What's holding up the release of the BMW i3 REx from US ports? Why have all the US BMW i3 sales been only of the i3 BEV? What's the deal with the i3 REx?
Our inbox has been flooded with BMW i3 REx inquiries, most of which contain questions similar to those listed above.
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For an answer regarding the status of the BMW i3 REx, we reached out to several involved parties.
First up was Chad Magendanz, a regular tipster to InsideEVs who just so happens to be Washington state representative 5th District. Magendanz has on order a BMW i3 REx, so his interest in this topic is obvious. Additionally, the state of Washington is home to BMW's carbon fiber facility, located in Moses Lake, Washington. A portion of Washington's economy is dependent on the success of the BMW i3, so a concerned Magendanz sent an inquiry to the EPA.
Linc Wehrly, Director, Light-Duty Vehicle Center Compliance Division at the Office of Transportation and Air Quality for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (recipient of longest job position title ever), issued this response:
"Thank you for your inquiry into the status of the BMW i3 REx vehicle release. EPA tested the i3 REx and provided the results of that testing to BMW on May 13th. EPA is not aware of anything that would prevent BMW from importing the vehicles since May 13th."
May 13th? So, where the heck are the BMW i3 RExs with monroney stickers then?
BMW's position had been that the i3 REx was on monroney hold or held up by the EPA pending certification. Well, now that we know the EPA had completed its part of the task, we naturally had to reach out to BMW.
David Buchko, head of BMW product and technology communications, responded to our inquiry with this statement:
"We are moving as quickly as possible to release the first BMW i3 Range-Extender models to BMW i Centers. Receipt of test data from the EPA is one step, but not the final step, in the process of receiving certification from the EPA. Rules do not permit the release of vehicles for sale until EPA labels are finalized, produced and affixed to any vehicle. Barring any unforeseen delays, we expect that to happen by the end of this week."
This still leads us only marginally closer to discovering what the actual i3 REx hold up is. What we do now know is that the EPA is not responsible for the continuation of this delayed US launch of the BMW i3.
So, what is responsible for the delay? We could speculate that perhaps California's BEVx guidelines/rules are still presenting problems. Or maybe, just maybe, the monroney sticker printer at BMW is in need of repair.
More likely is that BMW is completing the final steps in the EPA certification process.
Whatever the case, we sure hope i3 REx deliveries commence by the end of the week or early next week at the latest.
What's your guess as to what is holding up the BMW i3 REx?
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