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.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Subscribe now and get your first 5 issues for £5 or buy the latest issue in all good newsagents!

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?

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

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.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/ford/mustang/201952/ford-mustang-mach-e-uncovered-as-all-electric-suv
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Mach-E uncovered as all-electric SUV

The Mustang has been hit with the all-electric, SUV treatment
21 Nov 2019
Visit/porsche/911/201958/porsche-911-gt3-vs-gt3-rs-vs-gt2-rs-track-battle
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 GT3 vs GT3 RS vs GT2 RS - track battle

Porsche’s GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS are the most hardcore of the 911 breed, but pitched head‑to‑head which will we crown champion?
15 Nov 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
15 Nov 2019
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019