Mar 13

Will the BMW i3 with ‘not intended for daily use’ range extender meet US buyer expectations?

 

Yesterday I was contacted by John Voelcker, senior editor of Green Car Reports, kindly asking what I thought of a piece he wrote comparing what is known of the pending BMW i3 with range extender to the Chevy Volt.

His article ponders whether BMW is possibly setting itself up for a new variant on “range anxiety” in the North American market because the motorcycle-based two-cylinder petrol backup may not be enough to match the output of the EV it is meant to support.

In BMW’s view, the “ReX” range extender – its displacement may be 800cc but this is not official – may lead the car to dip into its 21-22-kwh battery’s energy buffer.

BMW-i3-Coupe-Concept
 

Power may be fine in range-extended mode on a level grade, but up long hills, or at speed, or in other taxing scenarios, the performance may tail off in range-extended mode.

The i3’s electric motor is expected to deliver 170 horsepower (125 kw) of peak power to its rear wheels. A suitable ratio for the gas-to-electric output would be 1:2. The Volt is set up this way. Its electric output is rated at 149 horsepower (111 kw), and its gas range extender is around half that at 74 horsepower (55 kw).

It’s not out of the question that an 800cc BMW motorcycle-based engine would be able to deliver half of the 170 peak horsepower of the i3’s traction motor, but that would be pushing it. A parallel twin from one of its liquid-cooled 800cc bikes is capable of 85-90 horsepower, but usually they must be spun to around 8,900 rpm to achieve peak power.

Do you think BMW will make the genset in the i3 a 9,000 rpm screamer? If not, its gas-to-electric ratio will likely be less than the Volt’s, and this is assuming it’s an 800cc. BMW also has a 650cc parallel twin motorcycle engine, so this is an open question.

What is known to date is the stated design parameters set by BMW are not the same as GM established with the Volt. The Volt, as you know, can be driven on gas alone if someone wanted to do it, but the BMW’s tiny range extender may not be able to do this as well.

i3.door_.open_
 

“Consider, for example, a heavily loaded range-extended electric car on a 10-mile uphill grade at freeway speeds,” writes Voelcker of a situation where the i3 may come up short in range-extended mode, “Once the buffer capacity of the pack is depleted, would a 40- or 50-kw generator be enough to keep the i3 at maximum speed on that freeway?”

BMW has said it expects the estimated 100 mile or so EV range its i3 will provide will suffice, and so its range extender is there mainly like a spare gas can to get the driver to a charger if needed.

The car’s fuel tank is only expected to be 2-3 gallons which would only double the EV range. These decisions are being made by BMW in order to comply with California’s arcane requirements to still be considered a “zero-emissions vehicle” (even if it does emit some hydrocarbons anyway).

One thing that’s true of GM’s engineers is they know the American mindset, and what will satisfy drivers for the most part.

A contrast may be seen in BMW’s philosophy as evidenced by BMW’s global R&D chief, Herbert Diess, who was quoted recently saying the i3’s range extender is not designed to be used day in, day out, as the Volt’s range extender is capable of.

“The range extender is not intended for daily use. It’s for situations when the driver needs to extend the range of the vehicle to reach the next charging station,” said Diess. “Therefore, the i3 probably won’t be the choice for customers with a need for an extended range.”

Instead, a plug-in hybrid would be a better choice, Diess said. He also said BMW expects people may flock to the range-extended version at first, but as the car becomes known, those opting for the range-extended i3 will diminish from half of all buyers, to just one-fifth.

“It is more of an issue for those who have not yet had a chance to use an electric car,” said Diess of the range-extender option. “After a few days, they usually discover that a base range of [100 miles] is sufficient to limit recharging to about two times a week. In most cases where people first think they need a range extender, it actually never is used.”

BMW is making the i3 a global car aimed also at Europe and Asia where distances traveled are more often shorter, and driver requirements are different than in the U.S.

The i3 is due for U.S. delivery early in 2014, and BMW says it will lack nothing as a family member of the “Ultimate Driving Machines.”

BMW_i3_8317_668
 

It may be an EV, but this will be a BMW EV, and presumably more fun to drive than a Nissan Leaf. But will the BMW wilt nonetheless in range-extended mode?

That is one mystery, but as Voelcker concedes, there is room for speculation. Even the specific cost for the range-extender is not officially known. Word has been it could be an additional $2,000-$3,000 more for the car possibly priced in the $40,000 range. If this is so, this is not a lot extra for an installed engine, and frankly it sounds too low.

To be sure, we’ll need more answers from BMW, but judging from what it is saying, do you think it is misjudging the American market, and what most people would want? Why bother with a range extender if it cannot meet power supply demands in full?

GM already gave America what it thought was the best engineered compromise – an EV that can travel coast-to-coast on gas if needed – but BMW’s criteria doesn’t appear to be up to the same standard.

Is it possible the i3 with range extender will be a near-miss for most Americans? Or could BMW re-think its priorities before launching the car here in the land of high expectations?

Green Car Reports

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 74


  1. 1
    smithjim1961

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:16 am)

    This reminds me of all the Volt critics who believe the Volt range extender is too large. Are these people not smart enough to understand the consequences of an under-powered range extender? Or do they truly only want a range extender for emergencies only? If the latter is true then perhaps there is a market for the i3 with range extender.


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    Future EV Driver

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:27 am)

    Just think of it as a Nissan LEAF with a range extender to go beyond a 100 mile range (70-80 ish) if needed.

    Probably a lot more fun to drive as well!!!

