Or, conversely next years i3 with 50%-100% more battery than your current i3 might mean you dont need a Rex either?BMW stopped offering the REx in the EU because the engine failed EURO6 on NoX levels with the new WLTP testing. It was too expensive to redesign and would take too long.
Surely thats a strong argument against Rex if simply improving/replacing an engine is all thats needed rather than building a whole new car which most be orders of magnitude more expensive and complex?
That does not mean the principle of the REx is dead while the cost of the REx is less than the equivalent battery size increase and public charging remains hit and miss for success and highly variable on extra time for a longer journey. Even at parity of cost the flexibility of dual fuel has a significant value for the user.
But not for the manufacturer it seems.
I have not had to use the REx in anger in the year of ownership but it does mean I do not have to trust in only the public charge network to get home without being recovered on a truck. That confidence lets me use the full battery and not have to reserve some of the battery capacity for a plan B or low efficiency on a cold windy day. That means I can run one car since with the REx I can tackle any journey in the UK.
I think there are issues with Rex that will (have?) kill it at birth even though yep, it has all the advantages you and others outline.
- Consider from a manufacturers POV not a consumer. A new car has to pay back its development costs over the lifetime of that car. So, if you are looking say five and definitely ten years out, when its almost certain that BEV by then will be ample (range. cost, size) for all cars, how long will this new model with a new engine be saleable as mass market car and not just to a few who require to be able to drive to John OGroats at the drop of a hat? Maybe five years? Thats probably not a profitable car then. Better to do what Kia and Hyundai do, produce ICE and BEV variants let the public choose and amortise the costs over all models. After all, as you pointed out, BMW found it wasnt viable simply to change the engine on an existing Rex even though they had everything else already in place so you cant get much cheaper than that. How then can developing a whole new car be profitable?
- Second, a BEV, by comparison to a Rex, is a simple concept for a saleperson to explain, its not an electric car plus a load of ICE gubbins that need maintenance. The Rex, whilst we in the "SpeakEV bubble" may be well aware of the benefits, is a different beast to the non EV aware. After all, the Ampera/Volt was not such a massive success, yet why not when it should have been according to the Rex benefits, especially since a minor tweak to up the battery size would have made it even more capable and I'd almost certainly be in one now as would I am sure many here. But maybe not the general public who it seems from the evidence of Volt/Ampera sales, "dont get it" ?
- Third, emissions regulations may make it problematic to drive Rex's in city centres (is this an issue now with the i3 in London?) making it much less attractive as a single go everywhere car.
- Finally, lets say the manufacturers, Mazda (and anyone else or is it just Mazda?) do bring out Rex's in 2-5 years time? At that point Rex's will be very vulnerable to the Osborne effect in two respects, a simpler fully capable EV will be available by then or soon 250 mile range EVs will be common from mid next year let alone 2022, 2023, plus as said the "one more year" school of running the old ICE will prevail for many. So, building a Rex is quite a risky economic proposition for a manufacturer because they will either be obsolete at release, or perceived as being so shortly and thus will never make a profit. And if they dont build them, then whatever the economic and flexibilty benefits are to consumers, it wont happen.
Maybe there will be room for one or two manufacturers , and perhaps Mazda with its niche appeal might be one of those. Five years back I'd have bought a Rex. Now? No, not when a 250 mile range car is here. Five years time when 300+ mile ranges at more affordable levels and fast chargers are commonplace? Not a chance. And if manufacturers beleive thats what most consumers will be thinking, then why make one? Toyota has pulled the wool over peoples eyes with their "self charging" nonsense, seems its easier for manufacturers to spend their development R&D on marketing than building a new car so I expect we'll see a few more jumping on that bandwagon rather than producing a Rex. Much easier to make a video or an advert than a car. A much shorter development cycle and if it doesnt work knock out a different ad next month.
Farewell Rex, we knew you, err, not very well.