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I'd put a five-gallon gas can in the hatch if going on long trips. But you're not realistically going to be toting four people in a teeny box like this for any real major distance.

looking over at my Volt model, I'm reminded just how much we owe Bob Lutz. It's sporty/stylish, as well as pretty much winning in all categories ever analyzed. Did I mention I adore the Volt? It's not perfect in all aspects, but in key aspects, it nearly is.
 

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Yes Scott, it will have a very small gas tank probably only two to three gallons. With an AER of 90-100 miles the thinking is you won't be using it very much, and it's really there just for piece of mind just in case and for the occasional long drive. A Volt would be much better choice for those that frequently drive long distances for sure. I don't think mountains (maybe not Pikes Peak!) will be a problem though. It weighs 1,000lbs less than a Volt (3,781 to 2,756) so it only needs a 25-30kW to keep up with all but the most demanding circumstances.

We'll learn all the details soon. I suspect BMW will unveil the production version sans the swirly camouflage and all the specifications in one of the Spring Auto shows, my guess is Geneva in March. There's plenty of room for more plug-in choices. Personally I don't see competition as a bad thing at all. The more manufacturers that make good plug in cars raise the public perception of all plug ins. If all the new plug in releases fail it just gives the pundits more fodder to lump all electric cars into the 'failure' class. I'm rooting for all plug-ins to succeed. I think that gives credibility to the whole industry.

May 2013 be electric! Happy New Year everyone!
My post was not intended to be negative but only informative. Thanks for clarifying the point about hills/mountains. I understand. Actually I'm 100% thrilled with the competition in plug-ins. It makes them all better including the Volt's next generations or other variations. From being on board with the Volt since the roll out and listening to the politics and haters it is very refreshing to see all the plug-ins. I think the Volt EREV (all electric at any speed/load until the battery runs out still makes it stand out). Thanks for posting!
 

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That's one thing GM should have done is cross branded model with BMW or Mercedes, they would have sold 10 times more as all the "egos" would be desperate for one.
GM pack a lot into the amazing Volt and its a quality product.

Sadly even if BMW served up an IMEV with a pope mobile body the egos will be lining up to buy.
Why on earth do the people line up to buy base model euro cars that have really nothing but expense and are less durable?
Guess even if you have an MBA - doesn't mean its intelligent life Jim as we know it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
My post was not intended to be negative but only informative. Thanks for clarifying the point about hills/mountains. I understand. Actually I'm 100% thrilled with the competition in plug-ins. It makes them all better including the Volt's next generations or other variations. From being on board with the Volt since the roll out and listening to the politics and haters it is very refreshing to see all the plug-ins. I think the Volt EREV (all electric at any speed/load until the battery runs out still makes it stand out). Thanks for posting!
I certainly didn't take it as negative Scott and I didn't reply to try to counter what you were saying, just to clarify. The i3 with the range extender will still be different enough from the Volt in my opinion to have it's own niche of customers. Yes, I said the ugly niche word that many plug in supporters try to avoid, but that's where we are today. It will change over the course of the next decade, but this is going to be a slow evolution to plug ins. I like the idea of having multiple AER extended range EV's. The PIP, C-Max, Fusion, Accord all have a much less AER than the Volt. Later this year the i3 will have double the AER as the Volt and in 2014 there will be an all wheel drive PHEV crossover made by Mitsubishi which I think is the type of vehicle a lot of people are looking for. Choices are a good thing!
 

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Yes Scott, it will have a very small gas tank probably only two to three gallons. With an AER of 90-100 miles the thinking is you won't be using it very much, and it's really there just for piece of mind just in case and for the occasional long drive.
I get this and I don't get it. I understand that even a range extender with very modest range can have a big impact on EV range. First is that you'll be willing to push the range to the absolute limit because the consequences of having the battery go flat are minimal. Second is that you'll be able to take some trips which you otherwise wouldn't be able to take because of range limitations, and a good part of those trips will be electric. (For the average driver the Volt will actually use more electric miles than a Leaf because of these factors). So I get it.

But what I don't get is why, once you've put an engine and all the electronics and software in which supports extended range mode. you don't add a few more gallons to the tank and make it possible to go even further. This is the part I don't get.
 

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Look at the range extender from the Euro-Standpoint.

Good Europeans take the train for long distances.

They don't need to drive I-10 across Texas or make it across North Dakota and Montana in one day.

And 5 gal of gas over there is more of an investment than a purchase.

They aren't going after the 760 buyers with this vehicle.

