BMW has bet considerable resources that the cost advantages of operating an electric car will outweigh the one big disadvantage — range. BMW says the i3, which will come to market in Europe in November and the United States next year, can travel 186 miles when equipped with an optional range extender, a motorcyclelike gasoline engine that helps maintain the charge when the car runs low. Otherwise, the car will be able to travel about half that distance, or about 93 miles, on a single charge.
The new car the company showed automobile writers on Monday at a former military airfield outside Munich had the pep and agility drivers have come to expect from BMW sedans — though not necessarily that of the Z sports cars or M series muscle cars. The i3 has some bonus features, like a quiet ride and a power recovery system that reduces the need to use the brakes since letting up on the accelerator quickly slows the car.