With Introduction Of Bigger Battery Pack, BEV BMW i3 Now Outsells REx

OCT 21 2016 BY MARK KANE 25

BMW i3 registrations in Germany – September 2016

BMW i3 registrations in Germany – September 2016

The start of volume deliveries of the BMW i3 with more energy dense batteries (94 Ah lithium-ion cells) and a total pack capacity of 33.2 kWh, has brought a shift in Germany shift towards the all-electric model over the REx (range extended).

BMW i3

BMW i3

Excluding the debut months for the i3 (which starting with all-electric sales), REx sales have been the sales leader in the recent years.

  • 2014: 1,243 BEV (55.7%) / 990 REx
  • 2015: 1,051 BEV (46.3%) / 1,220 REx
  • 2016 (incl. Sep): 776 BEV (44.4%) / 972 REx

However in September, the i3 BEV took the lead.

  • 2016 September: 291 BEV (56.9%) / 220 REx

Will the new 33 kWh all-electric BMW i3 maintain the lead going forward?  Has the newly increased range (up to 114 miles/183 km of real world driving) changed the buying demos for the car? Or was this another blip of availability?

We still need some time to see full effect, but it is possible that the new range is enough to now capture majority of sales, while we feel that if equipped with the latest 2nd generation benchmarks (200 miles milestone with DC charging capability) we would see the REx version marginalize for sure.

BMW i3 registrations in Germany – September 2016

BMW i3 registrations in Germany – September 2016

Categories: BMW, Sales

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25 Comments on "With Introduction Of Bigger Battery Pack, BEV BMW i3 Now Outsells REx"

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This example helps gauge real-world acceptance of a BEV vs a PHEV as the battery size of the BEV increases.

This is just a roundabout way of saying the 22 KWh battery was way too small. Given a big enough battery, most EV owner want nothing to do with an ICE REx.



Not to nitpick but shouldn’t it be REx not TEx in the last sentence?

R and T are right next to each other on the keyboard 🙂

I think TEx is the Texas version, which comes with a big enough gas tank to get you across the state of Texas, and operates at Zero RPM. 😉


ROTFL – Best post of the month!

I think the combination of the larger battery size and the greater availability of CCS chargers has made the BEV a viable choice for more consumers. This trend will continue until there is no more market for REx.

That’s a good point. When we first started shopping for an i3 back in 2014, there were zero CCS stations in the Dallas area. So the REx was the only viable option. Now we have a bunch, but none outside the city. There’s still no way for regional travel without the Rex.

Still waiting for BMW to take the obvious step and offer an extra battery that goes in the hollow space reserved for the ICE, generator and tank of the REx version …


Nope. You can’t just add a few more cells, you need to make 360V.
The i3 battery is made up of 8 modules, each with 12 cells @ 3.75V each, resulting in the DC fast charge voltage of 360V.
You’d have to add another 96 cell battery for 360V which would require a whole lot of BMS and cooling with about 15Ahr cells rather than 93Ahr.
A HELL OF A LOT of extra expense and weight (and €€€€) for not much benefit.
Better wait the next+ year and get the 120AHr version.

A pull along battery trailer might be a better option?

I asked the guide on the BMW Leipzig Werk tour about more cells in the space where the REx goes, and he remarked it’d be better use to cart potatoes. German humour is weird sometimes.

just out of curiosity, why couldn’t they add modules in series to increase the voltage to 400v or 450v? this is more of a technical feasibility question than it is a practical suggestion.

As with all/most? OEM cars, it already has 96 cells (most are actually paralleled groups) with a maximum possible voltage of 4.2 volts/cell, so 403.2 volts total. Increasing the pack voltage would require new chargers, and controllers. It is much simpler to increase capacity by paralleling.

I’d rather have them move the charger and inverter over and get more boot space, or a extra storage space in the boot for something like a spare tire.

Extra cost per car sold for developing such a thing: 3.000$
Available space: 10 liter
Battery size that can be added around 3 kWh

You really would want a 3.000$ option for 3 kWh more instead of a 3.000$ option for 100 gasoline miles more?

It just makes no sense. They should better increase the trunk, that might be more reasonable.

That clearly shows that if you have a big enough battery, BEVs will sell. There is a minimum performance customer’s expect before they buy. I wouldn’t say 33 kWh is good enough but apparently it’s good enough to convince more people to go all electric. Now increase the battery to 50 kWh and you will see much better sales.

Or it could be a simple matter of people growing more familiar with BEVs,and having less artificial range anxiety. I can remember being worried when I got my Leaf, and then relaxing quite a bit when I grew accustomed to how far it would go on a charge, and how easy it was to find recharging on the road.

As the owner of a Bev in Western Australia I can say I would love the extra range ( 200 miles) but is more emotional than real. We use ours for everyday use 95% of the time and have a big SUV gathering dust . I get an average of 100 miles out of current battery and have never come close to running out. We treat it like an iPhone…use it during the day then plug it into our big solar system to top it up…by the way the car the i3 has been perfect and flawless in every way and we love it.

Cool! Always good to hear that things are going well with evs, down-under. It’s a natural fit.

Or it could just reflect the product mix that BMW decided to manufacture. After all, this isn’t a Tesla-like process where the consumer dictates exactly the car they want to buy. At the end of the day, what’s on the lot is on the lot. A few months ago, I looked at BMW dealer inventories and you would have been hard pressed to find a vehicle in stock without a REx.

As an experienced EV driver who just went “backwards” from EVs to PHEVs due to lack of reliable and widespread charging infrastructure, here’s my opinion. I think I would be willing to go back to BEV with a range of 125 miles (EPA rating). The more the better. The new Leaf and i3 almost have enough. But not quite. Although having a more widespread charging infrastructure would reduce my requirement to 100 miles.

Look at it this way. Even the Bolt EV still can’t make the trip from Dallas to Houston. And i3 Rex can, though!

Yep, having 80 miles of gasoline range is enough to make long range travel at least somewhat palatable. 10 minutes to pull off, refuel, and get back on the highway is not too bad of a penalty every 75 miles or so. I like to stretch my legs for a minute every hour or so anyway.

Meanwhile the Bolt will give you about 200 miles on the interstate on initial charge, but then even if (big if) you can find fast chargers roughly convenient to your trip, you are having to stop for 30 minutes every hour and a half.

it’s certainly difficult to extrapolate a trend on the basis of a single month’s sales. but one thing worth noting is whether an increase in BEV sales appears to correlate to a decrease in ReX sales. from the chart, it appears that one reason why the reason why the ReX had higher 2015 sales was because of sales that occurred in november and december of 2015. the other reason is that, after starting out with stronger sales at the beginning of 2014, sales of the BEV version appeared to generally decline even though ReX sales generally don’t show any particularly pronounced pattern one way or the other.

the other thing that i noticed is that both the BEV and ReX had record registrations in germany in september. since both the BEV and ReX have the same 94kWH battery, it’s not clear that the increase in the battery size is really going to make much difference. after all, we’re only talking about 114 miles of range on the battery, but i’m looking at it from the perspective of US driving patterns as i have no idea of what german driving habits are.