A range extender is a small gasoline engine on an electric car that is activated when the electric battery is drained. The range extender then powers the electric engine, releasing minimal emissions. Range extenders come in handy when you are not near a charging station.

Range extenders are still a new concept, and only a handful of cars come with the option. However, with the growing demand for electric vehicles, range extenders will become a more common feature. If you’d like a car with a range extender, the ones below are your best choice.

BMW i3

The BMW i3 is a popular electric hatchback with a 22 kWh electric battery, which will give you 80-100 miles of range on a single charge if the car is in good condition. The range extender can increase this to almost 190 miles.

The i3 franchise has run successfully for over six years now, and the recent model looks better than ever. After appearing as a concept in 2011, it went on to begin sales in 2014. The i3 was ranked as the 3rd best selling electric car between 2014 and 2016. Customers especially seemed to enjoy the range extender option because charging stations were still challenging to find.

General Motors EV 1

The EV 1 from GM is probably the most popular 90s electric car. At this point, GM cars are on every single street in North America. After a successful electric prototype in 1990, GM created the EV 1 from 1996 to 1999 based on the original prototype.

Since charging stations were still a concept back then, General Motors added a gasoline generator to power the electric engine, making it one of the world’s first commercially available hybrids. If you want an EV 1 today, you might find a well maintained one on eBay or Craigslist.

Chevy Volt

The Chevy Volt is another successful range-extended electric car from General Motors. The Volt is an electric sedan that began sales in North America in 2011. Since then, the Volt has gone on to become one of the most popular electric sedans in the world. By the end of 2019, the Volt was the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the world.

One of the Volt’s best selling points is the simplistic family sedan design, coupled with the fact that you can drive it using gasoline. Newer models have a larger battery with 53 miles of range.

Nissan Gripz: Concept

You can’t exactly get your hands on a Gripz right now, but a functional prototype was released in 2016. The manufacture of the first commercial unit is expected to begin in 2021. The Gripz is a futuristic vehicle in every way, and pre-orders compete with similar cars from European manufacturers.

Just like the 140z, the Gripz proves that a Nissan doesn’t have to be low to be sporty. The Gripz is a high profile car with a futuristic design. Though many concepts have been submitted, suicide doors in the front and reverse-opening doors at the back are the most likely final design of this hatchback.

Skeptics are concerned with the back doors, which like the Rolls Royce, may appear impractical, especially in confined spaces. However, Nissan is planning to have an option to open the door vertically just like the front door, although no guarantees can be made about this feature being in the first generation Gripz.

Coming at a time when every major car manufacturer is trying to release an electric car, the Gripz is both modern and practical.

Cadillac ELR

Based on the Volt’s chassis, this is the first coupé on this list. The Cadillac ELR is a well thought out design for a luxury electric coupé. However, when the original concept was released in 2014, charging stations were still a significant hindrance to electric cars. The lack of charging stations necessitated the addition of a hybrid option.

Fisker Karma

This was an ambitious coupé released in 2012. The design was breathtaking and represented what people in 2012 thought the future would look like. Apart from the stunning design, the Karma had a few other luxury features like a leather interior and custom keys. The original price of the Karma was between $100 to $102k. Nevertheless, the Fisker company was sold due to Karma’s underperformance. Nowadays, you can get a perfectly functioning Karma for under $40k.


Electric cars are the future; there’s no debate about that. However, creating a proper charging network will take time. Wanting to drive green is ideal, but the lack of charging stations makes the need for a range extender a necessity.