2018 BMW i3 EV
text by Rebecca Lindland
photos courtesy of BMW USA and R. Lindland
model. 2018 BMW i3
as equipped. i3s REX $58,695
style/seat: 4-door hatch, 4-passenger
motor. all electric motor
engine. BMW 2-cylinder gas range extender
transmission. single speed automatic
fuel economy: 31 MPGe, 35 MPG (gas)
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.