2016 Chevy Volt, Model 3 competitor?

2016 Chevy Volt, Model 3 competitor?

35k minus incentives
80 km
Regular gasoline
5 seats
New aero look

What's your thought on GM's move

David N | 6 mei 2015

What's your thought on GM's move

Considering that Tesla's technology has proven to be far superior, and this technology is free for GM to use, and GM still chooses to not use this superior technology, to me, it's clear that GM has no direction, no vision for the future.

PMadFlyer | 6 mei 2015

If it burns gas, it isn't a competitor.

jordanrichard | 7 mei 2015

It is interesting how people and even the media come up with these "Tesla killer/competition" statements, comparing an existing car (Volt) to a non existing car (Model 3). why don't we compare a modern Boeing 787 to a self propelled electric airplane.

sbeggs | 8 mei 2015

CNBC this morning:

GM to fall short of electric vehicle goal.


carlgo2 | 8 mei 2015

All click-grabbing stories with the word "Tesla" in them are good.

A couple of previous posts are referring to "Volts" when it seems they meant "Bolts". Remember, the Bolt is the all-electric car and would be the most direct competitor to a Tesla.

carlgo2 | 8 mei 2015

GM expects to fall short of 2017 electric vehicles target

This link says that the goal of 500,000 cars at least partially powered by electricity will not be reached due to increased competition. That is a huge and all-encompassing number to reach in one year! Silly to have made that prediction in the first place

This little company makes parts for Tesla and its penny stock went up 10,000% on the rumors that Tesla would buy it.

There is lots of Tesla mention in this edition of CNBC.

Juggernaut | 8 mei 2015

Volts are way cooler than Caprices, but not near as cool as Teslas: Twice as cool as a Spark, but half as cool as a Roadster. Hope they get it right....

TomServo | 9 mei 2015

Considering many studies show 80% of all daily miles are less than 40 a car like the Volt makes sense. For less than $30K after the $7500 federal tax credit millions of American's could drive 100% electric and still be able to wander.

Indon't get how some folks think ONLY 100% electric costing $70k to $100k is the ONLY option.

the Volt is the perfect bridge vehicle until that magic time when folks can buy a truly affordable BEV with super fast charging on every corner. Until then any vehicle than can accomplish some of that should be celebrated.

Ratan shah | 9 mei 2015

Does GM make anything worth driving?
It should have been allowed to fail in 2009.

Regens | 10 mei 2015

Elon himself has said that any new EVs would not *really* be the competition. The challenge is still that people just automatically prefer cars with the traditional ICEs. Sure new EVs would be competition for getting those consumers that are already sold on the whole EV concept, but that is still - unfortunately - a tiny minority. Of course GenIII is designed to changed that, but any new EVs or even just better hybrids would be a step towards the overall goal of getting EVs to become mainstream and dominant and so probably instead of being a real competition, they would rather be beneficial. So I wouldn't worry about these announcements, from GM or any other company until EVs are more or less the default choice or at the very least have a significant market slice but we are at least 5-10 years away from that assuming everything goes perfectly smoothly.

Red Sage ca us | 10 mei 2015

Under the heading 'I'll believe it when I see it' reside my serious doubts regarding a fully electric vehicle with a 200 mile range arriving from General Motors by 2017. I think it much more likely the Chevrolet Bolt will include a gasoline powered 'range extender' like its sibling, the Volt. Only with a larger battery pack and a smaller fuel tank, so that it remains properly gimped.

Ratan shah wondered, "Does GM make anything worth driving?"

Surprisingly... Yes. At least, according to reports from Car and Driver, Motor Trend, and Consumer Reports in recent years. Cars from Cadillac and Buick in particular have been singled out as having improved to a point where their handling characteristics have eclipsed the perennial benchmark established by BMW 3-Series. Debates rage over whether they simply copied the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' and tweaked the formula along the way... Or whether BMW was caught resting on their laurels... Or if in the course of taming their vehicles four a wider market, BMW built better cars, but worse BMWs.

Guy2095 | 10 mei 2015

Regens, people do not automatically prefer ICE cars; they love cars but they have come to hate gas companies.

jordanrichard | 12 mei 2015

cmcnestt, most of our (U.S) imported oil comes from Canada. Actually of the top 5 places we get oil from, only 2 are form the middle east (Iraq and Saudi). I believe Iraq is number 5. This is one leading reason I got the Tesla. A vast majority of oil comes form our neighbors up North, yet when something happens 15,000 miles from here, the price of gas goes up instantly.

sdelinois | 12 mei 2015

Anyone that thinks Tesla only competes with electric cars is very short sided. Tesla competes with all cars because it's not enough to be electric you also have to be a great value. If they plan on selling 500k model 3's they're going to have to go head to head with lots of ICE vehicles and show people they're better.

