Electric Cars

2019 BMW i3 loses range extender in Europe thanks to bigger battery

The range extender will continue to be offered in other markets, including the US.

BMW

BMW announced that the 2019 i3 electric city car would pack a 30-percent improvement in range, which is a pretty big boost. Evidently, it's big enough for BMW to ditch the i3's optional range extender in its home market.

The 2019 BMW i3 won't be offered with a range extender in Europe, Autocar reports, citing confirmation from BMW itself. It will, however, remain an option in both the US and Japan, where it's more popular.

Popularity appears to be the main reason behind this decision. In an email to Roadshow, a BMW spokesman laid out some data about the range-extended i3 and subsequent updates to its battery. According to BMW, 61 percent of global i3 sales included the range extender. Following a battery update in 2016 that increased its range, that percentage dropped, and currently it's hovering somewhere under 40 percent. In Europe, 50 percent of i3 models in 2015 had the range extender, and now that number is around 25 percent.

The 2019 i3 featured a few small updates to its standard and optional equipment, in addition to its bigger battery.

BMW

In a different statement to Autocar, BMW attributed the decision to battery improvements and market preference. "With the gains in pure-electric range, together with the increasing availability of rapid charging facilities we believe the customer demand is shifting to an pure-electric model," the statement to Autocar reads.

On the other side of the spectrum, BMW's spokesman said that the majority of i3s sold in the US carry the range extender. The US is pretty darn big, so while the i3's improved range might satiate European EV buyers, traveling cross-country in the US still requires multiple stops at chargers along the way.

BMW brought its updated 2019 i3 to the Paris Motor Show. In addition to some light trim updates, it features a much larger battery, with a capacity of 42.2 kWh versus the 2018 i3's 33 kWh. Here in the US, the updated i3 is good for an EPA-estimated range of 153 miles, or about 30 percent more than the 2018 model. BMW hasn't said how much more range the 2019 i3 will get from its range extender, which is an optional 650cc two-cylinder engine that only exists to add charge to the battery -- it's not connected to the drive wheels at all.

Paris Motor Show: Check out all our Paris coverage in one fell swoop.

2019 BMW i3: Get the lowdown on BMW's updated electric city car.