BMW’s pending i3 all-electric car will offer an optional 2-cylinder motorcycle-derived engine stuffed in the trunk area to extend range to 250 miles.
The vehicle is now on display in Detroit and the configuration is akin to that of the Chevy Volt and more closely to the Fisker Karma, as the gas-powered engine is used only to turn a generator, and is not attached to the drivetrain.
According to Automotive News, BMW’s head of R&D, Herbert Diess says the series hybrid version will be made available the fourth quarter this year when global sales begin. He did not specify price, but said BMW expects to sell them to buyers unsure about their range requirements.
“I imagine many buyers will order the range extender to cure their range anxiety, discovering later they need it very seldom,” Diess said.
BMW is estimating an initial run of as many as 50 percent of all versions will be requested with the range extender. After some time on the market, and buyer expectations are tempered with experience, the demand may drop to around 20 percent, Diess said.