About the only pure electric-car maker that has managed to shake the "range anxiety" stigma with any success is Tesla. Of course, it took a massive floor-mounted battery pack to give the Model S a 200-plus-mile range (as proven by Motor Trend's own Frank Markus and Jessi Lang
) as well as a series of fast-charging "supercharger" stations along commonly traveled routes. For everyone else, there's a plan-B backup.
For the Fiat 500e, it's 12 days of use of a rental car from Enterprise free of charge for the first three years. BMW is reportedly following suit with use of an X5 SUV
for several weeks a year for long-distance road trips, or as a backup vehicle.
The BMW i3 offers an optional on-board 600cc two-cylinder range extender, but unlike the gasoline engine in the Chevrolet Volt, the will only add about 80 additional miles to the i3's range, a quirk due to compliance with California's EV mandate, making the i3 hypothetically compliant with California's "white sticker" program, as opposed to the "green sticker" program for which plug-in hybrids such as the Ford Fusion and C-Max Energi, and Chevrolet Volt qualify.
Unlike the Chevrolet Volt's range-extending 1.4L I-4 engine, which can be used as frequently as needed for longer-distance trips, the i3's engine is intended only to get the driver to the next charging location.