As for the volt as of right now it's the best electric car for $25k. My wife drives one and she is getting well over 350 miles to the gallon without the range anxiety that the leaf owners have.

sdelinois | 12 mei 2015

Anyone that thinks Tesla only competes with electric cars is very short sided. Tesla competes with all cars because it's not enough to be electric you also have to be a great value. If they plan on selling 500k model 3's they're going to have to go head to head with lots of ICE vehicles and show people they're better.

As for the volt as of right now it's the best electric car for $25k. My wife drives one and she is getting well over 350 miles to the gallon without the range anxiety that the leaf owners have.

sdelinois | 12 mei 2015

The key to mass adoption is range, recharge and price.

Range: The car has to have at least 200 mile range or forget about ever taking it on a road trip.

Recharge: People are not willing to wait more than 30 minutes to recharge except at home or work.

Price: Outside of a small minority most people aren't willing to pay more to be green. Those that are probably already have an EV or hybrid.

If Tesla meets its goals of 200+ miles a charge, super charger capable and under $30k with tax incentives. They will have a real winner.

Beartooth | 12 mei 2015

A Volt is no more an electric car than the Tesla is a hybrid!

Brian H | 12 mei 2015


Tesla is not even competing yet. That will come when its sales are limited by choices others offer.

MountainVoyageur | 15 mei 2015

A Volt is no more an electric car than the Tesla is a hybrid!

Why do you say that? Most Volt users drive most of their miles all-electric. That means most of the time it may as well be considered an electric car, regardless of EV orthodoxy.

The Volt is the only car I would say that about. The non-plugin hybrids are still ICE vehicles -- they get all of their energy from gasoline. The other plugin hybrids have too small an all-electric range to get most of their miles that way. The Volt is the only PHEV (EREV if you prefer) that gets most of its miles from electricity.

finman100 | 16 mei 2015

tailpipe. look for the tailpipe.

MountainVoyageur | 16 mei 2015

tailpipe. look for the tailpipe.

That tells whether that vehicle can ever operate non-electrically. It says nothing at all about how much of the time the vehicle does operate electrically.

Let's not get hung up on the all-electric-all-the-time religion. I realize that is the ideal, but people who operate almost all of the time electrically are not doing so badly. That, by the way, applies to anyone who has a Tesla that is not their only car. To the extent the other car gets used they are also operating electrically only part of the time -- something I have seen a number of those posting in this forum say is still reality for them.

Watt fun | 16 mei 2015

Well, yes...most Volt owners DO spend relatively little on gasoline and drive mostly electric. However, they are limited to 35+ miles at a go for previous/current models, and up to 50 miles with the 2016. Park and charge for several hours like at work, and yes, a Volt 'could' cover 80 to 100 miles a day using no gasoline.

Whereas a Tesla Model 3 for about the same price, would be able to travel 200 miles a day--and plugged in at 240 at work in the same scenario as the Volt--about 400 miles a day. Or just 30 minutes at a Supercharger to add another 100+ miles.

So no, a 2016 Volt is not any sort of competition for existing Teslas unless mileage is limited to 50 X 2 = 100 miles per day. With the Model 3--if available with the promised parameters of range and price--then the 2016+ Volt is no competition at all. AsWell, I very much doubt that the Bolt will be a fully competent competitor to a Model 3.

Brian H | 16 mei 2015

A Voltish hybrid is second-class in each of its modes.

carlgo | 16 mei 2015

It is do or die for Tesla and so it is an elimination game they must win. As such I expect the 3 to be a better car than the Bolt.

The corporate espionage will be fierce! Can't be taken by surprise.

johnse | 17 mei 2015

I currently drive a Ford C-Max Energi. Before that I had an Escape Hybrid. I've been watching the EV scene since I was a teen in the '70s when people were converting small cars to EV using lead acid batteries and surplus jet engine starter motors.

My grandfather had an Autoette, powered by 4 6V deep cycle LA batteries. I restored it and got it licensed in CA. Went about 15 miles at 15 mph :)

And I have a reservation for an X.

