The Fast Lane Car Tests BMW i3 – Video


BMW i3

BMW i3

Here’s The Fast Lane Car’s review of the BMW i3 REx.

“The 2015 BMW i3 is an electric car that can also be purchased with a range extending gasoline engine. In this TFLcar review Nathan and Emme spend a day living and testing BMW’s least expensive EV.”

It’s worth point out that $54,000 is not the price that typical i3 REx buyers pay these days. With dealers incentives and some haggling, most buyers can knock $10,000 off that number, maybe even more and lease deals are enticing too.

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12 Comments on "The Fast Lane Car Tests BMW i3 – Video"

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David Murray

Decent review.. too bad they didn’t review the range extender so that all of the anti-BMW people can see that it really does work.


Edmunds is doing a long term review of the i3 Rex and they are not anti-BMW but this is one thing they had to say:
“When the range extender came back on, I was just beginning the long climb on California Highway 154 through the San Marcos Pass to an elevation of about 2,000 feet. At first the i3 climbed easily. But after about seven miles of steady climbing, my speed began to drop. By the time I reached the pass I was going only 30 mph with my foot to the floor. Apparently, I was in danger of overrunning the ability of the gasoline range extender to charge the battery.”

Warren M

I did the San Marco pass this weekend in my LEAF. They should no better than going up the grade on a dead battery without expecting performance degradation. I mean 100,000 watt motor and a 25,000 watt generator….do the math. The neat thing is they could of just pulled over in the turnoffs for five minutes (where there are no L2 chargers) and they probably would have been fine to resume normal speed. Still a trip saver.


Oh… let me see, it doesn’t mentionned the speed they going and they just “happen” to have the REX started in a steep climb.

You know what, I prefer this guy:


At least he has the honesty to say that he tried to fault the REX and while he did succeed, it took effort and speeds that are not legal in most states.

And I can confirm based on my own experience.

David Murray

Honestly, I really don’t care about those mountain passes. It isn’t what the car was designed for. The fact is the Rex works on 99% of cases. The fact that everyone wants to poo-poo on the I3 Rex over that 1% rare circumstance, which to be honest can be avoided with better planning, is just as dumb as poo-pooing on the Volt because it has ERDTT (engine comes on in cold weather) or for that matter poo-pooing on an pure EV like the Leaf because it can’t drive across the country. Basically it is just an excuse to put the car down for an emotional bias.

Naturally, we cannot lump all non-positive observations of any make and model of EV, PHEV or EREV into “poo poo”ing. I myself have criticized the habit of EVers driving their cars in situations they were not designed for and then writing about it as if it was OK for everyone to do what they did. In truth – they are saying, “this vehicle was able to do this task it was not designed to do – not without extra effort, planning and risk-taking by it’s owner”. Yet the gist is, “Yay! Electrified cars can do it all!” Reliably, some chime in and applaud the effort as proof their cars do not have limitations. All vehicles have limitations. Some more than others. Commuter/City EVs have a good amount more limitations intrinsically, based upon their battery pack size and existence/state/type of charging opportunities. We have to establish that this is not “poo poo”ing, but a need to state fact in order for the public not to be mislead. Same goes for reporting facts on repairing BMW i3’s, the type, make, origin and capabilities of it’s 2-cylinder range-extender, the clumsiness of it’s rear doors or it’s price. Same goes for other observations, often… Read more »

Eh, David – I’d say there is a big difference here.

You sell me a Leaf, you tell me that range is up to 84 miles with less ideal conditions sapping range. I accept that.

You sell me a i3 REX and you tell me I can go over 100 miles. I accept that. You never told me upfront that there can be times when the vehicle is NOT DRIVEABLE. Any vehicle that can potentially put the occupants’ safety at risk should be poo-poo. You need to let me know upfront that the REX is underpowered and educate me on the proper safe use of the vehicle.

So ya, in the meantime, I’ll continue to poo-poo the i3 REX as a crummy Volt wannabe.


Calling the REx a crummy volt wannabe is about as accurate as calling the 40 mi AER Volt a crummy EV wannabe–not very!

Actually, BMW is pretty clear when they sell you the car (to the point of being anoying) the BMW i3 REX is a city car. That you should look for a plug when the REX start, the car tells you that as well. So yes, BMW informs the client. That being said, once you put it in the hands of the client, BMW has no control over what the client do with the car. The same way Tesla will have no control over client willing to do “off roading” with X because it sold as an SUV (even though we all know it is a CUV). The new software version provide more information about how you use/abuse the REX so the driver can adapt it’s driving before being force by the car. An other update will come this fall addressing the other extreme case when you live in area where the topology is unusual. And after 7K miles with my i3, 1K highway miles on the REX @ 65-70mph, the REX does what it is intended to do. Never got into restricted use and yes, I climbed hills with it. You are not happy with it, the good news… Read more »

Fact: The tiny gas tank got tinier in America go meet ZEV requirements. Owners often gather in “hack groups” to hack the car’s software to return the i3ReX to European performance and increase the capacity of it’s gas tank. Problem is, BMW dealers tell me they consider this a modification that voids the warranty.

There is no doubt the i3 will evolve. It has to. With Nissan’s CEO stating there will likely be an option for LEAF consumers to triple the range via larger battery pack. With Volt now showing stronger as an electric/gas option. With Bolt 1 1/2 years away with it’s 200 mile range.

I sincerely hope the i3 v.2 has increased range, a more capable range extender not made in Taiwan, loses the wacky doors in back and smoothes out some more of it’s rough edges. It’s an interesting first attempt at a unique EV/EREV selling at premium prices.


I made in Taiwan a port attempt at a joke or do you know that little about BMW?


James!!! it’s been a while… what’s up?

You want to talk about funny doors? Let’s talk about the Tesla X 😉 The doors are fine, you learn, you adapt and find it is usefull for other reasons.

As for the tank size? Well, I don’t know, let me check, I recently did over 650 miles trip (yup I actually left the comfort of the city) and only use 1.26 Gallons… (yes I’ll let you calculate the mpg on that). How? Well the i3 comes with a Combo port… I know you know, I’m just being facetious.

If the i3 had a higher range, it would reduce the number of fast charge, but I would most probably still need the REX to reach that same destination.

The size of the tank become a none-issues as DCFC network are being built.