2018 BMW i3 EV
text by Rebecca Lindland
photos courtesy of BMW USA and R. Lindland

model. 2018 BMW i3 

msrp.  $44,450

as equipped. i3s REX $58,695

style/seat: 4-door hatch, 4-passenger

motor. all electric motor

engine. BMW 2-cylinder gas range extender

transmissionsingle speed automatic

drivelineFWD

fuel economy: 31 MPGe, 35 MPG (gas)

available: now

I picked up the BMW i3s with 68 miles of EV range and a 43 mile drive home. I experienced a moment of range anxiety, but the onboard gas extender (REX) provides 70 miles.

The i3 handles a bit tall, but not terribly, and it's fun for navigating heavy traffic. The interior is terrific - light colored wood, spartan lines, very mid-century modern. 

 

Unfortunately, I found living with the i3 rather miserable. The front and back hinged doors provide a large opening but proved challenging to load when parked between vehicles.

 

At home charging was difficult with the charging port in the passenger rear quarter-panel. The cord is the length of the car, too short to reach my garage. I used another plug, but it wasn’t ideal. 

 

I took the half-charged i3 on a 160 mile trip and it too was miserable. Once I sapped the 40 EV miles, the straining, noisy 2-cylinder engine kicked in. The tank holds two gallons, so I had to stop twice for gas to get home.

 

If you want an EV, shop around before committing to the i3. I’m a 3-BMW and 1-MINI owner, but the ultimate driving machine this is not.

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