    More options, whats not to love!!!


  3. 3
    James McQuaid

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:47 am)

    To be sure, we’ll need more answers from BMW, but judging from what it is saying, do you think it is misjudging the American market, and what most people would want?

    There is a certain segment of the American market that is loyal to BMW, and will consider only BMW. This vehicle is not meant to be marketed to the wider market, but instead to a subset of BMW’s customers.

    Why bother with a range extender if it cannot meet power supply demands in full?

    To overcome the range anxiety factor that has limited sales of the Leaf.

    GM already gave America what it thought was the best engineered compromise – an EV that can travel coast-to-coast on gas if needed – but BMW’s criteria doesn’t appear to be up to the same standard.

    The Volt will remain “the ultimate driving machine” of EREVs.

    Is it possible the i3 with range extender will be a near-miss for most Americans?

    Most Americans won’t consider the car due to the newness of the technology, and the cost.

    Or could BMW re-think its priorities before launching the car here in the land of high expectations?

    They could; questions is, will they?

    This is a very interesting write up Jeff. Hopefully George Bower will weigh in on some of the engineering/power train questions raised in this article.


  4. 4
    smithjim1961

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:00 am)

    “…The i3’s electric motor is expected to deliver 170 horsepower (125 kw) of peak power to its rear wheels. A suitable ratio for the gas-to-electric output would be 1:2. The Volt is set up this way. Its electric output is rated at 149 horsepower (111 kw), and its gas range extender is around half that at 74 horsepower (55 kw).
    It’s not out of the question that an 800cc BMW motorcycle-based engine would be able to deliver half of the 170 peak horsepower of the i3’s traction motor, but that would be pushing it. A parallel twin from one of its liquid-cooled 800cc bikes is capable of 85-90 horsepower, but usually they must be spun to around 8,900 rpm to achieve peak power…”

    I believe this 1:2 power ratio is faulty logic. If the PEAK power of the electric traction motor of the Volt were increased to 170 horsepower it would not need more ICE power to move the car. In fact, the aluminum and carbon fiber intensive i3 is expected to be a much lighter car than the Volt so the AVERAGE power requirement should be less than the Volt.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:09 am)

    The 100 mile battery range should allow more flexibility in the use of the gas engine. For the first 70 or 80 miles of range, the extender could stay off. Then as the battery approaches depletion, the extender could stay on more continuously to maintain a safe level of charge, depending on driving. It could be that being able to drive quickly up a 10 mile grade, while heavily loaded, with a depleted battery, is not that much of a necessity. Just maintaining the ability to pass and have some fun occasionally, should be sufficient.


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    Tom

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:12 am)

    100 Mile range is sufficient for most Americans daily commutes. This will be a sufficient vehicle for regular commutes to wok but not for long distance travels. Most of these households will need another vehicle for the long distance trips. If I was looking to purchase this vehicle, I would get the range extender engine just to get past range anxiety especially on cold days when range can be crippled by use of the heater.


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    smithjim1961

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:25 am)

    If the 2-3 gallon gas tank is only to comply with CARB regulations BMW could easily make California and non-California versions of the i3. The non-California version could have a larger tank with very little added cost.


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    GSP

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:35 am)

    smithjim1961,

    When specs are released, there likely will be enough power from the range extender.

    However, the 2-3 gal tank will be a huge PIA for taking it on a road trip. It is a shame because it would be great to have a 100-mile EV at your vacation destination.

    The Volt provides decent range between fillups when taking a trip, and at least you have a 38-mile car at your destination.

    GSP


  9. 9
    Nelson

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:43 am)

    What would happen in a regular car if, from stand still, you drove off in 6th gear? Very slow acceleration at first but once you got moving the engine would need less RPM to maintain a decent speed. Automotive companies need to apply what they know about engines and transmissions spinning the wheels of a car to spinning a generator.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


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    MrEnergyCzar

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (8:04 am)

    Sounds like the same discussion we had 3 years ago. The I3 can just leave a big enough battery buffer to make it up long inclines of 10 minutes. Maybe leave a 25% reserve by putting it in “mountain mode”….

    MrEnergyCzar


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    Mark Z

     

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (8:04 am)

    GM EREV technology is the best and I hate to see its future reputation tarnished by a quality company like BMW.

    The i3 with range extender should be named T-ReX to remind us of its dino powered option.


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    Loboc

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (8:11 am)

    smithjim1961,

    I agree. With a smart integrated GPS, this 10-mile-uphill run could be accomplished by pre-charging the battery (automated mountain mode).


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    Roy_H

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (8:13 am)

    Everybody has their preferences. Some argue this is not good for extended trips and they are absolutely right. But that does not mean this is faulty design. This is intended to be a second vehicle in a multi-vehicle family and the range extender is just for limp-home capability (at reasonable speed but not necessarily full highway speed). Don’t criticize the car for what it is not intended to be, there will be plenty of people who appreciate it for its intended use.


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    Bonaire

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (8:58 am)

    Who drives up a 10 mile hill at freeway speeds that often?

    For suburban traffic, it does sound fine. It seems to fit a segment of eREV versus EREV which the Volt lies. eREV would be “lightly-extended range EV”. EREV being fully-capable extended range.


  15. 15
    George S. Bower

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (9:40 am)

    It all depends on how they program this thing. If they include mountain mode they could minimize the problems. As we all know even the Volt can go into PPR mode on a steep hill.

