The BMW i3 is set to launch later this year, and one option will be a 2 cylinder motorcycle engine and a generator to extend the range of the electric vehicle.
BMW’s head of research & design, Herbert Diess, said the range extender will be offered as a package on the i3. He didn’t say how much the option would cost, but it will be available when the i3 goes on sale globally in the 4th quarter of 2013.
The BMW i3 has an electric range of somewhere between 60 and 90 miles, and with the gasoline range extender, can get around 250 miles on a tank of gasoline and fully charged battery pack.
The motorcycle engine is housed in the trunk and connected to a generator that recharges the lithium-ion battery pack – the engine isn’t mechanically connected to the wheels.
Diess said “I imagine many buyers will order the range extender to curb their range anxiety, discovering later they need it very seldom.” He expects the order rate for the option might exceed 50% with early buyers, and end up stabilizing around 20%. That could be because he knows prices – if the option was cheap enough, why wouldn’t you? It looks like the BMW i3 was designed with a space for this range extender in mind, so it won’t exactly be taking up one of your rear seats or anything.
Diess concluded that “”For those who plan a daily use of the range extender, probably the i3 is not the right choice, with a plug-in hybrid model being a better suitable solution.”