The i8 is BMW's expensive sleek futuristic plug-in hybrid supercar. The car is powered by a one-two punch by a powerful 96-kilowatt (129-horsepower) electric motor driving the front wheels—and an efficient 230-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine motivating the rear wheels. The car has a delightful split personality: switching on command between virtuous EV silence, and a delightful Porsche-like engine note when driven as a sports machine.

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More than five years after its introduction, the BMW i3 remains an excellent choice for electric commuters. The current version of the small, fast, and fun EV is capable of traveling 153 miles on a single charge. The electric Bimmer is also available, at least for another year, with a 2.4-gallon gas engine that fires up when the battery is almost depleted—boosting driving distance to 200 miles.

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The 2020 BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid is nearly identical to the internal-combustion version of the 5-Series. It uses BMW’s eDrive system combining a turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-four with an electric motor and a 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Remarkably, the 2020 530e has an identical sticker price to the 530i. After a $5,836 federal tax credit and local rebates, the 69-MPGe plug-in variant becomes the smart economic choice.

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If you like the style and road manners of a BMW 3-Series, but want to push the envelope on efficiency, then the 330e could be the answer. The 2020 version of the 330e bumps its all-electric range to around 25 to 30 miles. At the same, a new XtraBoost feature provides bursts of power at nearly 300 horsepower.

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By Jim Motavalli ·
May 28, 2014

First BMW i3 Drivers Share Impressions

BMW is delivering its new electric cars, and the early adopters like what they see—but have a few minor issues.

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By Jim Motavalli ·
May 02, 2014

BMW i3's First American Customer: Boston Professor Charlie Rabie

The i3 will be a second car for long-time ActiveE driver Rabie, who says it "takes off like no other car."

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By Jim Motavalli ·
April 10, 2014

BMW i3 Buyers Face Long Wait Times for Delivery

One dealer says people who sign up for the car now are looking at 2016, but others say it will be a matter of months.

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