    My guess is that it will NOT have MM. Diess already told us the answer. It’s an emergency range extender not intended for daily use. Accept it for that and there should be no problem.

    It is a different concept from the Volt. One that has been discussed many times here.

    I like it and I think it’s a cool idea.


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    Dwayne

     

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (10:22 am)

    Personally, I perfer the I3 design. It has more all electric range in exchange for a more anemic range extender. I like that! I suppect that I3 driver will have far more all electric miles than a Volt driver. IMHO the Volt does not really have a “range extender” it has a “battery replacer” at the cost of a greatly reduced AER. To each their own….


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    LeeG

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (10:26 am)

    Although it would be nice if it did, the range extender doesn’t have to be powerful enough to propel the car up a hill at 70 mph. It just needs to be powerful enough to propel the car on a level road at highway speed and/or charge the battery at a moderate rate. When starting off on a day where you need to go further than the AER, program the route in the navigation system and let the computer decide at what point during the journey the generator needs to come so the battery will have sufficient charge to get you home.


  18. 18
    montgoss

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (10:32 am)

    I think I’d prefer the Volt with better electric range. Maybe 10 or even 20 extra miles would be good.
    Except for my out-of-town trips, I think every time my generator has kicked on in my Volt has resulted in under 0.5 gallons of gas being burned (often less than 0.1 gallon). If I lived in a household with 2 cars, I could easily survive with a Leaf’s range (using the gas 2nd car for out-of-town). So, I’m not sure what the advantage of the ReX would be. I don’t think it would make a difference for me. Not if it doesn’t allow for out-of-town driving…


  19. 19
    Dwayne

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (10:33 am)

    I believe that there is a sweet spot for the power ratio that would give you unlimited range (assuming you stop for gas now and then) with designed performance well over 98% of the time …. plenty good enough for me. I can live with the very rare anemic performance in exchange for twice the all electric range.


  20. 20
    Jim_NJ

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (10:36 am)

    smithjim1961: If the 2-3 gallon gas tank is only to comply with CARB regulations BMW could easily make California and non-California versions of the i3. The non-California version could have a larger tank with very little added cost.

    I wonder if GM is considering a Volt with a smaller tank to meet this crazy CARB requirement? It seems it would be almost no cost to baffle down the gas tank to 3 gallons meet the CARB requirement, and for a person that drives 40 miles a day on average, the Volt would still be a great car – and I expect quite a bit less expensive than the i3. And I could see some peopldoing aftermarket work to ‘free up’ the extra 6 gallons in the tank… heh .. heh..

    On the other hand, if GM spent a little money, perhaps they could make a smaller tank and expand the battery into the space available from 6 fewer gallons (the tank is already adjacent to the battery pack). This would probably make the EPA electric range of the Volt 45-50 miles. But of course on road-trips you would have to stop every 100 miles to fill up, which would be a pain. But at least you wouldn’t have reduced performance.


  21. 21
    stuart22

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (10:37 am)

    Bring it on, baby. It’s going to be a bonus for GM, for everybody’s going to be comparing the full performance Chevrolet Volt to a car from a prestige auto maker that has big compromises with its extended range capability. Matching up a Chevy against a BMW with the Chevy coming out on top is precious.

    I actually admire the i3 for its originality and for pushing the limits. Naturally, such a car would have many question marks as did the Volt during its conceptual and developmental periods. As it turned out, GM did their homework well with the Volt; we’ll have to wait for a while to see how well BMW does.

    The i3 concept goes beyond what they learned from their MiniE and ActiveE programs, such as substantially cutting down weight permitting a smaller and therefore cheaper battery. Possible downside to this will be a higher susceptibility to decreased range with more people and luggage occupying the car. If it gets 80 miles of EV range at 3000 lbs curb weight, adding 500 lbs. of people and luggage should affect it more than adding 500 lbs. to a 4000 pound LEAF.

    However,


  22. 22
    Loboc

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (10:55 am)

    I still think the hood is ugly. Plus, I wouldn’t buy a BMW anyway due to feedback from my friends about the cost of service.


  23. 23
    DonC

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (10:56 am)

    As an owner of a Nissan Leaf I think it’s great, particularly assuming the price points we’re talking about are correct. If I were looking to buy an i3 I would definitely get this as an option. It let’s you use the entire battery and, if you run out of battery, it allows you to get home.

    The objection that this isn’t going to get you up the Grapevine strikes me as misplaced because no one should take this beast up the Grapevine. It’s not meant for this. Nor will the gas engine putting out 40 kW be able to maintain MAXIMUM speed on the expressway. It will, however, be sufficient to put out MINIMUM+ speed, which is all you need to get home. This may not seem optimal, but it beats heck out of being in the right lane on the freeway in ECO mode going 50 MPH and hoping you can make it home.

    Also note that the i3 is more along the size of a mini. It’s doubtful that anyone who could afford to put out the bucks for this vehicle would ever want to take it on a road trip. Unlike the Volt, which you can actually take on a road trip, the i3 is strictly a commuter.

    As for blaming the i3′s genset on the arcane BEVx CARB standards, as Walter has pointed out to me, the brain dead folks at CARB seem to have written the BEVx specs to fit the i3 at BMW’s request. Rather than having the i3 designed to meet the specs, it appears that the specs were written to meet the i3.

    Finally, while buying a BEV seems very risky given the chances of battery degradation turning your spiffy EV into a door stop in ten years, the engine on the i3 ensures that after ten years you could still use the car for a forty mile commute even if the battery lost 30% or more of its capacity (not saying they would BTW).


