BMW i3 – REx To The Rescue

3 Y BY TOM 41

Those that have followed me since before I got my i3 know I toiled a bit over whether to get the range extender option or not. Having lived with pure battery electric vehicles for five years I really didn’t like the idea of hauling around an internal combustion engine if I really didn’t need to do so, even if it was a very small, efficient one.

Ultimately, the decision was easier than I had hoped. Once it became clear the i3 would have significantly less electric range than the two previous BMW-made electrics that I’ve been driving (MINI-E and ActiveE) I knew I needed the REx. As much as I love the i3, I’m still disappointed BMW moved backwards with the electric range in every EV they have produced. The MINI-E was good for a reliable 100 miles in moderate temperatures, the ActiveE about 90 miles and the BEV i3 is EPA rated at 81 miles per charge. I drive a lot and 81 miles would just be cutting it too close for me, especially in the winter when the range is negatively effected by the cold weather.

Our Equinox, Tacoma and i3 joined by my old ActiveE before I turned it back in.

Our Equinox, Tacoma and i3 joined by my old ActiveE before I turned it back in.

Plugging the tire

Plugging the tire

So i3 REx it was for me, and fortunately I’m very happy it worked out that way. Without the reassurance of a long range EV like Tesla’s offerings, there will indeed be some cases where the limited range of the sub-100 mile EVs require you to alter your plans or make compromises. I accept that because for me the advantages of driving electric far outweigh any small inconveniences that occasionally arise from the limited range or charging times.

However, the range extender option on the i3 was inticing because I knew I’d be driving on electric for 95% of the time, but still be able to take the car on days that I knew I needed to drive further than the range could accommodate. That has indeed held true because I have a little over 11,000 miles and only about 500 of those miles were with the REx running. However so far the REx was just a convenience, allowing me to take my i3 on days I needed to drive far when I otherwise would have taken one of my gas cars. I hadn’t faced a situation where I really needed the extra range, and didn’t have any other options, until last weekend.

My wife and I have two gas vehicles besides the i3. Meredith drives a Chevy Equinox and I also have a Toyota Tacoma pick up which I use when I need to haul large items like refrigerators for my restaurant, and I also use it to plow my driveway and the parking lot of the shopping plaza that I own and manage. These are our long range cars for trips like when we go to my in-laws in Vermont. So when Meredith needed to go on a company retreat which was 95 miles away in Pennsylvania she naturally planned on taking her Equinox.

About a half hour before she was ready to leave, I went out to the garage to give the Equinox a once-over. I always do this when she’s going far from home, just to be safe. The first thing I did was a quick visual inspection of the tires and wouldn’t you know it, the first tire I looked at had a large screw sticking right into it and in a perfect position for me to see it. OK, there is no time to fix this now so the Equinox is ruled out.

No problem, I’ll load up her stuff into the Tacoma and she’ll use that. It can use a good run anyway since we barely ever drive it. I then remembered that I needed to refill the washer fluid because it was empty the last time I drove it. I popped the hood, filled the fluid and when I closed the hood I heard a loud cracking noise and the hood popped back up. As I lifted the hood I could see the latch that holds it closed was rusted and cracked in half. With no way to secure the hood closed that rules out the Tacoma. There’s only one option now, she’ll be REx-ing it to the retreat.

The owners of the B&B she stayed were nice enough to let her charge up. They told her their son in law drives a Volt so they weren't totally surprised about a car that need to plug in.

The owners of the B&B she stayed were nice enough to let her charge up. They told her their son in law drives a Volt so they weren’t totally surprised about a car that need to plug in.

The owners of the B&B she stayed were nice enough to let her charge up. They told her their son in law drives a Volt so they weren’t totally surprised about a car that need to plug in.

