BMW May Offer Gas-Powered Range Extender With Megacity EVBy (Display Name not set) February 15, 2011
German auto purists may retch at the idea of BMW taking a page from the General Motors playbook, but that's what Bimmer may be doing with its Megacity electric vehicle planned for 2013, according to a recent blog report.
BMW may include an option of a small internal-combustion engine that would act as a range extender for its all-electric Megacity, BMWBlog.com reported, citing an interview BMW Financial Officer Frederick Eichiner conducted with German publication Focus.
The engine would add as many as 50 miles to the Megacity's 100-mile single-charge range, enabling the car to be driven outside of metropolitan areas, according to the blog.
BMW spokesman Dave Buchko declined a Green Car Advisor request for comment on the report.
Whether such an option may extend across an auto industry looking to tackle the issue of so-called "range anxiety" as it broadens its inventory of battery-electric vehicles over the next few years remains to be seen.
Many analysts have questioned the willingness of car buyers, especially in the U.S., to purchase electric vehicles that will stop running after 60 miles or so of hard driving, especially with a limited vehicle-charging infrastructure in place.
BMW would be following GM's lead by adding a range extender that serves the same purpose as the on-board gas-powered generator in the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle, though the roles of the range extender and battery motor would essentially be reversed because the Volt has a single-charge range of about 35 miles, while its range extender provides a range of about 10 times that.
GM-Volt.com blogger Dr. Lyle Dennis wrote this week that he achieved about 110 miles per gallon over the 5,100 miles he drove the Volt over the past three months.
BMW said last week that it will debut its ActiveE 1-series electric vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show next month. The ActiveE, which will have a single-charge range of about 100 miles and about 170 horsepower, is the precursor to the Megacity vehicle that BMW will launch under a yet-to-be determined brand in 2013.
Danny King, Contributor