  24. 24
    DonC

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (10:59 am)

    Loboc:
    I still think the hood is ugly. Plus, I wouldn’t buy a BMW anyway due to feedback from my friends about the cost of service.

    High service costs are a feature. You buy a BMW to display your wealth, and one reason you have a BMW is to show everyone that you can afford $200 oil changes.


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    DonC

     

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (11:02 am)

    George S. Bower: It all depends on how they program this thing. If they include mountain mode they could minimize the problems

    I don’t think the BEVx regulations permit this. The engine can only kick on after the battery is depleted. That makes it difficult to implement something like Hold or Mountain Mode.


  26. 26
    Darius

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (11:16 am)

    The key for i3 will be price. In case it will be over $40 000 it will looser vs Volt on US market. But BMW claims targeting Germany and could be different story there since Ampera has not gained grip in Germany and they simply like smaller vehicles.


  27. 27
    ProfessorGordon

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (11:22 am)

    I think this is a great idea.

    As configured, it is an ideal commuter with substantial range for even most long commutes but w/o range anxiety. DonC points out a very valuable side benefit in that 100% of its battery range can be used, unlike a pure BEV. That is worth 10-20 miles of “free” additional EV range.

    …and if it had a MM and a large gas tank, I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t work as an EREV except perhaps engine noise. The generator should have more than enough power to meet the average load and the battery buffer could be made as large as necessary to cover the heavy power needs of passing and hills. It could be configurable–as simple as hold mode (user set buffer size) or in settable increments of increasing buffer-size to handle your trip geography.

    People’s generator/battery ratio needs will vary and I’m interested in seeing how this plays out.


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    steve

     

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (11:31 am)

    So the range extender is basically more like “limp home” mode? Sounds like a step backwards from where the Volt is.

    The BMW is then a car that you still have to plan activity around it’s less than average capability. Looks sort of like having an ICE car equipted with a 3 gallon tank with a gas can and folding bicycle for backup.


  29. 29
    Jim I

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (11:33 am)

    What will tell the tale on this is how BMW advertises the car for sale.

    If it is advertised as an electric car with a safety backup generator to get you home and not as a fully range extended electric vehicle, then it will be OK. As a daily driver, it would actually work for me.

    My one question is: What is the REAL range? Don’t tell me 100 miles and then actually give me 50 in January. Then it doesn’t work.

    That is probably why I own a Volt and am so happy with it!

    C-5277


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    smithjim1961

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (11:44 am)

    I doubt the i3 will turn out as badly as some are speculating. BMW ain’t a bunch of amateurs.


  31. 31
    Noel Park

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (11:56 am)

    Loboc:
    I still think the hood is ugly. Plus, I wouldn’t buy a BMW anyway due to feedback from my friends about the cost of service.

    #22

    I’m with you. +1

    Cute in its way, but no BMWs for Noel, LOL.

    “Buy American, the job you save may be your own”


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    Steve-o

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (11:57 am)

    The i3 doesn’t compete with the Volt. The Volt can replace a family’s only car for use in town or cross country. The i3 is a car for people that can afford to buy a second car just for commuting or driving around town. Its range extender is NOT designed for long highway trips. As such, it competes with the Nissan Leaf, but it will be too expensive for some Leaf customers. More of a small and less expensive Tesla competitor.

    Some people will love the i3, but I am not in their tax bracket.


  33. 33
    Dan Hue

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (12:08 pm)

    I really like the concept. I think it fits better what the term “range-extender” implies, as opposed to that of the Volt, which, to me, seems more like a no-compromise dual powertrain. Like others have said, I would expect the car to be able to operate in blended mode before the battery is completely depleted, which could greatly mitigate the performance drop of the engine. In that case, the key would be the noise level. This is my biggest gripe with the Volt as it is, and it could be magnified with the i3.


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    Steverino

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (12:18 pm)

    The i3 needs to be thought of as a Leaf with limp home mode, not a Volt with unlimited range. I like they concept of a BEV with a safety net. Yes, the Volt can go cross country, but I’d be driving many more electric miles in an i3 than with my Volt, with no worry about being stranded. It hits a certain target.


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    Bonaire

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (12:42 pm)

    I could live with a Volt and a 3 gallon gas tank. Stopping every 2 hours for gas on a very occasional long distance drive for me isn’t horrible. Saving 20-30 pounds isn’t worth it though – but the space savings of 6 gallons might mean as much as 4 kWh of battery space if positioned well.


  36. 36
    DonC

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (2:00 pm)

    Noel Park: “Buy American, the job you save may be your own”

    One of the reasons the German automakers like the idea of an EU-USA free trade zone is that it would allows them to more easily export vehicles from the USA to the EU. LOL


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    Streetlight

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (2:32 pm)

    Clearly BMW did some design stretching to feature that busy dual front grill motif. Distinctive at best. Still VOLT’s a family friendly 4-door vs i3′s large two doors plus a tad smaller. Kind of reminds me of my very long ago Scirocco. The i3 is up against it with comparable weight as VOLT ~3800 lbs but with a Cd=.35. Meaning up a 6% grade at the 70 mph George ran his VOLT data set a couple weeks ago, the i3 couldn’t possibly keep up. Picture you’re reaching the top of a several mile long incline and that bike engine screaming at 5000-9000 rpm.

    So paying out $50+k (with California tax on top of $45k sticker bit before the $7500 credit) shows how much you want a BMW.


  38. 38
    MotoEV

     

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (2:58 pm)

    Tongue-in-Cheek eh?