All of that is preamble to this: Tesla S, X, and 3 are in competition with EV, Hybrid, Fuel Cell, and ICE cars in their respective categories. It doesn't matter if they have a tailpipe or a really long cord.

At the same time, it is not a winner-take-all competition. Even if Tesla is selling its goal of 500K Model 3s in 2020, that will be a small percentage of the total auto market.

Tesla's real goal is to me a mover, innovator, and catalyst to bring about an electric power economy. I think the real innovation is the Supercharger Network. We pay for that network as part of the price we pay for Tesla cars. Tesla has said that any company that wants to make their batteries compatible with Superchargers may do so--and also make a per-vehicle payment to Tesla for access. Compatible battery systems don't even need to be able to charge at 120MW to be workable. The chargers can be smart enough to charge at the rate applicable to each vehicle.

As some point, Tesla can even allow charging via payment for those manufacturers that don't want to pay per vehicle.

Tesla's cars have to be great cars to get enough of them on the road to make the rest of the infrastructure play profitable. But they don't need to be the only game in town.

As the market matures and people start to move away from ICE because they see the EVs are just better cars, Tesla will be a premier marque. It won't be the only game in town. But they are also setting themselves up to the next Standard Oil/Exxon/Shell of the EV energy market.

sauce | 17 mei 2015

Ratan shah | MAY 9, 2015
Does GM make anything worth driving?
It should have been allowed to fail in 2009.

Man your stock is not going up in my books. If GM and Chrysler had been allowed to fail, America might have had to deal with a Great Depression 2.0 instead of the Great Recession. As if the Great Recession of 08 wasn't terrible enough.

It looks as though you haven't heard about the millions of North Americans who've lost their jobs, lost their homes and for some who've even had to set up tents under highway bridges after having had stellar careers making 6-figure wages.

Either you're a clueless basement-dwelling 14-year old teenager who's never had to worry about the next day or you're just plain clueless about what just happened as long as your wallet wasn't dealt the hurt.

Either way, your postings here speak loudly about you.

Orthopod | 17 mei 2015

A model 3 WILL compare to the Volt for 95% of it's use as 95% of the travel distance is under 50 miles for commuting. Now you can argue that the extra 50k for the Model S for 5% of the travels is worth it and you'll be judged a fool by anyone on your entourage who doesn't share the Tesla grin.

Now you have to ask yourself what is the reason you spent 50k more for a Tesla for that 5%. Everyone has a different reason here.

MountainVoyageur | 17 mei 2015

It seems to me that the question is what the word "competitive" means in this context. Some are taking it to mean "technically better", and making the argument that the Model 3 will be technically better than the then-current Volt. Perhaps.

The other meaning, and the one I thought the OP had in mind, is whether potential purchasers will weigh the Model3 against a Volt when making their decision. I firmly believe that many prospective buyers will do exactly that -- decide whether the Volt or the Model 3 better meets their needs. If you believe the common statistics, the Volt's 50 mile all-electric range will be sufficient to provide all-electric driving for most (perhaps 95%) of their trips.

The Volt clearly has deficiencies when compared to the Model 3. For one thing it only seats 4 realistically. (Yes, I know of the fifth seat -- and invite anyone counting it to use it on a trip of much length.) As to features and appointments -- we'll just have to wait and see once both models are on sale.

So I would argue that the Volt definitely will compete with the Model 3. Many on this forum will not even consider the Volt -- they have the religion, and the Volt has a tail pipe. Many of their neighbors will seriously consider the pros and cons of each, though. That makes it a competitor.

Red Sage ca us | 17 mei 2015

johnse reasoned, "Compatible battery systems don't even need to be able to charge at [120 kW] to be workable. The chargers can be smart enough to charge at the rate applicable to each vehicle"

Uhm... No. The most recent versions of Toyota RAV4 EV and Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV that have Tesla supplied battery packs and drivetrains are NOT Supercharger compatible. They never will be. This, even though the Toyota has a 48 kWh battery pack (41.8 kWh usable).

The minimum required battery pack capacity that is needed to be 'compatible' with a Tesla Supercharger is 60 kWh. Period. Thus, it is only available as an option to those who build legitimate, fully capable, long range EVs. Hence, 'No Compromises' and 'In Good Faith'.

No hybrids, PHEVs, REXs, or EREVs allowed. No short range, slow charging, 24 kWh or less 'city cars' either. Because these take too [FIXING] long to charge, and would clog Supercharger parking spaces for unnecessarily long periods of time in order to 'charge at the rate applicable' for such hunks-o-junk.