After a quick REx briefing (I don’t think she had ever driven it in REx mode before) she was off. Since the temperature was in the 40’s and it was all highway driving, I knew she’d only get about 60-65 miles before the range extender turned on so she’d be driving about 30 miles with it running. I had a full tank of gas so she wouldn’t need to stop for gas on the way there, however we didn’t know if she could plug in at all once she got there and she may have to drive the whole 95 miles home in charge sustaining mode. I’ve driven the car enough to know this wouldn’t be a problem as long as she kept her speed under 75mph, other than the fact that she’d have to stop for gas twice on the way home. I did a quick check to see if by chance there were any level 2 charging stations near where she was going , but as I expected, there were none. Luckily, the bed and breakfast she stayed at allowed her to plug into an outlet they had on the garage, so she was able to charge at 120v overnight. Since the retreat lasted for four days, she had no problem fully charging even with using the car to run some local errands every day.

So even though I’ve used the REx a dozen or so times already, this was the first time it was absolutely necessary, and further validates my decision to shell out the additional $3,850 for it. It really makes the car so much more versatile, and allows me to not even think about the range. As others have noted, it really does allow you to drive more electric miles because you can use it for trips you otherwise couldn’t with the BEV i3. Obviously, the ultimate goal is for longer range electric vehicles to become more affordable, and infrastructure to mature to the point where public charging and DC fast charge is ubiquitous. However until then, the range extender will play an important role in the adoption of electric vehicles, as it allows for utility that is simply unavailable in the vast majority of today’s electric vehicles.

Trip stats: I was very happy to see 3.7 miles per kWh considering it was about 70% highway driving, with the cabin heat on the entire time.

Trip stats: I was very happy to see 3.7 miles per kWh considering it was about 70% highway driving, with the cabin heat on the entire time.

Stats from the trip:

Going to PA: 61 miles on battery, 34 miles on REx
While there: 49 miles all on battery
Coming home: 65 miles on battery, 30 miles on REx.
Total: 239 miles; 175 miles on battery, 64 miles using range extender
Total gas used: 1.7 gallons (.9 gal refill when she was in PA & .8 gal refill when she was 1.5 miles from home) Averaged 37.65mpg while REx was running.

Category: BMW

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41 responses to "BMW i3 – REx To The Rescue"
  1. HVACman says:

    Great post, Tom – the i3 provides a unique opportunity to compare head-to-head the trade-offs of a BEV vs an EREV on the same platform. Glad your wife could opportunity-charge at the B&B, but it sure feels good to know you don’t “need” people to be so gracious to get to and from your destination, doesn’t it?

    Hopefully there will be more EREV options entering the EV market soon and the driving public will become more familiar and comfortable with the amazing versatility, economy, reliability, and fun that EREV’s such as the i3 REx and the Chevy Volt offer.

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      Thanks. Yes, it was definitely assuring to know that even if she couldn’t plug in there she could drive home safely.

      1. James says:

        Oh boy. Tom, as a married guy I know we all worry a bit about our spouse’s safety – either getting to and from their car at work, or just running errands. By “safety” I remind you that you stated: ” she may have to drive the whole 95 miles home in charge sustaining mode. I’ve driven the car enough to know this wouldn’t be a problem as long as she kept her speed under 75mph, other than the fact that she’d have to stop for gas twice on the way home.”

        That would not be the case in our Volt. It’s sure nice and all that you own several cars and can take a gas car whenever you may need one. Yet that reinforces the whole “$50,000 City Car” argument I’ve made all along about i3. EV guys justify a lot. I’ve been there. “Oh it’s not such an inconvenience because – well, because we’re EV enthusiasts!” You see, driving 45 minutes and having to find a gas station while on i3’s tiny range extender IS an inconvenience, and more than that – can pose a danger if one has to, A) find a gas station or pre-plan the trip around finding one; B) Getting out of the car that many more times to refuel.

        So great that you have many cars ( many cannot afford insurance, write-offs and other means to afford doing such ). But your entire article just amplifies the shortcomings of the BMW i3 vs. a Volt or a gasoline car.

  2. Mo says:

    Thank you Tom. Always informative and helpful. I’m going to get a new car next year, electric of course. BMW is high on the list. I wonder how it will do in the snow. Please share when possible. Thanks.

  3. Mark H says:

    Big battery or a range extender, those are today’s choices for the “non urban” commute. Four years from now, it looks like there will be multiple 120-200 mile options.