    I’ll be trading my MINI Cooper S on an I3. The I3 will be used in NYC as my around town car. Leed certified apartment complexes supports EV charging if they offer underground parking. BTW, my road trip car is a BMW Hybrid and NO oil changes are not $200.

    More EV options are always a good thing. You are witnessing which auto manufacturers have the R&D, resources, and strategy to create a new EV market. One has to wonder how the Fisker ‘resignation’ will impact the EV marketplace.

    DonC: High service costs are a feature. You buy a BMW to display your wealth, and one reason you have a BMW is to show everyone that you can afford $200 oil changes.


  39. 39
    Noel Park

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (3:25 pm)

    DonC: One of the reasons the German automakers like the idea of an EU-USA free trade zone is that it would allows them to more easily export vehicles from the USA to the EU. LOL

    #36

    Yeah, export the jobs to the low wage USA. Pretty soon you will hear “Buy German, the job you save may be your own”. That’s if you don’t already.


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (3:54 pm)

    Bonaire: I could live with a Volt and a 3 gallon gas tank. Stopping every 2 hours for gas on a very occasional long distance drive for me isn’t horrible….

    I just looked up the details (on another post here), and it looks like there’s no way to make a simple Volt modification, given the CARB requirements (below). A slightly-modified Volt would end up with maybe a 50-60 mile all-electric range, and a 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 gallon gas tank. Meaning stopping every 40-50 miles on a road trip. But event this wouldn’t hit the 80 mile BEV range.

    Perhaps filling up the trunk area to the be even with the lip of the trunk could push a Volt to 80 miles AER, and then a two-gallon tank, meaning stopping every hour on a road trip. Not very practical for an SF-LA run…

    CARB requirements:

    1. The APU range is equal to or less than the all-electric range;

    2. Engine operation cannot occur until the battery charge has been depleted to the charge-sustaining lower limit;

    3. A minimum 80 miles electric range

    4. Super ultra low emission vehicle (SULEV) and zero evaporative emissions compliant and TZEV warranty requirements on the battery system.


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    CaptJackSparrow

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (4:18 pm)

    Let’s see, what’s the cost of this thingy……
    At 100 miles AER, it will most likely have a 20KWh batt pack….
    It’s made by BMW so price will be high…
    It will also have an ICE…
    Since it’s a BMW, they stack “Forced Upgrades” and NOT have a stripper model….

    All sounds like over $52,000.00 to me!!!!!!

    /That’s Tesla Model S territory…
    //but that’s just me.


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (4:28 pm)

    smithjim1961: I doubt the i3 will turn out as badly as some are speculating. BMW ain’t a bunch of amateurs.

    IMHO, I think it will be a solid build. Cost on the other hand we can only speculate. I’m just throwing out a SWAG.
    When was the last time BMW offered a car that’s the same class/type/whatever as a domestic that WASN’T way more expensive?

    I’m sure they’ll get the die hard BMW folk though.


  43. 43
    James

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (4:29 pm)

    The reason I love stuff like this is that it shows major automakers are
    paying attention. Eventually the winning scenario will win out for PHEVs.
    In other words, the one that fits into the most needs of the most people.
    Naturally this vehicle will be an exact match for some folks who have a
    need for a BEV but are on the fence due to range anxiety. These folks
    will also favor German marques, have deep pockets and most likely
    other vehicles at home to count on for other needs. In all, BMW’s solution
    is a rather intrigueing one. I love that GM was first, and so far, has the
    most sensible approach going with Volt!

    What I like about it is that other ideas for EREV/PHEVs are being tried,
    even if at a large MSRP for a very select group of buyers. This rig
    reminds me of those BEVs we saw six years back with little genset trailers
    lagging behind the tow hitch – only built in. Don’t tell me you didn’t fantasize
    at least a tiny bit, about putting a Honda generator in the trunk of your
    homemade BEV…. :)

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (5:22 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: /That’s Tesla Model S territory…

    #41

    Speaking of which, I saw my first one this AM on the 110 Freeway. It didn’t make me want to give up my Volt, LOL.


  45. 45
    Thomas J. Thias

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (5:59 pm)

    A telling Tale of The Two Heads of Two Automobile Companies-

    What Toyota Chairman Uchiyamada said…Last Summer-

    “The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.”

    What Toyota Chairman Uchiyamada really ment…

    The current capabilities of OUR electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.

    The Toyota Prius Plug In- Max all electric range- 11 miles? Closer to 6 mile all electric range in some uses? Gasoline engine running under load?

    As CEO Dan Ackerson said in his opening state to Congress last spring, quoting from a Wall Street Journal article from months earlier, “As the Wall Street Journal wrote in its Volt review:
    “We should suspend our rancor and savor a little American pride. A bunch of Midwestern engineers in bad haircuts and cheap wristwatches just out-engineered every other car company on the planet.”"

    In many ways the cosly held Intellectual Property, from the extensive research during the concept, design and production of the heralded EV-1, years ago, provided a massive starting point for the Chevy, Opel, Vauxhall and Holden Volts, the Cadillac ELR, the Chevy Spark BEV and GM-China’s City Car – The Sail BEV.
    … and the wonder of just if and when the Via Motors Platform will be available at Chevy and GMC Dealers.

    That Toyota now chooses to stand down, by their statement above, last summer, from the development and deployment of full fledge vehicles in the Electric Mobility Sector, speaks strongly of their inability to bring a substantial product to market and of the position that GM now holds in this emerging market.

