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Published date: October 13, 2023

Paving the Way for Innovation: Review of the BMW i3 REx

Paving the Way for Innovation: Review of the BMW i3 REx

Discover the BMW i3 in our in-depth car review. As BMW’s first electric car, the i3 has a unique design and is an ideal city car. Learn more about its pricing and federal tax credit eligibility, its interior and exterior features, as well as its performance and handling.

BMW i3 parked in a suburban neighborhood
Table of contents

The BMW i3 was the manufacturer’s first foray into the electric vehicle market back in 2014. It was produced for eight years, between 2014 - 2022, and is considered a fun and reliable city driving car. In this EV review, we take a deeper look at the features and performance of the 2019 BMW i3 REx.

Overview of the BMW i3 REx

The BMW i3 REx comes with a 42kWh battery. Currently, you can find many BMW i3s in the used EV market selling for under $25,000. This is a key number as an EV shopper since used EVs sold for under $25,000 can qualify for the $4,000 federal used EV tax credit. There have been 45,000 BMW i3 cars sold across the U.S. and you can find older year versions selling for anywhere between $15,000 - $20,000. Add the $4,000 federal tax credit, and the cost of BMW i3 today comes down to a pretty nice and affordable price.

The BMW i3 REx is the range extender version of the i3, which means it has a gas powered portion within the engine that actually charges the battery to give the driver more range. The was an issue with early i3s which had very little range (often under 100 miles per charge). Over the years, BMW increased the range, making consumers more comfortable with buying an i3.

Exterior & design features of the BMW i3 REx

The BMW i3 REx is a small car, but has helped the EV industry make massive leaps forward when it was designed and manufactured back in 2014. The BMW i Team designed the i3 and i8 when they did not have to abide by traditional manufacturing norms and rules from BMW. Instead, they were allowed to innovate and come up with a futuristic design fit for the modern, eco-conscious driver. The BMW i3 manufacturing process pushed the EV industry forward at a time when there weren’t many electric cars on the road. It is clear that Richard Kim, head designer, and the BMW i Team took the future into consideration when designing this car. Kim is also co-founder of Canoe, a popular EV startup. When looking at the i3 compared to the Canoe, you can definitely see some similarities with the boxiness of the look and shape.

The i3 is a bit boxy but not in a harsh way. This car is meant to be driven in the city, and it’s boxy appearance with a short front and short back maximizes the space for passengers, and allows drivers to park in the smallest of city parking spots. As a “future of cities” car, it certainly accommodates to more densely populated cities.

The i3 helped BMW design an eco-friendly manufacturing process with the goal of eliminating CO2 emissions and water waste from auto manufacturing. This process is becoming more and more apparent in BMW’s entire philosophy thanks to the i3.

The BMW i3 REx has relatively thin tires, which is ideal for city driving and making sharp turns. However, if you’re driving in snowy or icy weather, you will want to be careful with this vehicle and make sure you have your tires winterized. For those who still prefer the old school style, the i3 also has an actual door handle (rare in most new EVs manufactured these days).

Interior of the BMW i3 REx

The inside of the i3 is cozy. It’s back seats are clam shell designs, which are fine when getting in but make it challenging for a passenger to get out of the vehicle. It’s trunk is relatively spacious and you can put the seats down in the back to get a decent trunk size, however, there is nothing super special about it. Conveniently, the i3 also has a frunk. This frunk is perfect for storing a Level 1 charger, so that you don’t have to deal with having the charging cables out in the car or trunk. It’s range is around 144 miles and it also has an additional 57 miles from its gas fuse lodge.

Driving & handling the BMW i3 REx

The i3 REx is a really fun car to drive in the spring, summer and fall. It does however have some complications in the winter given its thin tires. Additionally, it has an electrick kick that makes it distinctively an EV and allows for zippy rides around the city.

Charging the BMW i3 REx

The charging port on the BMW i3 REx is a J1772. It also has a CCS plug for DC fast charging, and pulls around 50kW on a fast charger. Its onboard charger has 7.4kW. In the video, Peter uses a Grizzl-E Smart Level 2 charger from his garage to charge the BMW i3 faster from home. You can find Grizzl-E chargers (including the Smart charger) in Lectrium’s charger shop. This Grizzl-E Smart is simple to use and plug-in, and has wifi connectivity.

Subscribe to our channel on YouTube to see more of our car and charger reviews. Additionally, find EVs and plug-ins for sale near you on Lectrium’s EV listing platform. Check out BMW i3s for sale here.

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© 2022 Lectrium. All Rights Reservered.