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BMW i3 Adventure Day 4

Day 4 started out cold and rainy.  Thankfully I was able to preheat the car at the motel I stayed at so I didn’t have to eat up as much range.  It looked like a short day as I only had 330 miles left of low elevation rolling hills of Missouri and Iowa.


With the tiny tank and many gas stations being around 20 miles apart I might have to stop more often than I hope to since it would often come to asking myself, should I refuel at 1/3rd tank, or can I make the next 20 miles?

My first gas fill up of the day was one such case. I passed a gas station with about 30 miles remaining and started looking for the next station and saw it was about 30 miles away.  Oops.  I dropped my speed a couple miles per hour, but had the spare 5 gallon tank so wasn’t overly worried. When I was getting close I saw the gas station at the top of a long long steep hill with 2 mile range remaining with about 2 miles to go.  The gauge quickly ran all the way down to 0 and switched over to –, but the car still made the last half mile in.  Topping it off and the car took 2.04 gallons (not coded), so was basically empty. Thankfully no emergency stop on the side of the Interstate.

The trip was quick and easy and I was able to set the cruise at 72 mph most of the way.  I had no trouble keeping reasonable speed, but still slower than average.  I also noticed that the Adaptive Cruise Control doesn’t like following some tanker trucks with the cone shaped rear ends.  It would keep getting too close to it and back off late, especially in corners.

I finished the trip just shy of 2000 miles and 2 full days of driving and 2 part days.  It was fun, but if I did it again I would code the car and try to make tactical use of charging stations overnight.


Overall, what impressed me with the car was how comfortable it was for such a long trip.  I think the 35 gas stops helped significantly reduce fatigue, and also the seats are comfortable enough on smooth surfaces (they bounce a bit too much on rough surfaces).  Sound isolation was far better than most other cars of this class (compact hatch).

Compiling my stats on, and the car averaged 33 mpg or so, which is pretty poor considering the speeds involved.  My Wife’s Clarity would get 45 mpg at those speeds on regular fuel for a larger, heavier, and more practical vehicle.  The i3 REx is certainly designed for less frequent engine use, however, it is capable of driving long distances despite having a scooter engine (my coworkers tell me I am overselling it calling it a motorcycle engine).  I am extremely happy with the car and love driving it.


See my fuel economy at:

Fill ups of more than 2 gallons were generally also filling up my 5 gallons container (every time I used it I topped it up to about the same point). Update: I have since coded my car, so might see occasional 2.2 gallon fill ups after May 25.


4 thoughts on “BMW i3 Adventure Day 4 Leave a comment

  1. WOW! Enjoyed reading your travel log in the i3 Rex. I own the 2015 Rex myself and felt I achieved a lot when I drove it from Los Angeles to Berkeley. But reading about your journey made mine seem like a drive to the Grocery store. 🙂

  2. Thanks for posting your long distance story. I’ve been thinking about the i3, but it seems a bit underpowered for the long road trips I would like to use the car for. Sounds like a PHEV would be much more practical for an ‘only car’ making 1,000 mile + trips. The details of how the i3 performed provided many insights…so much appreciated!

    • The Clarity PHEV is my preferred road trip car. I will take 250 mile trips no problem with i3, but if Clarity is available I grab it instead. Much better gas mileage and better overall on the highway. Check out my reviews of it if you haven’t already.

  3. Great car adventure story. 2017 ReX has larger battery and have mine coded so I don’t have range anxiety, especially with BC’s network of high speed chargers. Love driving in Vancouver and local mountains. Performance in the city and mountains is remarkable…love this car..(but would prefer Toyota cruise control for thos into the sunset drives 😉

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