Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt BMW i3 Range Extender: Test Drive Review
Cookies on Businesscar

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Business Car website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookies at any time

BusinessCar magazine website email Awards mobile

The start point for the best source of fleet information

BMW i3 Range Extender: Test Drive Review

Date: 13 December 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

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
P11D price £35,825 (without Govt. grant)
Model price range £33,825-£35,825
Residual value 36.5%
Depreciation £22,750
Fuel £1920
Service, Maintenance and Repair £2316
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £742
Cost per mile 59.7p
Fuel consumption 470.8mpg
Range 160-186 miles
CO2 (tax) 13g/km (5%)
BIK 20/40% per month £30/£60
Service interval variable miles
Insurance (1-50) group 21
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited mls
Boot space min/max 260/1100 litres
Engine size/power 650cc/170hp
Top speed/0-62mph 93mph/7.9secs


Expensive, but it's the best electric car to drive yet