BMW i3 News
In September 2013, Peter Wolf, BMW’s head of production line for large vehicles, said, “We are planning to have a plug-in hybrid vehicle in each and every model series.” Twenty months later, BMW appears to be methodically marching to this plan by announcing the introduction of the 330e, a plug-in hybrid version of its popular 3-series sedan.
BMW is barely out of the gate with sales of its i3 and i8 battery-powered cars. Yet, it has already established a leadership role in the electric car world—putting the company in the top echelon of EV-makers along with Tesla and Nissan. As news emerges of more BMW EVs and plug-in hybrids in the works, the German automaker appears to be moving faster than Tesla or Nissan toward an entire suite of plug-in cars.
There's an argument that a bigger battery pack is more important than greater efficiency, when it comes to range. Under “normal” charging, the Mercedes EV fully charges to 28 kilowatt-hours. But when the “range plus package” is employed, it pushes utilization to about 31.4 kilowatt-hours. Using that number compared to the i3’s usable capacity of 18.8, and the delta between the two is 67 percent.
Tom Moloughney, long-time EV driver and first owner of a BMW i3 with the range-extender option, answers fundamental questions about the car. Let's start with this one: How is the BMW i3’s range-extending system different from the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid?
The sight this week of a trailer full of crushed BMW ActiveE models—posted to Facebook—reasonably recalled old feelings of anger, frustration, and regret. On the surface, it looks the same story of automaker intransigence regarding EVs. Yet, the context for the demise of those ActiveEs has dramatically changed in recent years.
The i3 will be a second car for long-time ActiveE driver Rabie, who says it "takes off like no other car."
Judging from my brief time behind the wheel of both cars, they will equally deliver the high level of handling and comfort expected from a BMW or Mercedes.
Both the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF may be offered with battery choices. It's a trend that makes sense.