With a 600cc and two cylinders, maybe they'll call it the iSetta2
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
I get this and I don't get it. I understand that even a range extender with very modest range can have a big impact on EV range. First is that you'll be willing to push the range to the absolute limit because the consequences of having the battery go flat are minimal. Second is that you'll be able to take some trips which you otherwise wouldn't be able to take because of range limitations, and a good part of those trips will be electric. (For the average driver the Volt will actually use more electric miles than a Leaf because of these factors). So I get it.

But what I don't get is why, once you've put an engine and all the electronics and software in which supports extended range mode. you don't add a few more gallons to the tank and make it possible to go even further. This is the part I don't get.
Hi Don,

Let me take a guess at the reasoning. First, I think you are spot on with saying that just by having the range extender there, people will use more of the electric range because they won't be worried about being stranded. So lets say that means 100 miles in warm weather and about 80 in cold weather. (personally I think you'll be able to get more like 110-120 in warm weather if you don't drive it like a race car, but for the sake of this we'll say 100 miles)

The thinking is that with the 80-100 mile AER and lets say another 80-100 mile (with a 2 gallon usable tank) the vast(maybe 95+%) of daily journeys will be accomplished without the need to refuel. On the 4 or 5 times a year the person needs to drive greater than this range they will have to stop about once every hour to hour and a half for 10 minutes to refill. That's not ideal, but hardly a terrible inconvenience. The car simply isn't ideal for the person that frequently drives hundreds of miles, a Volt may be a better choice for that person. It's not the magic bullet that solves every need, but I do think it does cater to a wide group of people that are looking for electric drive. Having the range extender optional is also something I love. I wish there were two Volts; one with double the battery and no range extender and one the way the current Volt is set up. I don't get why GM didn't offer that configuration also. All the work was done, they just needed to put more battery modules where the gas engine and gas tanks currently are. They could have easily fit a 32-35kWh pack in there and offered the customer the option.

Now back to why BMW isn't putting in a larger gas tank. I think it's about qualifying for HOV access in California. Soon- probably by the end of 2013, the green stickers that Volt qualifies for will expire and the Volt will no longer qualify for HOV access. That is a huge advantage in CA and mainly why about 25%-30% of all the Volts sold in the US are sold in CA. It looks like the new rules for PHEV's to qualify will be they need to have a greater electric range than they do in gas or range extender mode without filling up. So if the i3 has an EPA rating of 95 miles per charge, it cannot go further than 95 miles on gas without filling up, thus the small gas tank. The California market is highly sought after, and drives the whole plug in movement. If BMW is the only car with a range extender(of course the BEV only cars still qualify) that qualifies for HOV access, they will have a real coup. Here is an article about this: http://www.thestreet.com/story/11766466/1/bmw-cuts-off-toyota-gm-and-ford-in-california.html

Happy New Year!
Tom
http://bmwi3.blogspot.com/

"They don't need to drive I-10 across Texas or make it across North Dakota and Montana in one day."
No they don't! The i3 isn't meant for this. The Volt is a much better choice if you need to drive like this!
 

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Hi Don,

Let me take a guess at the reasoning. First, I think you are spot on with saying that just by having the range extender there, people will use more of the electric range because they won't be worried about being stranded. So lets say that means 100 miles in warm weather and about 80 in cold weather. (personally I think you'll be able to get more like 110-120 in warm weather if you don't drive it like a race car, but for the sake of this we'll say 100 miles)

The thinking is that with the 80-100 mile AER and lets say another 80-100 mile (with a 2 gallon usable tank) the vast(maybe 95+%) of daily journeys will be accomplished without the need to refuel. On the 4 or 5 times a year the person needs to drive greater than this range they will have to stop about once every hour to hour and a half for 10 minutes to refill. That's not ideal, but hardly a terrible inconvenience. The car simply isn't ideal for the person that frequently drives hundreds of miles, a Volt may be a better choice for that person. It's not the magic bullet that solves every need, but I do think it does cater to a wide group of people that are looking for electric drive. Having the range extender optional is also something I love. I wish there were two Volts; one with double the battery and no range extender and one the way the current Volt is set up. I don't get why GM didn't offer that configuration also. All the work was done, they just needed to put more battery modules where the gas engine and gas tanks currently are. They could have easily fit a 32-35kWh pack in there and offered the customer the option.