MountainVoyageur | 17 mei 2015

Because these take too [FIXING] long to charge

I do not know whether it has registered with everyone, but all batteries of a given technology take about the same time to charge -- regardless of battery capacity (assuming the charger can supply the necessary current). It would take about the same length of time to charge a Leaf, RAV4 EV, or MB B-class as to charge a Tesla -- assuming all have equally well-engineered battery packs.

That's because the rate of charge a battery can take without degrading the battery is proportional to the battery capacity. 1 "C" is the current that would charge the battery in 1 hour (ignoring any tapering). Safe charging rates are stated in terms of "C" -- 1C is a common thought for Lithium Ion batteries. Its no coincidence that Tesla has an 85 kWh battery, and the most a Supercharger will put into one car is 90 kW.

Higher power Superchargers are good for two things: they can charge a second car faster and they can maintain the charge time on the first car when Tesla comes out with a bigger battery. Conversely, a bigger battery means the Supercharger can charge it at a greater rate, so it will take less time to add a fixed number of miles (enough to get to the next Supercharger). (But the same time to fully charge the battery to its higher capacity.)

We all want to see faster charging. There are only a few ways to get that:

If Tesla has been conservative they may be able to increase the current, improve tapering, etc as they gain experience
Increase the battery size so that the same "C" charging rate will provide more miles in a given time. The fabled 1,000 mile battery should take about 1/3 to 1/4 the charge time (for a given number of miles)
A new battery design or chemistry that can take a higher charge rate and perhaps faster tapering

Brian H | 18 mei 2015

Not only longer, but more often. The worst possible combo.

Red Sage ca us | 18 mei 2015

Considering that a Tesla Supercharger adds 60 miles of range to a Model S 60 much faster than J1722, CCS, or CHAdeMO will do for a vehicle with a 24 kWh battery pack, I stand by my assessment that accommodating low capacity vehicles takes too [FIXING] long. And as Brian reminds us, must happen far too often with short range EVs.

TytanX | 18 mei 2015

The 2016 Volt is a huge improvement from the original design. If Tesla doesn't build more superchargers in Ontario by 2018 when the Model 3 comes out and I'm looking to replace my second car, I will be considering a Volt. Without highspeed charging network like the superchargers, Volt is more appealing than the Bolt. It will be a competitor to Model 3. Its an electric car in same price range. And yes it is an electric can for those silly enough to claim it's not.

Brian H | 19 mei 2015

Is that a can full of electrons?

Orthopod | 27 mei 2015

They both look alike
They both are 5 seaters
They both have 4 wheels
They both have a steering wheel
They both use electricity for your commuting need

One is 100k, the other is 33k

Which is the best option?

Brian H | 28 mei 2015

How far, how fast, how long?

Timo | 28 mei 2015

I very much doubt that "they look alike", if that is comparison between Volt and Tesla Model 3. It's plain wrong if comparison is between Model S and Volt.

Also Model 3 price will not be 100k, so that's another point that is either wrong or, well wrong, because alternative makes other point wrong.

MountainVoyageur | 28 mei 2015

Also, the Volt is only technically a 5-seater. The rear center seat is not reasonable for anything much more than short drives.

aleph5 | 29 mei 2015

Who is silly enough to claim a car with a 1.5L ICE is an electric vehicle?

I would, at least 71% (avg) or 78 % (median) of the time (per voltstats), and propulsion is electric virtually 100% of the time. And yet with just a few other drawbacks relative to an MS, it costs less than half as much. That's why it's so viable as a poor person's MS.

If you're transporting a gas lawn mower in your MS, is it still an EV?

Red Sage ca us | 29 mei 2015

If the Volt had twice the battery pack capacity and no ICE it could have cost the same and been just as useful to the hypothetical people who don't use gas 90+% of the time.

grega | 29 mei 2015

I think we do have to separate the hybrids like the Prius from the BMW i3s or Volts. The Prius is just adding regen to the car, increasing the range. But if you have a car that's an EV for 40miles and then turns on an engine once the battery is depleted, it's fundamentally different. In fact, once the battery is depleted only then is the car a hybrid like the Prius... and yet the 2 versions will get lumped together by the masses.

For people who only drive 30 miles a day, a 40mile EV is brilliant. If they drive 60 miles a day then a 90mile EV is brilliant. You'd need to set your range needs based on your own use - but past that you'd have no need of fast chargers, and avoid buying an unnecessarily large battery that is never used.

