally what is taking place with the i3.)

The argument that the i3 works that way from the factory in another region is no more valid than saying if my Porsche has no stock emissions restriction in Saudi Arabia, it’s OK for me to defeat said equipment in California.

No, the removal of the “hold mode” is not *literally* restricting emissions. It is *literally* requiring you to run the battery down before turning on the REx. Those are not the same thing. With the hold mode, you could have more emissions, the same emissions, or even LESS overall emissions than if you didn’t make the change. You are not inherently increasing emissions, nor increasing the emission rate of the REx itself. With Dieselgate or the company that recently was fined by the EPA, they actually were *literally* increasing the emissions rates of the actual engines, which are the only way to drive the vehicle, and therefore inherently increase emissions. It’s not the same. “The argument that the i3 works that way from the factory in another region is no more valid than saying if my Porsche has no stock emissions restriction in Saudi Arabia, it’s OK for me to defeat said equipment in California.” I never made any claim anywhere close to this. You’re mixing the two topics together. Emissions and Warranty. My point was that BMW would have a hard time saying that manually turning on the REx could be the cause of failure considering that is how… Read more »

In an unmodified US-spec i3 REx, the car MAY NOT produce any emissions when the battery is above 6.5% SOC. In a hacked i3 REx, it may. The hack is literally “removing a restriction on emissions” (which is not the same thing as, say, forcing an increase on emissions, but I never claimed that).

So, it’s not the same thing, then.

Got it.

Both situations involve software workarounds to defeat regulatory restrictions on emissions, so I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.

You admitted that they’re not the same. Allowing someone to use the REx (or not) without increasing the engine’s actual emission rate, which could increase OR decrease overall emissions is not the same as inherently increasing the emissions of an engine that is the only source of propulsion.

Furthermore, the EPA fined SCT recently for software modifications specifically that allowed the removal of physical emissions parts. However, they specifically did NOT ban them from tuning the engine parameters which *could* increase emissions, but not inherently.

Therefore, some software changes, such as those that don’t inherently increase emissions, are apparently acceptable.

So, just generally saying “they’re both software workarounds” is meaninglessly broad, since there are plenty of software workarounds that are acceptable.

I never claimed that hacking the i3 “inherently increases emissions.” That’s a position you assigned to me. I said that it defeats emissions restrictions, which is exactly what the modified dieselgate software did.

It is a statement of fact that hacking the i3 to enable hold mode above 6.5% SOC is disabling a RESTRICTION on the car’s emissions. It is also a statement of fact that said restriction is in place as part of a regulatory requirement (in this case, the CARB regulatory requirement for the i3 REx to qualify under the BEVx classification.) Do you dispute either of these statements?

I never assigned that position to you. Your position was that it is a “close relative to Dieselgate,” and I’m explaining why Dieselgate and SCT Tuners are not the same as enabling hold mode.

Obviously, if you make the question general enough, the two things are now similarly grouped, like saying “do you and a lady bug both have eyes? Yep! You must be close relatives!” Both are software related, yes. But that doesn’t make them *meaningfully* similar.

Yes, Dieselgate and Hold Mode both are software changes, but one results in an inherent increase in both emissions rate and total emissions. The other, Hold Mode, does neither.

Your repeated insistence that Hold Mode does not result in an “inherent increase” in emissions is a rather silly dodge. The only way it doesn’t “inherently increase” your emissions is if you disable the Hold restriction and then never use it above 6.5% SOC, which is counter to the purpose of disabling the restriction in the first place.

Not true.

Hold mode or not, like many i3 owners, I use virtually zero gasoline during the year.

However, Hold Mode gives a little extra peace of mind to use the i3 for long trips, as well, instead of using a gas vehicle.

Furthermore, I don’t actually use any more gas than I would have. I just get to use it with more buffer, instead of only 6.5%.

So, 360 days per year, the emissions are identical : Zero gas usage.

The other 5 days, the emissions are much less than they would have been without Hold Mode, because I probably would have driven an ICE instead.

So, in my case, Hold Mode has resulted in overall LOWER emissions, not higher.

As I just said: the only way it doesn’t increase your emissions is if you don’t actually use it. That logic can be used to dismiss the impact of nearly any modification.

“I probably would have driven an ICE instead” is also a weak rationalization. VW owners can just as easily say, “Well, if not for the impressive performance of my dieselgate TDI, I would have bought a much lower MPG sportscar instead.” It’s a copout.

It’s perfectly reasonable to say that the hack makes the i3 a more viable everyday car, and that a hacked i3 REx still emits less emissions than an ICE competitor. But the plain and simple fact is that the hack disables restrictions on emissions, and that if you EVER use it, the emissions from your i3 are necessarily greater than they would be if you were NOT able to use it.