    Even then Tom’s backyard will look the same though to which I can relate. Lots of acres, solar panels, EVs, and two big gas trucks because I choose to live among the trees and I need a truck to haul stuff. My F150 sees only 2000-4000 miles per year but I have to have it.

    As for my main vehicle, I like driving our EREV Chevy Volt to the beach and mountains opposed to renting another ICE or driving the F150. I certainly want total AER. For now, it is the decade in which we live.

  4. GeorgeS says:

    Good article.

    Love my EREV.

    Looking forward to my new Gen 2 Chevy Volt 🙂

    1. HVACman says:

      Wait a minute George. You’re going to get a Gen 2 volt even though the GM engineers did not heed your advice to go pure serial and they even added a second planetary gear set just for spite? Just Kidding ya;)

      Looking at the patent that JeffN on gm-volt found, the gen2 Voltec drive train will be even more ingenious – more efficient and powerful and flexible – and only uses two clutches instead of three:)

      1. GeorgeS says:

        Oh no HVACman.

        I’ve always loved the 4ET50.

        I’ve written many articles on it.

        1. GeorgeS says:

          the next one is even tricker.

          WOT calls it the 5ET50.

          I want one 🙂

  5. Joshua Burstyn says:

    Great writeup. The REx will make many more comfy owning what is a great BEV.

  6. David Murray says:

    Great story! I really love the Rex on the i3. I got to try it on my 3-day test drive and I was made a believer. Lots of people still say it is some sort of “limp home” mode, and it is not. I understand there are cases (like mountains) where it is less-than-perfect, but I think in most situations it will work fine. I wouldn’t hesitate to drive an i3 Rex from Dallas to Houston, for example. Wouldn’t be a problem at all, other than frequent stops for gas. I couldn’t do that in any BEV except a Tesla right now.

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      Exactly David. So far for me the range extender has been able to do anything I needed it to. However I realize that isn’t the case for others that need to make long, sustained climbs in REx mode. As long as I keep it under 75 mph (which isn’t a problem for me) I can drive it as far as I need to without any issue. You just keep an eye on the SOC and if it looks like it’s getting down to 2% or so, you just slow down for a bit and it regains back up to the ~6% hold level.

      I now have 11,500 miles and have bought a total of 14 gallons of gas. However a few of those gallons were when I first got it and purposely didn’t charge it so I could do some extended REx testing. I probably really needed about 10 gallons if you exclude the REx testing I did. Having it there when you need it like last week was really useful though.

      1. Phr3d says:

        Tom – you didn’t apply the firmware fix, or does SOC still fall when rex is trying to climb steep hills?

        I must have misunderstood, I thought it was the fact that SOC started so low that the rex had trouble keeping it sufficient.

        1. Tom Moloughney says:

          I have not coded my car to allow for a higher SOC hold if that’s what you’re asking. I really don’t have any need for it. I thin it would be cool if it had the higher SOC hold mode, but for me it not necessary at all.

          The way it works is the range extender turns on when the SOC hits 6.5%. The range extender then tries to hold the SOC at 6.5%. It can do so under most all conditions, except for prolonged high energy demands like high speed driving and climbing long, steep inclines.

          On flat ground, the REx can supply enough energy to hold the 6.5% buffer at speeds up to 75 mph. Higher than that and you’ll slowly eat away at the 6.5 % buffer until the car goes into reduced power mode. What that does is forces you to slow down to a speed where the energy consumption is low enough to allow the REx to replenish the battery, or at least allow you to continue to drive at that reduced speed. It also can happen going up long steep hills. However if you drive along at 70 mph or so, and encounter a hill, you can easily climb it without issue, the problem arises when that hill is 5 miles long and steep.

          I’ve never had any problem because I don’t have long, steep hills to climb where I live, and I watch the SOC when I’m in REx mode. If I see it slipping a bit below 5% or so, I slow down a little and it quickly replenishes. The best way I’ve found to not have any issue is for me to just set the cruise control at 70 mph and then I can drive as far as I want, even if there are some hills to climb.

          1. sven says:

            “On flat ground, the REx can supply enough energy to hold the 6.5% buffer at speeds up to 75 mph.”

