2014 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car at 3 years [photo: owner Tom Moloughney]
I’ve needed to buy 72 gallons of gas for the 2,700 miles I drove with the range extender running, which is an average of 37.5 mpg.
Since I’m at 71,000 total miles now, my lifetime MPG is just under 1,000 miles per gallon. In total, I’ve spent about $200 on gas.
As for my electric consumption, again it’s a tale of two seasons. From April through September I’m averaging 4.2 miles per kWh.
However from October through March my efficiency takes a hit with the colder temperatures here in New Jersey, necessitating the use of the cabin heater.
BMW ActiveE electric car in front of old gas pumps, Belvidere, NJ [photo: Tom Moloughney]
During those months I averaged about 3.7 miles per kWh. Adding in the 8 percent to 9 percent charging losses incurred, that comes out to a total of about 19,000 kWh of electricity. At the $.11 per kWh I pay in New Jersey, the electricity cost would be about $2,100.
Therefore, the total cost to refuel my car over the past three years would have been about $2,300. I say “would have been” because I have a solar array that provides about 90 percent of the electricity required to power my home and my car.
In reality, I’ve probably paid somewhere around $1,000 out of pocket in total because I sometimes charge at work where I do pay the 11 cents per kWh listed above.
Using the full $2,300 figure (what someone without a solar system, living in New Jersey would have to pay) the car cost about 3.2 cents per mile in fuel.
2014 BMW i3 REx owned by Tom Moloughney
While it may seem that I have a lot of nitpicks and complaints, the truth is that I really do love my BMW i3 REx.
I still enjoy talking to people who ask me about it. Even though it's been on the market for three years now people continue to stop me in parking lots and ask questions.
I suppose that's partially because of its unconventional styling, but lately I'm getting more, "That's the electric BMW, right? I heard about that. How do you like it?"
As much as I like it for the driving experience, I'm still really impressed with how much effort BMW put into making a car unlike anything it had made before. Pretty much everything about the i3 is different.
From the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body shell to the aluminum frame, from the thermoplastic body panels to the kenaf fiber dashboard, BMW stepped way outside its comfort zone to make the i3, and I applaud that.
2014 BMW i3
Too often automakers play it safe and stay close to what they know works. The i3 is totally different in every way, and it really has a futuristic feel to it.
BMW could have easily made an electric "compliance car" in the least expensive way possible, as some other carmakers have, but it chose not to.
Sure, the styling is very unconventional—and many people don't like it—but it's really grown on me.
Next year, BMW will give the i3 a mild refresh, and if the rumors are correct, it will also introduce a new "i3 Sport" model.
If that's true, it may just be time for me to upgrade..