Now back to why BMW isn't putting in a larger gas tank. I think it's about qualifying for HOV access in California. Soon- probably by the end of 2013, the green stickers that Volt qualifies for will expire and the Volt will no longer qualify for HOV access. That is a huge advantage in CA and mainly why about 25%-30% of all the Volts sold in the US are sold in CA. It looks like the new rules for PHEV's to qualify will be they need to have a greater electric range than they do in gas or range extender mode without filling up. So if the i3 has an EPA rating of 95 miles per charge, it cannot go further than 95 miles on gas without filling up, thus the small gas tank. The California market is highly sought after, and drives the whole plug in movement. If BMW is the only car with a range extender(of course the BEV only cars still qualify) that qualifies for HOV access, they will have a real coup. Here is an article about this: http://www.thestreet.com/story/11766466/1/bmw-cuts-off-toyota-gm-and-ford-in-california.html

Happy New Year!
Tom
http://bmwi3.blogspot.com/

"They don't need to drive I-10 across Texas or make it across North Dakota and Montana in one day."
No they don't! The i3 isn't meant for this. The Volt is a much better choice if you need to drive like this!
Hmmm, that article about California and the changes to their "HOV Lane Policy" is somewhat disconcerting. The Volt COULD, conceivably, have an option with a smaller tank and larger battery capacity (via a bigger size or improved chemistry) which might make it qualify if this all really plays out like this, but it may or may not be competitive against the i3 from a price perspective.
 

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Now back to why BMW isn't putting in a larger gas tank. I think it's about qualifying for HOV access in California. Soon- probably by the end of 2013, the green stickers that Volt qualifies for will expire and the Volt will no longer qualify for HOV access.
Ha ha! When something makes no sense I guess you should always think of some idiotic state regulatory body.

Makes perfect sense and no sense.
 

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Now back to why BMW isn't putting in a larger gas tank. I think it's about qualifying for HOV access in California. Soon- probably by the end of 2013, the green stickers that Volt qualifies for will expire and the Volt will no longer qualify for HOV access. That is a huge advantage in CA and mainly why about 25%-30% of all the Volts sold in the US are sold in CA. It looks like the new rules for PHEV's to qualify will be they need to have a greater electric range than they do in gas or range extender mode without filling up. So if the i3 has an EPA rating of 95 miles per charge, it cannot go further than 95 miles on gas without filling up, thus the small gas tank. The California market is highly sought after, and drives the whole plug in movement. If BMW is the only car with a range extender(of course the BEV only cars still qualify) that qualifies for HOV access, they will have a real coup. Here is an article about this: http://www.thestreet.com/story/11766466/1/bmw-cuts-off-toyota-gm-and-ford-in-california.html
Thanks for the article.

Here is one from 29-Jan-2012 that was pointed out to me.

California’s new ZEV rule introduces the BEVx; [C]ARB staff expects these vehicles to play a longer-term role than plug-in hybrids
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/01/bevx-20120129.html

[C]ARB staff suggested that the BEVx market may appeal to drivers who would not otherwise consider a BEV with the same range. Since staff considers these vehicles full function BEVs with short range APUs, it stressed the importance of having the minimum range for eligibility be equivalent to full function BEVs in the marketplace.

Basic criteria for these vehicle include:
  • the APU range is equal to or less than the all-electric range;
  • engine operation cannot occur until the battery charge has been depleted to the charge-sustaining lower limit;
  • a minimum 80 miles electric range; and
  • super ultra low emission vehicle (SULEV) and zero evaporative emissions compliant and TZEV warranty requirements on the battery system.

ARB expects—but is not at this point requiring— manufacturers to incorporate further performance limits on charge-sustaining APU mode operation, including speed restrictions.

For the 2012 through 2017 model years, BEVxs will be referred to as Type I.5x and Type IIx vehicles, to fit in with the pre-2018 nomenclature for ZEVs. Type I.5x and Type IIx vehicles will receive the same credits as Type I.5 and Type II ZEVs: 2.5 and 3 credits, respectively. Up to 50% of the portion of the ZEV requirement that must be met with pure ZEVs may be met with these Type I.5x and Type IIx vehicles.
 

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This discussion is very revealing, when in contrast to the above you consider that the Volt didn't even meet the California requirements for the carpool lane initially.
This actually means THE VOLT WAS DESIGNED FOR DRIVERS, not for a mandate.

In contrast, all these other plug-in hybrids are very clearly designed to take advantage of the regulations, even illogical ones. And that makes their actual value questionable.

Lutz actually made a car happen that might never have existed otherwise. That's why people love the Volt. No it's not perfect, yes it could use a bit more EV range... but as a whole, the Volt actually makes sense. (I have a hard time believing the PIP makes as much sense for the average driver, for example).
 

