BMW claims that the i3 has an electric-only range of about 114 miles in normal everyday driving, which should be plenty for most people's daily commute. The car's charging times are remarkably short; BMW claims a scant 30 minutes are needed to charge the car up to 80 percent capacity through the standard DC fast-charging system. Even at home, on a conventional 220V charger, the i3 only needs about three hours to get from empty to a full charge. For those who desire a bit more range, BMW offers a range extender -- a small 2-cylinder gasoline engine that functions as a generator. With the range extender, the i3 can travel about 180 miles until it needs a gas or charging station.
The cabin is accessed through a combination of traditional front doors and rear-hinged rear doors. Inside, the i3 uses a variety of materials available in several different color combinations, with trim packages named things like "Loft," "Lodge" and "Suite." Many of the materials are renewable, sewn from hemp, kinaff and other unconventional plant fibers. More traditional materials are available as well, if desired.
Standard equipment on the i3 is plentiful, and includes BMW's iDrive system, an integrated SIM card, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, heated front seats, plus rear mounted parking sensors and a stationary climate control system. Options include a navigation system that is smart enough to interact with the car and suggest alternate routes based on battery charge, power moonroof, adaptive LED headlights, a glass roof, automatic climate control, a rearview camera and several driver assistance functions.