            I’m assuming this is with one or two people in the i3. I’m curious as to how the extra weight in a fully loaded i3 affects the maximum speed at which the REx can hold the 6.5% buffer on flat ground. Have you tested the Rex with the equivalent of four “larger” passengers and luggage/cargo? That’s about 800 lbs above the i3’s curb weight.

          2. Phr3d says:

            “I have not coded my car to allow for a higher SOC hold if that’s what you’re asking.”

            Yes, that is what I was trying to narrow down – I -was- understanding that if the SOC was not allowed to hit such a low number in the First place before rex kicked in that the steep hill effect nearly disappeared, i.e. it was ‘easier’ for the rex to keep up, but maybe the reference was simply that you -could- climb to the ‘peak’ and never hit ‘limp mode’ because you had extra juice to begin with. (early French translation, if memory serves).
            The reason I asked is that (if I misunderstood) I thought that That was the reason to apply the correct EU firmware ‘fix’ as shutting down the rex is easy, correct? (if it starts and you Don’t want it to run)

    2. James says:

      So please explain how more stops for gas is safer for a woman traveling alone.

      Please explain how i3’s tiny range-extender plus it’s miniscule gas tank should make i3 more than a very very expensive city car.

      1. James says:

        You know we can’t all have gas cars at the ready – and i3 just isn’t a car that will, or could become a family’s only car. Sure BMW offers expensive ICE lending schemes – not sure if they’ve implemented that setup in the ‘States yet, but even so – very complicated, expensive and not convenient.

        I’m not being contentious here, just a realist in an EV world where we sometimes act as though something that is – isn’t.

        I’d really appreciate you read my 3 above posts and give me your take. You usually do – so I really appreciate that.

        Again – I’m no naysayer, my points are well taken. 🙂

        1. Tom Moloughney says:

          James: Relax dude I haven’t looked at this thread since you posted your comments and I haven’t commented here since either. I usually only keep an eye on my posts for the day they are up and then check in sporadically after.

          Your question about safety seems to indicate I’d be concerned that my wife had to stop for gas two times on the way home, with the last stop within ten miles from our home. Maybe that makes me a bad husband in your opinion, but I’m certainly not worried about my wife stopping for gas. (By the way, she studied Taekwondo for a few years and is pretty formidable should she need to be!)
          You bring up how you wouldn’t have to stop for gas in a Volt and yes, you’re correct about that. In fact, the volt would be a better choice for me if these kind of trips were common, but they aren’t. If I need to take the car on a trip like this three or four times a year it’s not an inconvenience stopping a couple times for gas, and I still use much less gas than I would have with a Volt for this same trip and using less gas is the primary motive for me.

          The i3 IS expensive, and the Volt is a much better financial proposition, is that what you are looking for me to say? I’ve never denied that and I’ve never disparaged the Volt. I think if you read my comments here and on other sites you’ll see I am a Volt fan. However that doesn’t mean I can’t think another EV is better fit for me. I like the i3 for the driving experience, the fact that I can drive on electricity over 95% of the time and I can still take it on long trips if necessary. When I do I really don’t mind stopping a couple times. It sounds like that would be a deal breaker for you and I accept and respect that, but you should in turn respect that other people have different priorities and desires also.

          I certainly don’t mind your comments and criticism, you are entitled to your opinion as much as anyone else here and I respond to your questions as much as possible, I’ve never ignored you. 🙂

          1. James says:

            Thanks for your response, Tom. I know you always respond to my queries. 🙂

            Thing is, I know there is not a ton of options for prospective EV buyers out there at this time. We can start at the budget basement – the iMiev, and work upwards in price, but the capabilities of more expensive machines rise with that cost increase.

            I live in a moderate climate zone ( Seattle ) and we do experience range reduction in winter, but nothing compared to the frosty northeastern USA or Canada. With our current crop of 80-90 mile BEVs ( the compliance car herd is beginning to make that space crowded )giving us 55-65 miles EV range in winter, the lesser iMiev turns into pretty much a grocery-getter under 32degrees.

