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BMW i3 review – the city car perfected? - MPG and running costs

The BMW i3 is a genuinely impressive take on the electric city car.

Evo rating
  • Brilliant performance, great interior, stand-out looks
  • Range extender engine noisy, limited range without it

MPG and running costs

Low running costs are a feature of all electric cars and the i3 is no different, though obviously how much it costs per mile of driving is largely down to the rate you pay for the electricity you use to charge it up. The average off-peak UK economy 7 tarriff is currently around the £0.06/kWh mark, with standard rates around double that.

BMW quotes an energy usage value of 29kWh per 100 miles, but of course most people are fixated by the theoretical range (call it 130 miles for the new 33kWh battery pack). On those calculations, 100 miles of running in an i3 will cost under £1.74 off-peak and £3.48 at peak times.

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On the regular EU combined cycle the standard i3 has 195 miles of range since its battery upgrade, but realistic range will be nearer the 130-mile mark. The range-extended model can't travel as far on electric power alone, but BMW's official figures peg the car's combined petrol and electric range at 231 miles.

You'll have to be wearing particularly thin soles and the patience of a saint to achieve that, but for some the peace of mind of an extra 80-or-so miles of petrol power will offset the small performance and refinement penalties of the range-extender. An EcoPro mode, which dulls throttle response and caps your top speed, could potentially stretch your figures. But life's too short sometimes, isn't it?

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The standard car comes with zero rated road and Benefit in Kind taxation and there are so few moving parts that servicing costs are kept to a minimum. Even the range extender model only attracts five per cent BIK. BMW also has its own 'FlexiMile' insurance for the i3, designed around the likely low annual mileage for such vehicles.

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