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This discussion is very revealing, when in contrast to the above you consider that the Volt didn't even meet the California requirements for the carpool lane initially.
This actually means THE VOLT WAS DESIGNED FOR DRIVERS, not for a mandate.

In contrast, all these other plug-in hybrids are very clearly designed to take advantage of the regulations, even illogical ones. And that makes their actual value questionable.

Lutz actually made a car happen that might never have existed otherwise. That's why people love the Volt. No it's not perfect, yes it could use a bit more EV range... but as a whole, the Volt actually makes sense. (I have a hard time believing the PIP makes as much sense for the average driver, for example).
A valid point. Like the last time EVs hit the market, virtually all of the efforts looks like attempts to comply with CARB's mandates requiring a percentage of cars sold in CARB states to be electric. There are four exceptions so far - the Volt, the Leaf, Fiskar and Tesla.

The Leaf strikes me as a rapidly built attempt to steal the Volt's thunder - which I believe is a large part of the reason the Leaf accepted the compromises that are now haunting it; it had and even shorter development cycle than the Volt.

Tesla is a billionaire's dream and vision for the future - it'll be interesting to see what happens with it.

Fiskar is interesting. I'm still not quite sure what to make of it. A bunch of industry guys running a new startup dedicated to EV technology. Unless I missed it, their driving focus and funding hasn't been obvious. Another one to watch.

I'm not sure what to say about the Volt here - the legacy of some high powered car guys who took Tesla's challenge and after reviewing their EV1 experience, saw a way to make EVs practical for the masses.

Not to say that a car built for compliance can't be a great car - in fact, they'll have to be either great cars or great deals on cars to sell enough for their manufacturers - but they clearly aren't the focus of the companies building them, and may not be expected to stand on their own or turn a profit. OTOH, they may be a good way for companies to get their feet wet with new tech, I suppose.
 

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This discussion is very revealing, when in contrast to the above you consider that the Volt didn't even meet the California requirements for the carpool lane initially.
This actually means THE VOLT WAS DESIGNED FOR DRIVERS, not for a mandate.

Couldn't agree with you more. The EPA has too much authority and control over consumer decisions - their curtain needs to be swept aside to reveal the truth about their cluenessness and their methodologies that end up missing the mark.

BTW, does anyone know if the BMW range extender directly drives the vehicle, or does it charge the battery for the electric motors to continue their work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Couldn't agree with you more. The EPA has too much authority and control over consumer decisions - their curtain needs to be swept aside to reveal the truth about their cluenessness and their methodologies that end up missing the mark.

BTW, does anyone know if the BMW range extender directly drives the vehicle, or does it charge the battery for the electric motors to continue their work?
It only charges the battery, there's no physical connection to the drive wheels. The i3 was originally going to be only available in BEV form. A couple years into development they decided to offer a range extender as an option (perhaps around the time Frank Weber rejoined BMW???). From the people I have spoken with at BMW, the thought is the vast majority of i3's sold will not have the range extender option, so that will be interesting to follow. I'm guessing about 25-30% of all i3 customers will order it.

Tom
http://bmwi3.blogspot.com
 

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From the people I have spoken with at BMW, the thought is the vast majority of i3's sold will not have the range extender option, so that will be interesting to follow. I'm guessing about 25-30% of all i3 customers will order it.
Nobody is going to say the i3 is sportier than the i8. This is a key point. Personally, I wish the attractive-looking i8 had an 80-100 mile electric range... I'd actually consider getting it. But with only 20 miles electric before range extending engine kicks in, it is (as I said above) not designed for the average driver, who would have to use gas every day.


Looks do matter: what manufacturers are repeatedly telling the public by offering only econobox-styled longer-range EVs, and sportier cars with minimal electric propulsion, is that battery powered vehicles (or even long-range EREVs) are not something the average person would really want. But for a person who's driven the Volt, nothing could be further from the truth. So manufacturers, by offering econobox styled longer-range EVs (or in BMW's rare case, a longer-range EREV), are guiding the average person away from battery power -- because people DO pick cars at least in part on looks.

The Volt stands alone as a real driver's car that is battery-powered, in a field of mandate-sufficient battery-powered cars.

http://www.bmw-i.com/en_ww/bmw-i8/
 

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What's the point of the wrap on the car? I assume it's to disguise something (the specific angles), but the shape still seems pretty clear. The ugly wrap actually draws more attention to it.
 
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