            This brings me to why I comment on i3. BMW Blog, and it’s near mirror,, runs nearly every i3 “rah rah” article, video and new wrinkle it can. I don’t think material for EVs is that scarce, personally. You know, for an auto site to run fan pages for a particular car. This site has been in contact with me in the past, informing me that Tesla articles are by far, get the most hits. Yet it seems an effort is being made to pump up he i3. Tom – i3 sales are not brisk. The fact is – besides all the hoopla on here about: “it’s the most efficient EV on the market”, it’s not. Why? Because, as you reiterated, it’s darn expensive to buy out the door for what you get.

            That is what I respond to, most of all. Besides my observations about awkward suicide doors that only work one way, and other questionable choices BMW made in it’s development, I also correct people daily who say i3 is “made of carbon fiber”. Also – it’s not!

            I’m sure we’re both realists, yet I know you are one big BMW fanboy as well. You should be – you’ve been with BMW in their electric experimentation for years. I’ve always enjoyed reading your stuff – but now that BMW has decided to build an electric car for public sale, you have gone off the charts to promote it. I don’t really blame you as much as this site for running all the hype.

            i3 is fascinating. i3 is captivating. The build process, the gluing, the automation…It’s good stuff. But what it all boils down to is what BMW execs themselves told media the car was. It’s a response to government mandates on both sides of the pond. That’s a cute way of saying it’s…you guessed it, a “compliance car”!

            I can’t see i3 selling in even Volt numbers as limited as it is. As you say, it works for your situation – which is a very small niche. To sell in mass numbers, a vehicle has to have less hassle, less bother and more safety. I’m glad your wife knows Tae Kwon Do, but that kind of skirts the point – more gas stops means less safety and much more “work” in finding fuel.

            You said yourself you wished your i3 came with a bigger gas tank and/or a bigger battery. This would mean – MORE UTILITY.

            Are you reading me clearly? Tom – you have 4 cars! This means i3 is a very expensive experiment with a limited use.

            $50,000 is a lot to pay. Lower the package, maybe get one for $44,000 and change? The price will come down – believe me, and faster than Volt’s price reduction came.

            I’m not knocking the car as much as countering all the flag waving and yes, BS – I see here almost daily about how great the car is. It’s still an 80-90 mile BEV ( Summer ). For more cash, it’s one you have to pull off the road every 45 minutes to fill with gas. 4 seats, wacky doors, minivan on LSD looks…

            1. James, if you want to say I’m a BMW fanboy that’s fine, I admit I am a fan of what they are doing with EV’s. Being in their test program for five years I’ve gotten to know some of their EV engineers and program managers, as well as even board members. But maybe you don’t know the i3 is the first BMW I’ve ever owned. Yes, I was in the trial lease program for the MINI-E and ActiveE, but those were very special limited time test programs and there was no chance to purchase even if you wanted to. So I guess you can be a fanboy without actually owning the product, but I though you might be interested in knowing the i3 is really my first BMW, as I hardly count the test cars I’ve driven as “mine”.

              The rear coach doors are meaningless to me. I don’t have kids, and there have probably only been less than 10 times when I had rear seat passengers, and in those times access hasn’t been a problem. I’m only talking about my personal use and really don’t care if a someone else has difficulty getting the kids in the back. If they do, they simply shouldn’t buy the car, maybe get a Volt or another plug in.

              You seem to infer that all I do is praise the car, and that’s hardly the truth. I am as tough an i3 critic as they come, and I am constantly demanding BMW do better. There is a lot to improve upon but I do think it’s a great first EV from BMW and it was the best option for ME – not saying it’s the best for you or anyone else, that’s up to the individual to decide. Also, I do wish the i3 had a bigger battery, but I’ve never said I wish it had a bigger gas tank. For me, it’s perfect as it is. In 12,000 miles I’ve only had to fill the tank 6 times now, which is less than once a month. I don’t want to be carrying around a lot of gas, I just don’t need it.

              Also, Yes I am lucky to have multiple cars (I have three, not four as you said though. The picture was taken in the couple days after I got my i3 but hadn’t returned the ActiveE yet) and I count my blessings every day that I can afford them. I drive the i3, my wife the Equinox and the truck is for my business.

