BMW AG is extending the range of its i3 electric car by offering a two-cylinder motorcycle engine and a generator to extend the range. According to BMW's head of r&d, Herbert Diess, the engine and generator package will be offered as an option on the i3 when the electric car is made available worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2013.
He, however, did not disclose how much a customer has to shell out to avail of the package. The i3 currently could travel from 60 to 90 miles on a single electrical charge.
Diess said during the Detroit auto show that the i3’s range could increase up to 250 miles once installed with a two-cylinder gasoline engine that is derived from a BMW motorcycle. The engine will be placed in the trunk and connected to a generator that recharges the battery. However, the two-cylinder engine doesn't transmit mechanical power directly to i3’s wheels.
Diess told Automotive News that he expects buyers to order the range extender to “cure” their range anxiety, only to discover later that they seldom need it. He expects the order rate for the engine option to surpass 50 percent with early buyers, and to stay steady at around 20 percent.
Diess remarked that an electric car caters to the needs of urban daily commuters, who would find the gasoline engine useful for longer trips on the weekend. He added that for consumers who plan a daily use of the range extender, it is better for them to acquire plug-in hybrid model instead of the i3.