“As I just said: the only way it doesn’t increase your emissions is if you don’t actually use it. That logic can be used to dismiss the impact of nearly any modification.” First of all, it is very common for the i3 to rarely use the REx because it has two forms of propulsion. Dieselgate VWs, for instance, do not. You can’t just not drive them and still cover the same number of miles that you normally would. You *can* continue to drive the same number of miles with an i3 as you normally would, but powered by electricity. It’s a different scenario to “not use the REx” vs “not use your DIeselgate VW”. ““I probably would have driven an ICE instead” is also a weak rationalization. VW owners can just as easily say, “Well, if not for the impressive performance of my dieselgate TDI, I would have bought a much lower MPG sportscar instead.” It’s a copout.” Weird analogy since TDI owners didn’t know that their vehicles were cheating on emissions. Further, even if I didn’t drive an ICE, I wouldn’t inherently use more gas having a coded REx. “a hacked i3 REx still emits less emissions than an… Read more »

TDI owners wouldn’t need to know whether their car is cheating on emissions to know that they are buying a car with a given level of performance; without the dieselgate modification, that performance level would have been lowered (in order to meet emissions), and some may have purchased lower-MPG cars with better performance instead.

My i3 emits less emissions than a Model S, not just an ICE competitor.

I see you’re going with the “no such thing as a zero emission vehicle” argument. That’s an… unusual approach among EV advocates.

Your claim that 200 miles is “exactly 1 tank of gas and 1 charge” might fly somewhere like the USA Today comments, but in the comments of an EV website, you have to know that will immediately be called out. So you’re saying that your range – both electric and gas – is so invariably static that you can predict it to the mile, and roll into your destination with >6.5% SOC remaining, by definition you used more gas than if your REx did not turn on until 6.5%. This is extremely straightforward logic.

Why would TDI owners make that argument? The person/entity who made the modification would be the one making that argument, not the unknowing purchaser. Furthermore, it’s a nonsense argument because the Dieselgate cars were polluting at many, many times the maximum allowable rate. Unless they were choosing between a diesel VW and a dump truck, their emissions would be higher. Why would I pretend like EVs have zero total emissions? It’s a fact that my coded i3, even having used gas occasionally, has emitted less emissions than a Model S would have assuming national average emissions per kWh and per gallon of gas. Even if it’s not a perfectly predictable trip length as in my example, if someone is trying to maximize electric usage, they would turn off the REx as soon as it looks like they have sufficient range to reach their destination, and, upon hitting 6.5% SOC, they will have used the same amount of gas. On the other hand, if someone *doesn’t* care about maximizing electric usage, they can technically just drive the whole way at ~6.5% SOC, never bothering to charge, and using much more gas than the person using the Hold mode. Point being, if… Read more »
A TDI owner would make that argument as a rationalization for continuing to support the product they bought… just as you are rationalizing the i3 hack. The idea that BEVs are not “zero-emission” cars is a smokescreen frequently floated by anti-environmentalists. When governments recognize “zero-emission” vehicles and issue ZEV credits, they are classifying the vehicle itself, not the entire economic infrastructure necessary to manufacture and power the vehicle. In order to substantiate the ridiculous claim that your i3 REx has less emissions than a BEV, one would have to declare that every mode of transportation on the planet – from bicycles, to roller skates, to running naked – is a “source of emissions” (you can’t even produce food without involving emissions somewhere in the economic chain). You are pettifogging the discussion into incoherence. […] turn off the REx as soon as it looks like they have sufficient range to reach their destination, and, upon hitting 6.5% SOC, they will have used the same amount of gas. 6.5% SOC is equivalent to about 5 miles in an i3 REx. So basically, you’re claiming that someone would be able to tell that they are definitely going to have enough range (electric +… Read more »
” In order to substantiate the ridiculous claim that your i3 REx has less emissions than a BEV, one would have to declare that every mode of transportation on the planet – from bicycles, to roller skates, to running naked – is a “source of emissions” (you can’t even produce food without involving emissions somewhere in the economic chain). You are pettifogging the discussion into incoherence.” It’s completely reasonable for even environmentalists to compare the emissions of two BEVs. The emissions of an Ioniq vs a P100D Model X are substantially different even though they’re both “ZEVs” and someone trying to minimize their carbon footprint should consider whether or not they NEED a P100D instead of an Ioniq. In fact, just go to the Union of Concerned Scientists website. They have a greenhouse gas tool to help people do this very calculation for all kinds of different vehicles. I guess they’re anti-environmentalists, now? Probably funded by the Koch brothers, right? Oh, and spoiler alert, for my location, the i3 REx is 183 grams CO2/mile and the only Model S that’s better is the Model S 60D (177 g CO2/mile). Every other Model S/X has higher emissions. “6.5% SOC is equivalent… Read more »

Who knows if my original reply will ever get out of moderation, but the short(er) version is:

The REx can power an i3 at 70-72mph with 3 people and a weekend worth of stuff without draining the battery. Tested it myself, several times.

I’ve used an i3 REx as a “fully functional only car you own” for 4+ years, now, including trips of 700 and 1,500+ miles.