    That the best BMW can do is offer a motorcycle engine spinning a small generator to avail range anxiety, or offering a gas car loaner for owners taking long trips is their best in class, speaks wonders.

    The mass production of The Amazing Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle is, now surpassing 41,000 in world wide sales, to date. In range and performance, the American Made Chevy Volt is unexceded by any other offering except for the Fisker Karma at double the price.

    With a national lease price point, starting $329.00 a month, a potential $200.00 or more in fuel savings a month, at $4.00 Gas, after bout a buck a day electric cost, average- The Chevy Volt is poised to take the market by storm in due time.

    Game Changer!

    Best-

    Thomas J. Thias

    Sundance Chevrolet


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:31 pm)

    Thomas J. Thias: That the best BMW can do is offer a motorcycle engine spinning a small generator to avail range anxiety, or offering a gas car loaner for owners taking long trips is their best in class, speaks wonders.

    #45

    Tell it like it is! +1


  47. 47
    James

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:31 pm)

    smithjim1961:
    This reminds me of all the Volt critics who believe the Volt range extender is too large. Are these people not smart enough to understand the consequences of an under-powered range extender? Or do they truly only want a range extender for emergencies only? If the latter is true then perhaps there is a market for the i3 with range extender.

    I was one of those proponents of a smaller range extender and I’m surely not
    a Volt critic. There’s a three cylinder powerplant already in GM’s arsenal, I’m
    not sure if it’s an aluminum block or not. GM is working feverishly on weight reduction
    using a new proprietary magnesium process and new light steel and aluminum
    solutions. With weight reduction comes less of a need for horsepower. It’s a given
    Volt needs to lose the iron block in the current 1.4 Ecotec. Gen 2 Volt will be lighter.
    I fully agree with your post #4 – weight is a huge issue and no doubt gen 2 Volt
    will be lighter .

    One issue with 3 cylinder mills is balance. If the 3 cyl. has a balance shaft or a
    turbo it could add weight making a lighter 4 cyl. more appropriate. Ford won an
    International Engine Of The Year award for it’s turbo 3 cylinder and it will appear
    in the ‘States in a Fiesta later this year. Think of this engine in a PHEV. I think
    a diesel generator is out of the question. Diesel in America is too scarce and
    expensive.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  48. 48
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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:34 pm)

    Here’s a thought: A Spark ( or Sonic ) EREV with a 3 cylinder range extender.

    Discuss!…. :)

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  49. 49
    James

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:41 pm)

    James: I was one of those proponents of a smaller range extender and I’m surely not
    a Volt critic. There’s a three cylinder powerplant already in GM’s arsenal, I’m
    not sure if it’s an aluminum block or not. GM is working feverishly on weight reduction
    using a new proprietary magnesium process and new light steel and aluminum
    solutions. With weight reduction comes less of a need for horsepower. It’s a given
    Volt needs to lose the iron block in the current 1.4 Ecotec. Gen 2 Volt will be lighter.
    I fully agree with your post #4 – weight is a huge issue and no doubt gen 2 Volt
    will be lighter .

    One issue with 3 cylinder mills is balance. If the 3 cyl. has a balance shaft or a
    turbo it could add weight making a lighter 4 cyl. more appropriate. Ford won an
    International Engine Of The Year award for it’s turbo 3 cylinder and it will appear
    in the ‘States in a Fiesta later this year. Think of this engine in a PHEV. I think
    a diesel generator is out of the question. Diesel in America is too scarce and
    expensive.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James

    One problem with weight reduction is that it’s expensive. Composite or
    magnesium parts are expensive. Mass production will cure part of this
    because GM has announced it will employ these solutions in many of it’s
    future models. If a 3 cylinder range extender is less expensive than the
    current Ecotec, perhaps it could make up some of that cost.

    ELR came out before GM has perfected much of this new weight-saving
    tech. GM China just produced it’s first magnesium suspension arm but
    ELR is still heavy as lead. It’s another reason I think ELR is dead-in-the-
    water before it ever gets started. It’s timing and purpose are still
    puzzling – I just don’t get it. The last thing Halo-rich GM needs
    today is ANOTHER HALO!

    ( Plug In ) POWER TO THE PEOPLE! ,

    James


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:42 pm)

    James:
    Here’s a thought: A Spark ( or Sonic ) EREV with a 3 cylinder range extender.

    Discuss!….

    RECHARGE! ,

    James

    #48

    Makes sense to me. +1


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:45 pm)

    Someone alluded to it earlier today somewhere, but it sort of went over my head. But now the MSN/Yahoo news page is running q story about Henrik Fisker resigning from Fisker.


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (6:47 pm)

    Thomas J. Thias:

    As the Wall Street Journal wrote in its Volt review:
    “We should suspend our rancor and savor a little American pride. A bunch of Midwestern engineers in bad haircuts and cheap wristwatches just out-engineered every other car company on the planet.””

    I love that!


  53. 53
    volt11

     

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:11 pm)

    It’s very hard to believe the i3 will be $40K. Stripped of all options and after government breaks, and without the range extender, MAYBE! My guess is typically equipped and with the range extender it’s $55K. A bit pricey for what’s claimed to be an urban runabout.

    In general, more EV choices is a good thing. Is it serious competition for the Volt? So far I’m not seeing that.

    Here’s a prediction, though: unlike the Volt, not a single journalist is going to criticize it for only seating 4.


