BMW Planning Loaner Program for i3 EV Customers Wishing to Road Trip
Range anxiety can be suffered by the driver of any vehicle, but today most often refers to the panic induced in drivers of electric vehicles over whether or not a destination is too far from a charging station. (To say nothing of how long charging might take once one arrives.) BMW, however, has a plan in the works for future customers of its upcoming i3 electric vehicle to address potential range-related snafus: gas-powered cars. According to Ward’s Auto, the company is working on a loaner program for i3 buyers wanting to travel farther than the i3′s driving range allows to borrow a conventional, gas-powered BMW.
BMW estimates around 100 miles of electric-only driving range for the i3; an optional two-cylinder range-extending engine will add roughly 90 miles to that figure. Either way, road-tripping won’t be as easy or possible in an i3 as it is in a regular ride. A gas-powered loaner car neatly solves the issue of the occasional 190-plus-mile journey, and a BMW spokesperson confirmed to us that such a plan is being hashed out. However, given that the i3 doesn’t go on sale until later this year in Europe and early 2014 here, details of the loaner program are still being fleshed out.
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As to what the gas-backup plan will cost, Ward’s says the loaner deal will be included in the price of an i3, which is expected to start in the mid-$40,000 range. Whether or not there will be any limits on (or requirements for) loaners is yet to be determined, but the limits of the i3 itself are already clear.