Electric car aficionados may not like to admit it, but range anxiety is a very real phenomenon and still prevents prospective owners taking the electric car plunge. BMW is acutely aware of this and is attempting to reassure potential buyers of its i3 electric car by offering a free petrol-powered loaner model with i3 purchases.
According to Ward’s Auto, the move is designed to reassure potential i3 customers who are holding off buying the vehicle because they occasionally travel distances outside the hatchback’s range. The company believes the i3 will prove suitable for 90 per cent of journeys while the remaining 10 per cent can be covered by the occasional use petrol model.
The petrol car will be included in the i3’s purchase price, but BMW has yet to reveal what type of petrol car will be loaned to i3 buyers, or how many they’ll offer to what proportion of customers. The cost of the i3-plus-petrol-car program is expected to be in the region of $45,000 (£30,150).
The standard BMW i3 uses a 32kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which gives it sufficient juice to travel between 80-100 miles depending on ambient temperature, road conditions and your personal driving habits. BMW will also offer an optional version that uses a 2-cylinder petrol engine from a scooter as a range extender that offers a total driving range of around 186 miles.
This isn’t the first time an electric car manufacturer has offered a petrol car as a backup to an electric one. Since June 2012, Nissan has been offering a rental car to Leaf owners as part of its “go the distance” program. Those tho take advantage of the scheme can rent a petrol powered Nissan car free of charge for up to 10 days, making it ideal when used for road trips and vacations.
The BMW i3 will go on sale in late 2013.