  54. 54
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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:40 pm)

    At some range marker, maybe 120/EPA, the economies of paying the $250, $400, or whatever per kwh still make me think an “up hill limp-mode” EREV package could be perfect for many. Charging off a low-weight twin, you seldom use, could work well and only require some extra anticipation.

    Public perception, as gen 1 (er, 2?) EVs get replaced in 3-5 years, will come up to speed on just how little EREV performance begins to matter, as range grows. Most consumers will be capable of saying “so, what if during the .01% of the time I have the car, going up the ~5th mile of a hill, on a couple of those yearly journeys, where I failed to sufficiently “mountain mode” plan for it, I actually end up falling below 55mph for a few minutes”. With the BMW, it will simply happen more often, depending upon how its used. I believe, unless corrected, that the it will still be able to restore its charge on a flat, etc, which could again reduce any limp-along episodes.

    Their biggest problem could be keeping the sound of 5000-9000RPM under the bonnet.


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    VikAiRious

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:40 pm)

    steve:
    So the range extender is basically more like “limp home” mode? Sounds like a step backwards from where the Volt is.

    steve,

    Yes, this is the small donut tire of Extended range motors.


  56. 56
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    Mar 13th, 2013 (7:57 pm)

    James: I fully agree with your post #4 – weight is a huge issue and no doubt gen 2 Volt
    will be lighter .

    No doubt Gen II will be lighter. The great advantage of Gen II with respect to mass is that it will be built on a new platform, which is what you need to really reduce mass.

    I don’t though think mass is a big deal. Maybe for acceleration but not for range. I think Frank Weber said that every 400 pounds reduced range by two miles on the City Cycle and one file on the Highway Cycle. For an EV it’s more about aero than mass.


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (8:00 pm)

    Roy_H:
    Everybody has their preferences. Some argue this is not good for extended trips and they are absolutely right. But that does not mean this is faulty design. This is intended to be a second vehicle in a multi-vehicle family and the range extender is just for limp-home capability (at reasonable speed but not necessarily full highway speed). Don’t criticize the car for what it is not intended to be, there will be plenty of people who appreciate it for its intended use.

    Intentional second vehicle already puts a strike against it. It cost about the same as the primary do everything car for registration, insurance and in some locations property taxes. If the second car is of light use, the economic advantage has to offset these costs to matter. Often the second car is the older higher consumption vehicle where fuel costs doesn’t matter so much because of the lighter useage. It’s more like for people that have less that typical requirements for their primary car.


  58. 58
    George S. Bower

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (8:18 pm)

    volt11:
    It’s very hard to believe the i3 will be $40K.

    Try 49 plus 5K for the RE.
    Anyone here that thinks it will be less is dreaming.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (8:21 pm)

    DonC:You buy a BMW to displace your wealth,

    That’s about right DonC!!


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (8:58 pm)

    Streetlight:
    The i3 is up against the volt with comparable weight as VOLT ~3800 lbs but with a Cd=.35. Meaning up a 6% grade at the 70 mph George ran his VOLT data set a couple weeks ago, the i3 couldn’t possibly keep up.Picture you’re reaching the top of a several mile long incline and that bike engine screaming at 5000-9000 rpm.

    +1 on that engineering comment


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (9:06 pm)

    Thomas J. Thias:
    The Toyota Prius Plug In- Max all electric range- 11 miles? Closer to 6 mile all electric range in some uses? Gasoline engine running under load?

    No matter how many times facts are presented, misleading statements continue to be posted. That speaks volumes about intent. Want to stand on actual merit or pass along greenwashing?

    Want to know more, just search for the “priusguru” videos on YouTube and watch drive examples. The latest is an EV drive for 9 miles in extreme cold conditions. With the temperature outside at -2F, it was the ideal for demonstrating battery potential. In the summer, we’ve seen owners exceed 17 miles of EV.

    Owner also report the engine delivering a 50 MPG average following depletion. It’s a realistic “daily use” implementation, on a platform able to take advantage of additional battery power & capacity.

    Honest competition for mainstream consumers (high-volume profitable sales) or just more hype & misleading?


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    volt11

     

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    Mar 13th, 2013 (9:33 pm)

    john1701a: No matter how many times facts are presented, misleading statements continue to be posted.That speaks volumes about intent.Want to stand on actual merit or pass along greenwashing?

    Want to know more, just search for the “priusguru” videos on YouTube and watch drive examples.The latest is an EV drive for 9 miles in extreme cold conditions.With the temperature outside at -2F, it was the ideal for demonstrating battery potential.In the summer, we’ve seen owners exceed 17 miles of EV.

    Whatever, all that falls in the category of “anecdotal evidence”. People here claim Volt EV drives of 70 miles or more, still means nothing to me for what real averages are. I know what I get and it’s more consistent with the EPA estimates than the extravagant claims of hypermilers.


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    Mar 13th, 2013 (11:28 pm)

    Raising doubt was surprisingly effective in the past, but not anymore. It’s now easy to challenge vague claims & dismissals with lots of detail.

    The internet empowers and continues to improve. Examples can be backed with references, confirming it really is what was stated. Follow up is not only possible, it’s expected.

    People researching a purchase will do searches, watch videos, ask questions, work their way through the rhetoric. They’ll reply with actual information, not just parrot a comment or make a generalization.

    What happened here?


  64. 64
    Dezmembrari Auto - Varioline.ro

     

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    Mar 14th, 2013 (7:28 am)

    Hi, i think that i noticed you visited my website so i came to go back the prefer?.I’m attempting to in finding things to improve my site!I guess its adequate to make use of some of your concepts!!


