When BMW launched the i3 in 2013, it made sure to ease buyers’ range anxiety by offering it with an optional range extender (REx).
If the batteries ran out of juice, the range extender would kick in and provide additional energy to the drive unit. Fast forward to 2018 and the range extender version has been dropped.
The reason behind the decision is simple. The BMW i3 debuted a new battery pack at the Paris Auto Show that enables a driving range of 193 miles (310 km) under the more realistic WLTP cycle. The new 42.2kWh battery offers 34 miles (55 km) more range than the old 33kWh unit, and BMW believes that’s enough to render the range extender useless.
“The Range Extender i3 will cease production and we will only sell the pure-electric version going forward,” BMW said in a statement quoted by Autocar. The automaker also motivated the decision with the increasing availability of rapid charging facilities.
The BMW i3 REx, which used a 650-cc two-cylinder gasoline engine, offered a claimed driving range of 231 miles (371 km) under the less realistic NEDC cycle.
Dropping the range extender version might be a bold decision to make as the i3 REx accounted for approximately 60 percent of total i3 sales, despite a carrying a hefty premium over the base model. There are now only two remaining variants in the 2019 BMW i3 lineup, the standard i3, and the sporty-flavored i3S (pictured).