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Tuning the BMW i3 Is Something Completely New for the Industry

We’ve heard of BMW i8 tuning and some attempts with the i3, but so far, they have been isolated experiments and few of them are actually on the street. Earlier today we showed you an i8 made by the guys from Manhart Racing and how it disposed of some “conventional” cars on the drag strip. Now, it’s time to look at its little brother.
BMW i3 REx at EAS 12 photos
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The i3 is on a different level regarding performance. That’s mainly because it wasn’t designed and/or built to win races, but to carry you around town without polluting or burning fuel. Well, the EV, the first one of its kind from Munich, by the way, can also be tuned. It’s not what you think, though.

The guys from European Auto Source had one on their hands recently and the owner had different requirements from what they are used to hearing. Instead of asking them to fit wider wheels, spacers, a new suspension or an engine tune, he asked for more.... modest upgrades.

Ask and you shall receive, the saying goes, and the guys delivered. Extended Window Control functionality, extended mirror functionality and trunk functionality were bestowed upon this EV, meaning that from now on, the owner will be able to roll up or down the windows using his key fob, as well as fold the side mirrors using the same button.

Other unlocked functions included an increased gas tank capacity, for example, along with a video codec and enabling the compass. In case you’re wondering, yes, this is a range-extended model that uses a scooter engine in the back to double the range of the car. That means it has a gas tank that, due to a legislative hitch, had to be software restricted to 1.9 gallons. Well, that limit can be removed, allowing the owner to use the full 2.4 gallons of fuel.

Why this happened, you ask? Well, because BMW needs the i3 REx to qualify as a BEVx and one of the requirements for BEVxs is for the car to have a smaller gasoline range than electric range. To meet EPA requirements, the fuel tank capacity was said to be reduced from 2.4 gallons to 1.9 gallons.

How was this limitation achieved using software given that the fuel tank is bigger? Well, it appears that the fuel pump is shut off at 1.9 gallons and it’s as simple as that. The owner of this particular EV should be quite happy with the upgrades and feel better behind the wheel of his car already, especially since it should have about 10 percent more range.


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