BMW’s upcoming i3 all-electric car will have the option of adding a 2-cylinder gasoline engine from BMW’s motorcycle division when it goes on sale late this year. According to the Automotive News, the gasoline-powered engine will be used to extend the range of the car from its typical 60-90 miles to 250 miles.
The engine could be based on BMW’s 798cc engines from their F800 series which produce 90 hp, but are more likely to come from their new 647cc engines found in the C-series of scooters which produce 60 hp. The range extender engine will not drive the car directly but will be connected to a generator which will recharge the batteries.
Herbert Diess, BMW’s head of R&D, is quoted as saying at last week’s Detroit Auto Show, “I imagine many buyers will order the range extender to cure their range anxiety, discovering later they need it very seldom…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.”
BMW is estimating that as many as 50 percent of initial buyers will opt for the range extender. Over time that number will drop and level off to around 20 percent as buyers become more accustomed to all-electric vehicles.