But there are always exceptions :)... emergencies that require extra range, or a long trip once every few years. ICEVs handle these exceptions well, and people are so familiar with ICEVs that it's easy. So every car maker needs to work out how they'll make their EVs just as familiar and flexible.

Tesla has taken the high road and it's brilliant. The car may just do its day-to-day trips for 60 miles most of the time, but it has a big battery and a supercharging network that provide huge flexibility and relative familiarity. General Motors is saying they'll make an EV that people charge at home, and for the exceptional need they don't need a bigger battery or supercharging network, they have a small ICE that's ready for use.

The Volt will compete with the Model 3 for sure. I personally wish it had a significantly smaller ICE (0.5L?) with all of the simpler cooling etc that goes with that... and this would also shift the attention to the EV portion plus reduce servicing costs. But any EV tax benefits etc that the car gets should be limited based on the real miles travelled in EV, so that if someone is regularly driving 100miles they get few (or no) benefits with a 40 mile battery!

aleph5 | 29 mei 2015

I think that's all pretty well stated, grega. Except shouldn't someone who drives 100 miles per day, 40 of which are without the ICE running, receive 40% of the EV incentives?

There are endless debates about the mix of pure EV range vs battery size/cost GM should have gone for, but that will not be settled here. My point is that it's a pure EV almost all of the time. I'd wager the EV percentage is closer to 90 for many Volt drivers, except that it gets skewed down to mid-70s because Volt owners (can) occasionally take their cars on trips. Which leads to the central issue that transitioning to an ICE after battery depletion is a feature, not a bug. I came from a LEAF (with its deteriorating battery), and range anxiety was a horrible feeling on top of that car's inability to be considered for long excursions. Bad value and I learned the hard way that it's foolish to try to be an enviro martyr while virtually everyone else is driving whatever carbon burners they please.

The Tesla IS brilliant, but it comes at great purchasing cost. I'm particularly envious of the free SC network experience (and hope to join the club someday not too far off), but honestly, the Volt's fuel costs, calculated quite liberally, are probably well under $800/year (gas + electricity), or $8000 over 10 years. So there are still many tens of thousands of dollars left between owning a Volt and a Tesla.

As for the Volt ICE generator size, many were hoping for a smaller one in Gen 2, but GM probably knows best, as the larger engine will be smoother, rev slower (quieter), and still get much better mileage. Just nonintuitive.

@cmcnestt, I have an electric mower too (great E-Go!), but you should have gotten my point. The ICE rarely runs except to bail you out and then only as an electric generator. I don't see how the pregnancy analogy is apt.

Battery size is irrelevant here. The Volt is the king of plug-in cars for range, to the extent that most people's commutes don't require any gas as fuel. Relative to the MS's price point to go the extra <50% distance usually not used within a day's charge, GM succeeded brilliantly, IMO. The car drives pretty well too.

MountainVoyageur | 30 mei 2015

A car with a 1.5L ICE within its powertrain is not an electric vehicle.

Sort of. A Volt is not a BEV, because a BEV is by definition pure electric -- no ICE allowed. While there are other BEVs, Tesla vehicles are in a class by themselves because of their large electric range and supercharger network. Tesla vehicles are the only BEVs that are not limited to being town / commute cars.

However the Volt is an EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle). It is an electric vehicle, just not a BEV. The Volt is also in a class by itself. It is the only one that has enough all-electric range to allow most owners to drive it all-electric most of the time -- everything but road trips.

Traditional hybrids, such as the Prius, are not electric cars in any real sense. While they have a battery, all of the energy in that battery comes from gasoline, one way or another. The hybrid aspect is just another way to make the underlying ICE more efficient -- but it remains an ICE. Not possible to be an electric vehicle without being able to plug in to charge the battery.

Competition -- it seems obvious to me that the Volt will be a competitor to the Model 3, in the sense that many people considering the Model 3 will also consider the Volt. One of the things the Model 3 will have to offer to compete successfully is a combination of battery size and superchargers that makes prospective buyers believe they to not need the Volt's extended range capability.

Bob.Calvo | 30 mei 2015

@ Mountain Voyager, +1 and then some.

The Volt is a viable alternative that provides a transitional safety net for a lot of people. And yes, it drives like an electric 100% of the time. I drove a Volt for nearly two years while assessing the viability of a Tesla for my needs and it being able to support extended range driving with a minimum of hassle. The new Volt will be even better than the original. Either offers people an opportunity to reduce their oil consumption dramatically. I reduced my fuel usage by 80% compared to my previous 24 mpg Cadillac CTS and Mercedes SLK320.