              I’m sorry you see what I’ve written here as BS, it’s not intended to be but if you see it that way, well that’s how it is. If you’re not happy with the content stream here you could always write an article and submit it. I’m sure Eric and Jay would post it if it had a relevant topic. I think they do a good job of spreading out the news though. The i3 is still new and it’s going to get a lot of ink here and on other sites for a while. I bet once the redesigned Volt is released and Gen 2 LEAF they will dominate the headlines for a while also. All the best, Tom

              1. James says:

                No no – you are a fanMAN! 🙂

                I like what you said. I didn’t say your stuff was BS. I said a lot of stuff as in articles here include BS. I define BS as misstatements designed to increase value or perception of the i3. You don’t do this at all. You -enhance- i3 as it goes about it’s duty serving your needs. Plus, you don’t post that stuff on, they pluck it from your blog – and that, again, isn’t your fault. Of course, people going to an i3 blog want to hear all the positive points they can about i3, especially before they go dish out that kind of money to purchase one.

                Common BS re: i3 includes: “It’s the most efficient EV available”. “i3 is made of carbon fiber”. “i3 is suitable as a family’s only car when equipped with the available REx”, “i3 suits the needs of 90% of American families”, “Equipped with the available 2cylinder range extender, i3 doesn’t have the shortcomings a standard BEV possesses”, and “i3 is a legitimate competitor to the Tesla Model S”….

                THAT kind of stuff. I see it here each and every day.

                Oh yes, and this one: “i3 is more attractive than the Chevrolet Volt”. LOL! OK, OK – I threw that one in there, aesthetics are subjective, but who actually says i3 is attractive with a straight face? 🙂 I will and always have given i3 and BMW high marks for it’s innovative interior features, the control stalk, which I think is genius, the sustainable materials, lightweight seats ( all EVs need these! ) and streamlined, bachelor apartment look.

                One last thing. Honestly, I’m too lazy to sift through pages to look – but I’m almost certain you commented on the size of the U.S.-bound i3’s gas tanks, and said you wished they did not reduce the capacity to meet U.S. regulations.

                1. James says:

                  I also think BMW is on the right track by remotely controlling the info screen. Euros do this and some have some sort of mouse ( hello Mercedes ) or multi-control dial and many times it’s clumsy and awkward. BMW’s solution to fingerprints and poking at a screen is pretty good IMHO. It’s better ergonomically, as you’re not distracted reaching out for something, and the laptop-esque finger control seems quick and connected.

                  It’s hard to fault Tesla’s 17″ ipad when you use it. But I would like my co-pilot to learn it’s ways so I’m usually looking at the instrument panel displays for nav and most info. I like how Model S has that right in front of my eyes. i3’s little slit is >doink!< for a $44-53,000 car. I believe as OLED prices decline, our cars will have curved info/touch surfaces closer to the pilot and they'll get easier and easier to use. A combo of BMW's control and touch surfaces may be the eventual solution.

          2. Phr3d says:


            “I’ve never ignored you.”

            a Lot of people do, though, particularly when reasoned response falls on seemingly deaf ears, and that the questioner has described all BMW owner-driver as ‘typical’, clearly meaning someone that they drive in a manner not fully sanctioned by the perfectly-informed questioner.

            I personally save Much time when reading the comments section by quickly scrolling past the commenter that feels endless caps and bold-type to be necessary. Keeps my blood pressure lower as well.

            Incidentally, good article and kudos to your continuing patient replies. It would be a shame if you hesitated to write an article due to having to respond -within a given time frame- to One, and only One commenter.

  7. sven says:

    Real men plug their flat tires themselves!

    Great writeup on the practicality of range extenders.

  8. Spec9 says:

    It still just seems crazy that they didn’t provide the OPTION to get a larger battery pack. Having a choice between regular battery, a larger battery, and a regular battery with ICE would have been nice.

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      If BMW would have offered an i3 with a 25% larger battery, say 27-28kWh I would have bought that instead of the REx. I’m sure I would be very happy with it, but I still wouldn’t have been able to let my wife use it for this trip. I would have rushed to plug the tire, and then the entire 240 miles would have been done on gas.