“Aftermarket Hack” is sort of an extreme way to look at merely enabling an option that exists on most of the world’s i3s and allows it to be used as it was designed to work. I do agree it’s not the perfect solution and that BMW should make it available to everyone, at least those outside CARB states.

Of the 10k+ members of the i3 FB page, the number of people whose dealers have tried to block warranty claims as a result of “coding” is extremely low. I only remember a single time, in fact, in the years I’ve been following it closely. It’s hard to claim that driving the car as it was intended to be driven and how it’s driven in Europe somehow broke the car and shouldn’t be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Not aftermarket hacks

In general, I am opposed to low MPC vehicles. The owners will charge those in the daytime.
However, BMW is bumping I3 to ~150 MPC. That is the IDEAL size for a city run-about, suburban mom, college kid, maybe even high school kid. they can run around daily, and only maybe 1x a month, to several times a year, do they need to charge in the daytime.

Thank you BMW.

But, in California, solar has completely shifted peak prices from 10 AM – 2 PM to after 6 PM.
So, in California it would be optimal to charge at 10 AM and use up all the surplus sun power.

Or, wait till California starts implementing grid battery systems.

Peak window for PG&E is still 2pm-9pm on weekdays and 3pm-7pm on weekends. (Partial-peak is weekdays only, 7am-2pm and 9pm-11pm.) AFAIK, peak was never before 2pm; that wouldn’t really even make sense, as 2pm is just the start of the hottest part of the day (when A/C is at max load).

They forgot:

“Overpriced” on the spec list

On the same page I see listed, 42.4kwh, 44.2kwh and 42.2kwh, so which one is it?

One of the PERKS of having a BEV is not having to get the damn thing SMOG every two years. I assume if you have the REX at some point as the car ages, you’ll need to get it smog which is a time consuming waste and cost money. Wish whey would dump the REX in the i8. that’s such a pretty car.

In WA, they are eliminating smog test requirements by the end of the year.

Could consider a 2019 i3 with that range for my commuter, if there are good lease deals to be had.

Always great lease deals

A new i3 with a 200+ mile pack and redesigned rear end, and BMW will have something. But I am guessing BMW is keeping the range below expectations along with keeping it a little ugly/undesirable in the rear, to keep demand down. Like GM and the sub-compact Bolt instead of putting that 200+ pack under a Volt body and calling it a Bolt.

That’s what happens when you don’t let the companies do press releases. You guys been saying that they were cutting the Rex for awhile but didn’t let them have a word

Yes. it happens. they say 5 seats in the press release. You become a fan of it

You can seat 5. 3 little kids

You mean a kid without a seat belt and a car seat. The car has only 4 seats. You can run behind the car for the 5th one

Technically, in Europe, there is a triple car seat that will bolt across the back of an i3, allowing 3 kids to sit back there legally, apparently.

Of course, that seat would not be legal here in the US.

Ok, so the press release must be referring to that. I have seen 10 people also in one car in some developing countries.

Ha, no, I’m sure the 5-seat info is just wrong.

Basically bigger battery told the petrol engine that
“Your help is no longer needed, your past service is appreciated, thanks and goodbye”

Now REX will join T-REX. Already its bigger brothers Diesel is in Jurassic Park waiting to receive REX.

Here is the progress of i3 over the years.
2014: BEV + REX
2015: BEV + REX
2016: BEV + REX
2017: BEV (60 & 94 Amp-hour) + REX (94 Amp-hour)
Note that there is no 60 Amp-hour in REX.
2018: BEV (Only 94 Amp-hour: i3 & i3s) + REX (Only 94 Amp-hour: i3 & i3s)
2019: BEV Only (120 Amp-hour: i3 & i3s)

3 years: With 60 Amp-hour. Partially in 4th year.
2 years: With 94 Amp-hour.
1 year: With 120 Amp-hour.

For sure 2020 will see a redesign and may have improvised motor + battery for much longer range. All these are because of Model-3 effect.

Rex is in 2019 models here in the US. Sorry to bust your bubble

I believe the latest info is that they will not be redesigning the i3… ever. It will continue for a few years with updates like it got in 2018 and new batteries like 2019, but won’t get a 2nd generation.

The next “i3” will probably be a 3-series BEV as they bring the i group numbering in line with the rest of the company (like the iX3 and i4, which is like a 4-series Gran Coupe).

I think real reason is WLTP, as I know Rex are so firstly then battery is depleted (compared to HEV)

Absolutely gutted.BMW have lost my custom for the next few years at least.My existing 60ah REX allows me to charge at home only and use REX for longer trips without searching for rapid chargers that are unreliable or parking bays are occupied.My time is precious.I was eagerly looking forward to upgrading to an i3s REX.If I am forced to charge away from home base then it will have to be a Kona or Niro with the biggest battery available.I think they are making a huge mistake but I accept that I must be in the minority??