The Volt will have the advantage of being affordable and available until the Model 3 comes out. By the time that the Model 3 is available in sufficient volume, I am hoping that Supercharger spacing will be down from every 120 miles to every 60 miles on major thoroughfares. If this happens, then the Model 3 will win hands down.

I say this because what makes Tesla unique is the Supercharger Network. Without it, I never would have bought the Model S, since the compromises required for anything beyond the battery's range would have required more down time and inconvenience than I (or many others, I suspect) would have been willing to entertain. If the Model 3's range is only 200 miles at 100% charge, then look to only utilizing 80% while recharging on the road since the last 20% takes as much time as the first 80%. That takes you down to 160 miles of range that can be further reduced by spirited driving and cold wether.

If Tesla does end up selling 500,000 cars a year by 2020 as we all hope, then the number of Supercharger locations will need to increase dramatically, hence the 60 mile spacing. Right now, I practically need to hit every Supercharger along a route in order to have a comfortable margin in an S85D charged to 80%, since 120 miles is easy but 240 miles would require a full charge and a light foot. With 60 mile spacing between Superchargers, any Model S/X 85 could safely hit every third charger at about 180 miles and any Model 3 could safely hit every other charger at 120 miles. If all this happens, then the Model 3 is a slam dunk.

Tesla is solving this chicken and egg (battery size and charging opportunities) problem one new supercharger at a time. The Model 3 can't be released until the Supercharger Network is considerably larger than it is today.

Bob.Calvo | 30 mei 2015


carlgo2 | 30 mei 2015

It is going to end up being a battle of batteries and charging. Models with the least range anxiety will win assuming all else is fairly equal.

GM (or Ford, etc) can make excellent cars when they want to and could flood the country with modern, attended charging stations. They can quickly make any kind of vehicle, in many configurations and in huge volumes. Many consumers go with the familiar brand, even when they shouldn't.

If GM goes all-in, Tesla would have its hands full.

Brian H | 30 mei 2015

Can't let go of the "competitor" mind-set, can you? Everyone making an EV is a collaborator.

One of the downsides of PHEVs etc., however, is the ICE maintenance. That extender is a whole mechanical world unto itself, with concerns and costs no BEV has. By definition it is also small and stressed when used regularly. Not a performance candidate.

Red Sage ca us | 30 mei 2015

aleph5: The EPA says ~$850 per year for the Volt, so you are pretty close. But the Ford Fusion Energi definitely beats it on overall range, thanks to having a much larger fuel tank. Same with the Toyota Prius PHEV. The reason why battery size matters is because it directly determines fully electric range. Toyota ~10 miles, Ford ~20 miles, and Chevrolet ~38 miles, respectively, for their plugins. The BMW i3 REV would be moire impressive in comparison to the other three if not for the 2.2 gallon fuel capacity.

dyefrog | 30 mei 2015

Why do you say the volt is in a class by itself? the BMW i3 Rex is exactly what you described. around 85 miles all electric or unlimited using the Rex

MountainVoyageur | 30 mei 2015

Why do you say the volt is in a class by itself? the BMW i3 Rex is exactly what you described. around 85 miles all electric or unlimited using the Rex

Fair question. I said that because, just as the Teslas are the only BEVs suitable for road trips, the Volt is the only EREV suitable for a road trip.

I looked at the i3 REx a while back and dismissed it, so I was not thinking of it when I wrote my post. The reason I dismissed it is that while its all-electric range is good (72 miles, better than the 2016 Volt's 50 miles) its gas tank is pitifully small. The gas tank is only two gallons, allowing 78 miles range after the battery is depleted. The REx engine is great for avoiding range anxiety for local / commuter trips, but its short range means it is utterly impractical for road trips. Imagine taking a road trip and having to stop every 78 miles (less whatever safety margin you are comfortable with) for more gasoline! You'd be stopping at least once per hour to add gasoline!

See this Green Car Reports article (Aug 2014) comparing the two. Quoting from the article:
And, for obscure regulatory reasons, the i3 has only a two-gallon gas tank, allowing just 78 miles of gas range after the battery is depleted. On a long cross-country trip, you'll be stopping every hour or so to fill up.

According to BMW, "The range extender is not intended for daily use. It's for situations when the driver needs to extend the range of the vehicle to reach the next charging station. Therefore, the i3 probably won't be the choice for customers with a need for an extended range."