BMW i3 gets 81-mile range as the most efficient car money can buy

The new BMW i3 has received a range rating of 81 miles and an efficiency rating of 124mpge from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

BMW’s decision to invest in lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum has paid dividends, as the i3 is the most efficient electric car money can buy in the US. Its closest rival is the impressive Chevrolet Spark EV, which returns a combined 119mpge.

The EPA-rated range for the i3 is near the lower threshold of BMW’s original estimate, yet it’s achieved using a smaller lithium-ion battery pack than many other electric cars. It means that while the BMW i3’s asking price of $41,350 makes it one of the most expensive cars in its class, it should be the cheapest to run.

The EPA estimates that the BMW i3 will save owners $9,000 in fuel costs over five years compared to the average new vehicle. An owner driving 15,000 miles per year and paying $0.12 per kWh will pay $500 in electricity. To average 124mpge, the i3 achieved ratings of 138mpge City and 111mpge highway.

The EPA’s window sticker for the i3 also highlights the BMW Ultimate Service scheme, which offers free servicing for the first four years or 50,000 miles of ownership, whichever comes first.

While the upcoming Volkswagen e-Golf and Mercedes -Benz B-Class Electric Drive are the real rivals to the i3, they are yet to receive an EPA-rating. The similarly-sized Nissan LEAF, however, is rated at a combined 114mpg.

Those expecting a greater EPA-rated range for the i3 may gravitate towards the more popular i3 Range Extender, which carries a smaller gasoline generator onboard to top-up the battery when charge runs out. Overall range is around 190 miles as a consequence.