  9. kubel says:

    I wish the i3 didn’t come with a $10,000 badge on the front of it. It’s just too far out of my reach, even to lease. It’s a shame because it’s the perfect car. I hope cheaper alternatives present themselves soon, but I doubt they will.

  10. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Good writeup.

    This just confirms that all those “stuck up” BEV purists need to get off their high horses and embrace the transitional technology and their benefits.

    Until the car are ready (more than 200 miles range) and infrastructures are ready (DCFC everywhere), EREV is the best solution for now.

    1. sven says:


      I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  11. Shaft says:

    Nice story.
    And now you can understand our love of the Volt. I have over 30000 miles, 91% electric. And it’s that low because of a 700 mile road trip.

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      I’ve always understood that. I love the Volt and think it’s a great EV. I’ve recommended it to a lot of people. The i3 is a better fit for me because of the longer electric range, but I would be perfectly happy with a Volt if I didn’t have the i3 as an option. You can’t beat the value of a Volt when you consider utility, price and overall range.

      1. Shaft says:

        Nicely put.

      2. James says:

        Tom? I just checked the time of your last post.

        So far, no answer to my above question.

        I know you’re a busy guy, but you’ve been here three hours after I posted my questions.

        1. Phr3d says:

          Your last post will, indeed, be a favorite among many readers here.

          I’ll refrain from feeling the need to update this hourly, demanding a response.

          a request to all readers here, please type:
          I Hate the BMW i3
          preferably in Bold-face capital letters,
          so as to convince James that his inarguable wisdom has been fully received and that he may move on to find a life.
          Thank you for your time and consideration

          1. MTN Ranger says:

            His head will explode if the i3 possibly passes the Volt in sales.

  12. Lou says:

    Tom: I am seeing I3’s around Philly…not a whole lot, but some. A co-worker even aproached me about it as he had gotten an invite to BMW’s ‘come in and test drive’ event a few months ago. He didn’t buy, but admitted he liked the car. It just didn’t fit his lifestyle, but if BMW adds larger battery sizes, an EV will work for him. I switched from a Mitsu I-MiEV to a Volt and have completely driven away from that fear of not making a trip because of range. Actually, though, I have been able to use the heater more than I ever did in my “I”. Funny too that the Volt has less driving range on the battery, but because of the on board generator, I have the freedom to drive the battery to zero and let the REX kick in. As has been said above, until the battery costs come down, and we can afford those 200 mile batteries, I can see the REX type car being very popular.

  13. pjwood says:

    Thanks, Tom. Looking forward to perhaps a casual winter comparison. B-class is available in NY, at least, though not sure anyone here has one.

    My wife has been driving the Volt, of late, and heat has become a conundrum. For a 45 mile day, its whether to run the engine first, or simply to go to electric heat and end up with fewer electric miles. Then, there’s using ‘Hold’ for the “free” engine heat, but forgetting to go back to electric.

    Getting away from feeling like efficiency has to be actively managed, over medium trips, is to be envied with the i3. The Volt doesn’t begin to do this (w/ERDTLT) until <36 degrees.

  14. FSJ says:

    Everyone talks like BMW invented the Rex, and this is all new territory. We Volt owners have been doing this, and doing it better, with no power limitations and no need to stop for gas every 70 miles, since 2011.

    Nevertheless, I do wish I had the i3 battery. I’ve said it before, but what we need is the Volt’s Rex and the i3’s battery. Hopefully the Gen2 will come close, for half the cost and a MUCH bigger gas tank.

    1. FSJ says:

      This comment is totally passé. I forgot to update my browser for the latest comments. Sorry.

  15. Justin W. says:

    Why so much hatred for the i3 in here. I’m aVolt owner and I used to own a PIP. The Volt does some things better than the i3 and the i3 does some things better than the Volt. The story was about how Tom’s decision to get the REx option was proven a good one in this case. That’s all. Some of you need to get a life and look in the mirror before you start calling other folks fanboy. lol