The BMW i3 REx, one equipped with a 647 cc two-cylinder petrol engine which serves as a range extender (REx), will be phased out for good, according to Green Car Reports. BMW’s connected e-mobility manager, Jan Freimann said “it has no future,” because the rapid progress of lithium-ion battery and fast-charging networks have made the i3 REx redundant.
The range extender model has already been removed from European markets since October 2018, but Freimann said it may continue to be sold for a while longer in markets such as the US. However, the range extenders may no longer be a part of the automaker’s e-mobility strategy moving forward.
“The idea behind the range extender really helps people to get over range anxiety. With a range extender you always had the feeling like okay, I’ve got a backup solution,” he explained. Things are changing quickly, though. The introduction of DC fast-charging network such as Ionity in Europe and Electrify America in the US have quelled range anxiety, so “there’s really no need to be afraid,” Freimann said.
For instance, the new BMW i3s now gets a larger 120 Ah lithium-ion battery (with Samsung’s prismatic cells), offering users up to 345 km of driving range (WLTP standards) on a full charge. Recharging the battery can be done either via AC or DC charging, the former utilising an 11-kW onboard AC charger and a Type 2 connection. For DC charging, the i3s takes up to 50 kW.
Simply put, there’s no longer a need for the REx, adds the report. According to BMW’s internal data, energy density will be doubled again by 2030. For now, the i3s will continue to be offered in the North American market “for the foreseeable future,” at least until the next big battery upgrade occurs in 2021.
Meanwhile, BMW Group board member of customer, brands and sales, Pieter Nota said the i3 may not even get a successor. Instead, the automaker will focus on implementing battery and plug-in hybrid powertrains for other more mainstream models, while at the same time developing pure electric models as well. “There’s no specific plan for an i3 successor. We are now bringing electrification more to the mainstream,” he said. Is this really the end of the i3?
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