BMW i3 REx Review After 1,000 Miles

JUL 11 2014 BY CHRIS NEFF 14

I’m just past the 1,000-mile mark in my BMW i3 and I’m really enjoying the car.  It has not been all EV bliss though, as I have had some software glitches along the way, like a rolling reboot. With that said, I have no regrets and I’m confident these software issues will be taken care of soon, either way I’ll blog about them. Having an EV has opened up a whole world of cars to me and not just EVs….a recent ride in a BMW i8 the other day was icing on the cake – Click here for more on my i8 ride along.

Onto the fun….I went to another Cars and Croissants and once again my i3 drew a crowd. This car is truly a magnet, people chase me on the highway, if I’m at a light they either talk to me from their car or they leave the safety of their sidewalk for a chat. It is daily….my family is like ‘not again’….I really don’t mind.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on Chris’ blog. Check it out here.

Images below from Cars and Croissants (a weekly-ish meetup where fans of the automobiles show of their cherished rides).

At Cars and Croissants with other NJEAA members

At Cars and Croissants with other NJEAA members

Tesla Roadster, BMW i3, Honda Fit EV and two LEAFs

Tesla Roadster, BMW i3, Honda Fit EV and two LEAFs

Hard to tell but we are the same color

Hard to tell but we are the same color

People really love the i3

People really love the i3

As I mentioned the i3 attracts attention anywhere it goes…..if I park somewhere, it does not take long before people are around it looking and taking pictures.

Number 6 in less than 1 hour...actually a slow day

Number 6 in less than 1 hour…actually a slow day

The i3 is not just all looks and glamor….it is useful too, it hauls stuff. The seats fold flat. That EV jeep fit in with room to spare.

Not bad...not bad at all

Not bad…not bad at all

I chose the BMW i3 REx (range extender with the 2 cylinder generator) because I did not want to worry about getting stranded with my family or cutting our trip short, or worse, not using climate control. Yes, I’ve been told to get a Tesla, fine, then give me the extra $40k to get one. I’ve also been told my REx is a hybrid, well whatever. EVs with range extenders under $50k with a range of 40 to 100 miles spur adoption, so how can this be wrong?

I’ll probably only use the REx 10% of the time, if that, and it will be probably during winter. I still have a 2nd an 3rd car, the 2nd for long trips and carrying more stuff, the 3rd for fun but really is never driven. Our EV gets the majority of the use because we enjoy it the most as a family. When DC fast chargers are more common place, then our i3 may take much longer and frequent trips.

Range holding has impressed - yes that is the CEL light (engine warning) you may have heard of - software glitch

Range holding has impressed – yes that is the CEL light (engine warning) you may have heard of – software glitch

With that said, the i3 has done pretty well maintaining its range of 80 to 90 miles even with AC blasting and hot days along the highway. My ActiveE would not have fared as well. On the day to go and check out the BMW i8 we encountered some serious heat, but the range held fast and when all was said and done I was over 90 miles all electric, eco pro, AC running high, and most of it was highway. My i3 was loaded with family…not bad. Granted I stuck to 65 mph or less, but still good. The AC worked well up front, the back not so much and that is because there are no rear vents….an oversight.

Categories: BMW, Test Drives

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14 Comments on "BMW i3 REx Review After 1,000 Miles"

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Most miles driven in a day?
Most gas fill-ups in a day?

I think my record is 600 miles in one day to/from my daughter’s college (Tesla Model S).

If you’re coming from an Active E, an i3 will probably suit your needs but if you’re coming from an ICE (and want range) and you want an EV, it will cost you until GenIII.


How do you get on getting the kids out the back doors in parking spaces and garages?

MTN Ranger

My kids also complain that the Volt’s front AC vents don’t reach the back either.


I’m normally a black/grey/silver guy, but this color is truly gorgeous.


Tom great article- I totally agree it’s a magnet! 1600+ miles on my i3 REx and I can”t believe how many people comment positively on my car. So many heads turn and people in awe of how it looks and performs !!!


So, what color is that?


Looks good thanks for the insights. Mine just got into Zeebrugge on the boat today. Hopefully, I’ll see it in a month!