BMW is developing a global program providing a free internal-combustion-engine powered vehicle as a loaner vehicle to buyers of the soon-to-be-available BMW i3 electric vehicle.
The i3 5-seat EV is set to go on sale during the first quarter of 2014. Powered by a 134-kW (180hp) electric motor and a 32 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the EV will have an estimated range of 80-100 miles before the battery pack is depleted.
BMW spokesman Dave Buchko recently said that the i3 would have a range extender option for $4,000. The range extender system includes a 2 cylinder gasoline powered motorcycle engine modified for the i3, and it will double the range of the EV (we previously thought it would allow you to travel unlimited distances on gasoline power alone).
BMW estimates the 200 mile combined range will satisfy 90% of trips a BMW i3 buyer will make, and the loaner vehicles will be available for the other 10% of those trips.
The price for the loaner program is included in the price of the i3 – likely somewhere around the mid $40,000s. BMW did not specify how many free loans were included with the plan.
The BMW i3 is a compact city car, built from the ground up with a carbon fiber body shell and high-tech materials to cut down on weight. Charging time for the i3 is expected to be in the 4-6 hour range, which is similar to the BMW ActiveE demonstration fleet currently being leased by BMW.