The i3's Range Explained

The range on your i3, after fully charging, can sometimes show as lower than the advertised expected amount. Instead of 85-100 miles (BEV model) you're seeing 65 miles. So what's going on?

The car's computer is predicting your range based upon your car's settings, and on your previous driving style. Also, it is possible that if you were last driving in very cold conditions, maybe with an icy or misted windscreen at the start, this can have an effect on your initial computed range for the next trip. Night-time and rainy conditions also require headlights and wipers; hilly terrain puts an increased drain on the battery as the car climbs; windy conditions, albeit very slightly, requires more electrical energy to drive through a headwind, and all that extra energy has to come from somewhere.

If you're seeing a 65-mile range on a full charge, you'll need to re-train the range-o-meter to start showing you a better mileage. This will require a few driving style alterations and a couple of menu settings that should readjust your predicted range over a couple of days or recharges.

10 Tips to Beat Range Anxiety

  1. Switch the car to EcoPro mode and drive around on that setting as much as possible. In fact, this should be your new default.
  2. Precondition the car before unplugging, then you won't have the aircon or heating on full blast at the start of your journey, wasting that precious range.
  3. Don't accelerate hard – keep the white marker below the 4th bar on your power-o-meter.
  4. Keep your motorway speed to 60/65 mph in EcoPro.
  5. Lots of slow and steady, long-distance braking (control the regenerative breaking steadily and for as long as possible before using the footbrake).
  6. Use the wiper's 'Auto' setting.
  7. Avoid carrying excess weight (remove any unnecessary luggage).
  8. If you’re cold, use seat heaters rather than air heating as this will use less power.
  9. Try to coast the car as much as possible. You do this by keeping the white marker in the centre of the console.
  10. On a murky winter day where you don't need to use the full front lights, but still need your tail lights, just turn your lights' switch to the manual sidelights setting. (You will keep your front LED running lights on just as before, but have your rear tail lights on too, saving a little more power.)

Lastly, start to enjoy saving your range. If that becomes your focus, you'll automatically become a better driver. 10 out of 10!

When Your Range is Low

I took the i3 out to drive the battery flat, to see what happens as the power depletes. I set the computer Trip to zero before setting off. My journey comprised of half duel carriage ways, and the other half B-roads (minor roads) on a planned round-trip. Nearing home, at exactly 10 mi to go, the car's battery display changed to orange. From the chart below I knew the Rex engine would kick into life at 6.5% remaining, and acceleration would be reduced when power was down to 1.9%. When the battery was flat, the i3 would run on the Rex generator only. For the BEV model, where there is no generator, the power is restricted in the same way, but there is no extra range with the absence of the petrol generator. The chart below is very useful for more information.

BMW's Dealer Training Chart

Below is an example of a battery chart which BMW supply to their dealers to help them explain to customers the battery consumption of the i3 BEV and REX models under different driving conditions.

BMW dealer training chart
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Keep Track of your Range Improvments using the iRemote app

1 Comment

  1. I follow a few of these tips already but some here didn't cross my mind. The range isn't what was advertised by BMW at 110miles. I guess careful driving might get my range meter reading better than it does at the moment. Good advice. Thank you for posting.

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The i3 new owner's guide

What you may or may not know about owning your first BMW i3. This guide will help you through the blind spots, inform you of the things no one explained and left you to discover for yourself, reveal the nice little surprises, and help you correct the things that don't seem right at first. This is a guide for new owners, and we hope that there will be a lot more of you who follow.