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BMW's Electric Compact May Come With An Optional SUV Backup

NPR | July 29, 2013 9:37 a.m.

Contributed By:

Bill Chappell

BMW's electric i3 Concept is presented before the Paris Motor Show last September. The car was officially unveiled Monday; purchasers can reportedly opt for using a gas-powered SUV several weeks each year.

BMW's electric i3 Concept is presented before the Paris Motor Show last September. The car was officially unveiled Monday; purchasers can reportedly opt for using a gas-powered SUV several weeks each year.

AFP, AFP/Getty Images

As it unveils its all-electric i3 compact sedan Monday, BMW also plans to offer the car’s buyers the option of booking a gas-powered SUV for a few weeks every year, according to reports. The move is part of BMW’s efforts to ease customers’ concerns about relying on an electric vehicle year-round, particularly for long family trips.

Those efforts are meant to ensure that BMW’s multibillion-dollar i3 project succeeds. Bloomberg reports that those who buy the electric compact can opt for an “add-on mobility” feature that would allow them to use a gas-or hybrid-powered full-size SUV for several weeks each year.

The i3’s range is estimated at between 80-100 miles per charge, BMW says. In an attempt to avoid the lukewarm reception car buyers have given other electric vehicles, BMW is also offering the option of equipping the i3 with a gasoline engine to charge the vehicle’s battery and extend its range.

The i3 is expected to hit the U.S. market this fall at a price of around $41,000. BMW officially unveiled the car today.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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