What Is the Maximum BMW i3 Range?

The 2021 BMW i3 has a maximum all-electric driving range of 153 miles, but a combustion engine range extender boosts the overall range to 200 miles.
Written by Pat Roache
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
2021 BMW i3
has an all-electric driving range of 153 miles for both its trims. However, an optional range extender can increase the i3’s total driving range to 200 miles with help from a last-resort combustion engine. 
launched the BMW i brand in 2011 to expand research and production of all-electric vehicles. The BMW i3 was the first all-electric vehicle from the sub-brand, hitting the markets for the 2014 model year. This inaugural EV was discontinued in 2021, but it paved the way for new-and-improved BMW EVs like the 2022 i4, 2022 iX, and the highly-anticipated 2023 i7.  
The i3 may have been how BMW entered the all-electric market, but this relatively short-range vehicle could only take the brand so far—literally. Can it get you where you need to go? Learn more about the BMW i3’s driving range, and how it compares to its luxury EV competitors with help from
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2021 BMW i3 range

The all-electric driving range of the 2021 BMW i3 tops out at 153 miles. This BMW was available in two trims—base and i3s—but the two have shared driving range specs since the 2019 model year when they got upgraded with a 42.2 kWh battery.
Now, 153 miles is not a lot in the all-electric market, especially for a luxury manufacturer. The 2022
Tesla Model 3
could run laps around the i3 with its maximum driving range of 358 miles as could the 2022
Chevrolet Bolt EV
with its maximum range of 259 miles. The i3 had an even shorter range of 81 miles during the first three years of its production from 2014 to 2016.
That’s why BMW offered this inaugural EV with a not so eco-friendly Range Extender (REx) package. The Range Extender added a 0.6-L two-cylinder gas engine that would kick into gear once the all-electric range ran out. The 2021
i3 REx
has a maximum combined driving range of 200 miles, but unfortunately, the all-electric driving range is reduced from 153 to 126 miles. That means more than a third of the i3 REx’s maximum range is driven on gasoline.  
Range extender or not, the BMW i3’s driving range will only meet the needs of some drivers—not all. See, for yourself how this range breaks down throughout the years and trim configurations of its production.
Model year and trim
Maximum all-electric range
Total range with range-extender
2014-2016 i3
81 miles
2014-2016 i3 w/ REx
72 miles
150 miles
2017-2018 i3
114 miles
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2022 BMW i3 charging time and fuel economy

The BMW i3 more than makes up for its sub-par driving range with adequate and convenient charging times, but you’ll need a Level 2 charger to make the most of your ride.
A 120-volt Level 1 charger (included with a new i3 at purchase) can charge the i3 in about 25 hours—great for a leisurely weekend, not so much for a week on the go. That’s where a 240-volt Level 2 charger comes in handy with a 7-hour charging time for the i3. If you’re out and about, you can plug into a DC fast charging station to recharge your i3 to 80% in less than 30 minutes.
When it comes to fuel economy, the 2021 i3 has an EPA rating of 124 MPGe city/102 MPGe highway/113 MPGe combined, but the REx package sees that rating go down to 100 MPGe combined plus an additional 31 MPG combined once the gasoline engine kicks in. 
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How does the BMW i3 compare to its competitors?

You may still be able to find a 2021 BMW i3 on the dealership lot, but it’s going to have a disadvantage compared to its 2022 competitors. Here are the major adversaries facing the i3 for the 2022 model year.
Starting price
Driving range
Level 2 charging time
0 to 60 time
Average annual repair cost
IIHS rating
2021 BMW i3
153 to 200 miles
7 hours
6.8 to 7.2 seconds
2022 Chevrolet Bolt
259 miles
7 hours
6.7 seconds
2022 Hyundai Kona Electric
258 miles
9.6 hours
6.4 seconds
2022 Kia Niro EV
239 miles
9 hours
6.2 seconds
2022 Tesla Model 3
272 to 358 miles
8 hours
3.1 seconds
The BMW i3 can hold its own as far as charging time and acceleration are concerned—although the Model 3’s 3.1 second zero-to-60 time is an impressive spec. From starting cost to annual repair costs, however, it looks like you’re paying more for the BMW brand name than a well-performing EV. And if you’re looking for the extra miles from the Range Extender package, be prepared to pay an additional $3,860.
Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Bolt and the
Hyundai Kona
seem to deliver the best average EV performance for the most affordable costs. However, these entry-level brands will lack the added finesse and style of a luxury BMW, so it depends on what you expect from your day-to-day vehicle. 

How to save money on electric car insurance

There’s one other major cost you’ll need to consider for your BMW i3—
electric car insurance rates
. According to recent research, insurance costs for EVs tend to be higher than for their combustion engine counterparts. That’s because electric vehicles tend to cost more upfront, and their repairs typically require more expensive parts.
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The 2019, 2020, and 2021 BMW i3 and i3s with the optional Range Extender share the longest range in the vehicle’s production history—200 miles. This breaks down to 126 miles of all-electric range and 74 miles on a combustion engine. The standard i3 and i3s from these years have the longest all-electric range of 153 miles.
BMW has a 2.5/5.0 reliability rating from RepairPal which puts it behind almost all other car brands. This is due to a considerably higher average rate of unscheduled maintenance and repairs, and a higher likelihood that repairs will be severe—15% compared to an average 12%.
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