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BusinessCar got behind the wheel of the all-electric version of BMW's i3 last month and now it's the turn of the Range Extender.
If you've yet to hear about the i3, it is the German firm's first foray into the electric car market: a four-seat city car available with an all-electric drivetrain (which comprises a 125kW lithium ion battery) and a 118-mile range.
It also comes as a range extender, as tested here, which adds a 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine to the mix. It's mounted directly above the electric motor, which itself sits between the rear wheels, and adds more power.
It doesn't actually drive the rear wheels, as is the case with plug-in hybrids such as the Vauxhall Ampera, and is simply an additional power source, upping the range to between 160-186 miles.
BMW thinks the Range Extender is likely to outsell the fully electric i3, at least to begin with, because its longer range and the ability to run on petrol power will be more attractive, though it expects sales to shift more towards the electric-only model over time.
Being an electric car, all the pulling power is available from the off and the i3's low weight makes it very brisk and great to drive. Power doesn't tail off as much at A-road and motorway speeds as it does with most other EVs either, so it still pulls well at 70mph.
The i3 is a truly impressive car and a big step forward, but if there's one snag (apart from the love it or loathe it styling) it's the cost. At £27,825 - after the Government's £5000 EV grant - for the least expensive Range Extender, it is in no way cheap for a city car.
It's far from the only electric vehicle to suffer a high P11D and, if the car will work for your business, the tax breaks and utterly minimal fuel costs will ensure it pays for itself, but it's still a big outlay to begin with.
BMW i3 Range Extender
£35,825 (without Govt. grant)
Model price range
Service, Maintenance and Repair
Vehicle Excise Duty
Cost per mile
BIK 20/40% per month
Boot space min/max
Expensive, but it's the best electric car to drive yet