BMW i8 Real-World Range Test


BMW i8

BMW i8

As a BMW i3 owner thinking about buying the BMW i8, I had a lot of questions regarding range in this super plug-in hybrid EPA rated at 15 miles electric range.

Now, as an i8 owner, I want you to know that I sacrificed my morning on 2/25/15 just for you, driving next to the Pacific Ocean, to answer some of these range questions. I know, it’s a tough gig, sort of like work, but that’s what pioneers do.

It’s no problem to hit the 15 miles of EPA electric range provided you keep it out of sport mode!

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

Here are the test results (images below as back up documentation):

City driving: Hwy 101 at 65 degrees, average speeds were 30 mph to 50 mph. Speeds shown are due to lots of stop signs and streetlights. Eco pro mode fan on.

@21 miles electric range, 4.1 miles per kWh, 25.2 mph. (gas engine starts)

Highway driving, Hwy 5 to San Clemente and back, cruise control set to 70mph, 65 degrees, traffic very light, eco pro mode, fan on. You will see the speed increase as the first four miles are city roads to Hwy 5.

  • @22 miles electric range, 4.2 miles per kWh, 57.5 mph. (gas engine starts)
  • @30 miles, 98.8 mpg, 57.5 mph (first dip below 100mpg)
  • @40 miles, 71.7 mpg, 59.8 mph
  • @50 miles, 61.2 mpg, 61.6 mph

If you drive it like a beast in sport mode, no EV range and 25 mpg. (I know this from experience and it will put more miles back on your EV range)


I’ll start off every day with a full charge, and my personal driving habits are:

  • 55% of my trips are below 20 miles RT (round trip) and will be done on all electric
  • 15% of my trips are below 30 miles RT and will be at 100 mpg
  • 10% of my trips are below 40 miles RT and will be at 70 mpg
  • 10% of my trips are below 50 miles RT and will be at 60 mpg.
  • 10% of my trips are longer and may be as low as 28 mpg

(minus 10% of the above because I like to flick it over to sport mode every now and then.

Incredible efficiency and incredible performance in this beautiful work of art and engineering.

City driving, gas engine starts at 21 miles

City driving, gas engine starts at 21 miles

Hwy driving, gas engine starts at 22 miles

Hwy driving, gas engine starts at 22 miles

At 30 miles it dips below 100mpg

At 30 miles it dips below 100 mpg

At 40 miles

At 40 miles – 71.7 mpg

At 50 miles

At 50 miles

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16 Comments on "BMW i8 Real-World Range Test"

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So much for driving on sunshine, I guess. (Unless you are going to limit your i8 drives to slow drives of less than 15 miles).


So the PHEV it can beat in EV range is the PiP.

I know it is tempting to say a PHEV can get 90mpg. But that is not really true. The car gets 30mpg for a fraction of the miles but the majority of miles were driven on electrical power.

I think it is time to adjust how we report PHEV energy usage. If each PHEV has 2 odometers, so we know how many miles were driven electric and how many used gasoline.

I can think of several advantages
1) As a scientist I like accurate information
2) Imagine somebody buying a used PHEV with 100k miles on the clock. They really would like to know how many of those were gas and how many were electric
3) If you own a gasmobile or PHEV, it is good to know how much gas you actually use, and from a maintenance perspective, several problems first show up as an increase in fuel consumption.

I suspect the computers inside the cars do probably record information like ‘house of engine operation’. Of course, who knows how much of that information is available to the end user.

Can you also confirm the 0-60 time in all-electric mode?

Could new batteries be installed later for more range as batteries improve?

There is a very funny discussion of a class suit for i8 owners going on over minuscule range, check the Bimmer site.

I think the construction is novel and perhaps the doors, I’ve played with one..

..but the world needs no more v8s and tiny batteries for the price of two or three Teslas.

It’s actually similar in Price to the specced out Model S P85D. And it uses a tiny (but powerful) 1.5L 3-cylinder engine, not a V8.