  65. 65
    Grégoire Bergeron

     

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    Mar 14th, 2013 (8:29 am)

    MrEnergyCzar,

    My thought exactly!


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    Jackson

     

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    Mar 14th, 2013 (9:55 am)

    Late to the party, alas.

    This represents a new category between pure BEV and EREV.

    an occasional generator makes sense only if the vehicle has full serial operation, and the AER is over 80 miles (preferably 100 miles) for someone who won’t take it cross country. We have metropolitan areas in this country where the emergency capability (and lack of public charging) will be seen as a must (short of real EREV). I have to wonder if a motorcycle-based generator will be unacceptably loud, or more polluting than one originally intended for a car. Unless the twin is water-cooled, it would be difficult to use it for battery pack (and cabin) heating. An air-cooled engine is simpler and lighter, but there would be serious trade-offs. As time goes by, engines may be purpose-built for this class (Rotax? Something else?).

    I think this category could own a larger market share than BEV 80-100, though not as much as true EREV for the next couple of decades.


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    Mar 14th, 2013 (11:58 am)

    Jackson: This represents a new category between pure BEV and EREV.

    Category doesn’t actually tell us anything. The difference between PHEV and EREV is already vague. Remember that Volt blends too.

    It’s like trying to categorize different automatic transmissions. What’s the point? The size, quantity, and operation of gears vary, but the intent is the same. They all are trying to achieve both power & efficiency.


  68. 68
    gery katona

     

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    Mar 14th, 2013 (12:10 pm)

    There are many variables that are trade-offs to consider when developing these power systems. I have now driven my Leaf for more than 700 straight days and the range anxiety issue only came into play during the first week. After that, even my feeble brain can pretty much tell what I can and can’t do. I only drive 25~40 miles/day and have only charged to 100% about 2 dozen times. For longer trips, we take my wifes Prius or even trade cars for the day. So the Leaf’s limitations fit my lifestyle perfectly. And the i3 should be even better since it seems to go about 15~20 miles further on a charge. But I’m sure there is a segment of buyers that would like the extender option just for peace of mind. As far as juggling the variables to find what best fits peoples needs, the Volt tries to do too much. It pays a penalty in weight and cost, but for some people, it is probably just right. I think an i3 which is designed for city use with an inexpensive, lightweight range-extender would be a great 2nd car.


  69. 69
    Colorado EV Driver

     

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    Mar 14th, 2013 (2:02 pm)

    35,000 Electric miles in and I will keep telling anyone who will listen…. I want a bigger battery. I don’t want complexity. I just want the option to add capacity. 100 miles range is barely enough to make it around the metroplex once. If you can only go 45 miles at 80mph, you don’t have 100 miles of range. I love my LEAF. But I would step up to the I3 today provided the range is greater.
    I charge my LEAF twice a day. While it works for me, it could never be my only vehicle. Make the range an option like Tesla has and let the consumers decide….


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    Mar 15th, 2013 (2:55 am)

    Range extender to electric motor power ratio is meaningless. A gas tank size of 2-4 gallons, if accurate, tells you all you need to know about BMW’s intention for the range extender. This biggest value of such a setup would be to allow a user to be able to count on 100% of the electric range. Not many drivers are comfortable going under 15% of their range capacity. Personally, I think it would be foolish to offer this ReX with such a small gas tank. It would be perfectly capable of driving 65mph on most highways without much of a battery buffer. Give it a hold mode and that covers nearly, if not all highways. The range extender power output plus battery capacity need only cover the average power demand. NVH and higher performance are other matters altogether and would change the “character” of the BMW driving experience.


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    omnimoeish

     

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    Mar 15th, 2013 (4:26 am)

    This type of vehicle assumes there isn’t a subset of the population that doesn’t spend every second driving looking at their fuel/battery SOC gauge. Unfortunately those people do exist and yes, even BMW customers I’d imagine.


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    Thomas J. Thias AKA selling volts at sundance

     

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    Mar 15th, 2013 (6:48 pm)

    john1701a: No matter how many times facts are presented, misleading statements continue to be posted.That speaks volumes about intent.Want to stand on actual merit or pass along greenwashing?

    Want to know more, just search for the “priusguru” videos on YouTube and watch drive examples.The latest is an EV drive for 9 miles in extreme cold conditions.With the temperature outside at -2F, it was the ideal for demonstrating battery potential.In the summer, we’ve seen owners exceed 17 miles of EV.

    Honest competition for mainstream consumers (high-volume profitable sales) or just more hype & misleading?

    Toyota Says-

    “EV Mode/Range
    EV Mode is great for those shorter trips. Prius Plug-in has an EPA estimated driving range of 11 miles in EV Mode range, and you’ll be able to cover them quickly since it’s capable of traveling up to 62 mph on electric power alone.”

    Source- http://www.toyota.com/prius-plug-in/#!/features

    Thomas J. Thias

    Sundance Chevrolet

    The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV- Facts Guy

    @AmazingChevVolt


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    Mar 18th, 2013 (9:41 pm)

    Thomas J. Thias AKA selling volts at sundance: Toyota Says

    That has nothing with the “max” or “closer to” claims.

    In fact, not having just included that in the first place supports the response.


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    LiveStreamWolfsburgGri

     

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    Mar 21st, 2013 (11:54 pm)

    I think this site contains some real fantastic info for everyone. “He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.” by Kahlil Gibran. Live Stream Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams http://bbs.qilurendai.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=23851