BMW to Offer Loaner Vehicles to i3 Owners to Deal with Range Anxiety

BMW will offer loaner vehicles to customers of its upcoming i3 EV in order to counter range anxiety, a feature that inevitably comes with electric vehicles. According to a report from WardsAuto, the German automaker is developing a global program that provides free gasoline-powered loaner vehicles to buyers of its new i3 EV, to eliminate range anxiety on long trips. Scheduled to launch in first-quarter 2014, BMW’s new 5-seat electric vehicle has a range of 80-100 miles (128-161 km) on battery power alone. This is enough for the average daily city commute, but not for trips out of town. This is why the automaker will offer an optional 2-cylinder gasoline scooter engine modified for the i3, which will double the EV’s range, according to BMW spokesman Dave Buchko. The unit will likely cost around $4,000, adding to the i3’s expected price of around $45,000. Gasoline loaner vehicles will be offered to i3 customers for trips that are beyond the EV’s range, with the cost of the program to be included in the price of the i3. BMW estimates that the i3 will satisfy about 90 percent of the driving requirements of its buyers, with loaner vehicles covering the rest of 10 percent. Since June 2012, Nissan has offered a similar program called “Go the Distance” for owners of its Leaf EV. The program grants Leaf buyers up to 10 free days with a Nissan rental car equipped with an internal combustion engine. By Dan Mihalascu