Taking Control of your Range Extender - Mike Mas

BMW i3 Forum

Help Support BMW i3 Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-known member
Dec 23, 2014
North Georgia
Taking Control Of Your Range Extender - Mike Mas

I know there’s a number of posts on the forum that deal with a software fix that remedies the problem with the I3 Range Extender however I wanted to just put it all in one thread for other users. As most of you already know, BMW made a terrible decision regarding the operational use of the range extender engine with regard to starting techniques on the I3.


Range Extender - For novice forum users I’ll explain; the I3 Range Extender option is comprised of a small 2-cylinder water-cooled engine, which is coupled to a generator. Software in the I3 monitors the high voltage battery levels and when they reach a 6% state of charge (SOC) the software fires up the engine; runs it for a short warm up period (very quiet) then increases the speed of the engine to compensate for needed current to both power the vehicle as well as run any accessories such as lights heater AC etc. The operator has absolutely no control of this operation, which is the problem.

Reasoning - For reasons of obtaining certain certificates in some states for electric car use, electric vehicles must travel further on electric than on the gas. In order to accomplish this in the US models, BMW did two things; they increased the electric range by running the car all the way down until the battery only has 6% charge and they reduced the gas distance by reducing the fuel tank size from around 2.5 gallons to only 1.9 gallons.

Disadvantages - The problem arises when the vehicle is running on the Extender and only 6% battery the car now has limited performance, depending on load, speed and aux electrical use, an operator might find themselves in a situation when passing or climbing a hill the car actually slows down which could create a dangerous situation.

For myself, just the mere fact I could not start the engine was troublesome for me. If the battery went down and the RX does not start you could easily find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

Preferable, with the option of starting it myself, I would rather start the generator while the battery retained 20-25 miles, this way in the event of and engine failure, or should I run out of gas, I could get off the highway and hopefully to a safe location. Another benefit is performance-wise, my car would then have sufficient battery power for passing and hill climbing when the generator was running.

With these problems in mind, I began my search for a “Fix”. After a few days on Google I found a company called; DVDinMotion (http://www.dvdinmotion.com) who provides a range extender software “patch” for the I3.


The fix provides another menu item in the “Setting” page on the I3’s computer display. After the mod is loaded via the USB port in the center console, you’ll see a beautiful thing which simply says: “Range Extender”, one push on the selector knob brings you to another menu which says “Hold State Of Charge”, another push results in adding a check in the check box and if your high-voltage battery charge is less than 75%, you’ll hear the lovely sound of your little generator fire up, which would put a smile on any I3’s owners face.

Installation – The folks at DVDinMotion have their act together on this range extender software, in addition they are pleasant and very responsive to any questions. The price for the fix is $150, I sent a Paypal payment with my I3 Vin number and in just minutes I received an email with a link to the software (bin.file). You just download it to your desktop then transfer it to a USB flash drive and you now have possession of the file and you’re ready to proceed to install it.

Installation is straightforward – you start the car up – stick the flash drive in the USB connector in the center console and in a second or two, it will start flashing and the I3 downloads the file to the system. Leave it connected for another 30 seconds to be safe, then remove the flash drive shut the car off and lock the doors and walk away for 5 minutes or so. When you re-start the car you’ll see the I3 reboot and you’re all set – presto you now have Range Extender control. Go “Menu” then “Settings” then “Range Extender” then check the box and your Range Extender will start up and maintain the battery as long as your battery is below 75% SOC. You can now run the generator any time you desire providing you are under 75% charge. Also keep in mind, the generator will stop anytime the cars slows to 5 mph or stops. Also, if you forget to start the generator, the original auto-start feature is still enabled and the generator will start anytime the battery reach’s 6% SOC.





Should you need to visit your dealer for service, you can un-install the patch by simply going through the install procedure again.

For drivers who are interested in this patch I have included their email & web site – while there is some information on their site its not specific to the I3 and therefore recommend following the procedures of this post.

Best Regards - Mike Mas

Contact: Lucie Vernerova
Email: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.dvdinmotion.com
Will it still work after I get my KLE replaced? What version of software are you coding on your car?

I am referring to the series of posts on this subject in the last few weeks culminating in the word that the newest software makes coding impossible. I have had this REx mod (dvdinmotion) for a while, but I have yet to replace my KLE so I have no idea if it will reload afterwards. If not, it was an expensive dead end...... ;) if it does reload it is a sweet deal :lol:
(from info on the facebook page, just re-posting here for convenience)

The folks at DVDInMotion have indicated that they will update the software should it "break" due to normal software updates from BMW. You should speak to them regarding details on this.

Second point - someone on the facebook page this morning indicated that they have gotten around the problem of coding the latest BMW software patch by finding and downloading a number of more recent data files that the E-Sys software needs to talk to your car. I don't have a download link for these files, just passing along info that was posted.
I purchased it and does absolutely nothing at first. I had to wait 10 minutes with the door locked and it automatically loaded after that. Seems to be working great now.

As an update I also purchased the unlock for the multimedia functions and it does not work as advertised. The movies will play while in motion and randomly go to an all black screen. So far, their customer service has not been helpful and has only recommended very obvious things that do not fix the issue. I don't recommend this portion of their package at all.
How trustworthy is DVDInMotion? Just a bit paranoid with the all the remote services someone can access with your VIN like stolen vehicle recovery.
tom10422 said:
How trustworthy is DVDInMotion? Just a bit paranoid with the all the remote services someone can access with your VIN like stolen vehicle recovery.
I have no personal experience with them, but they've been around for more than a few years. The actual programming is done via a small program on the USB drive, and it works like a switch...run it the first time and it enables things, run it again, and it switches back to the factory setting as reported.
tom10422 said:
How trustworthy is DVDInMotion? Just a bit paranoid with the all the remote services someone can access with your VIN like stolen vehicle recovery.

Not sure what you mean about the vin# what good would it do someone without the car.

I just want to point out that the VIN is viewable outside a vehicle (under windshield glass usually) by anyone walking by, so it is not designed to be secure.
True about that it being viewable. Just never had a vehicle so connected before so like I said a bit paranoid. Guess someone would need your userid/password that was setup with BMW to do anything.

Went ahead and got their REX hold modification (waiting the 10 minutes for the lock since holding the button didn't do anything).
They need to change that video the radio knob does not do anything - you just need to lock the car for 10 min and she's works!
Idleup said:
They need to change that video the radio knob does not do anything - you just need to lock the car for 10 min and she's works!

That was he issue for me too. Everything works perfectly for me including the dvd unlock.
Everything works for me now and I really like being able to turn the Rex on at will now. I spoke to them about the potential of selling the hack for the 2.5 gallon gas tank unlock and they are working on that as well. It will be offered as part of the Rex SOC unlock and as an upgrade to existing customers.
Just for information, I bought the i3 in Brasil and here the option to turn on or turn of (less than 75% charge) the range extender is default.

The alternative is to go through a more complex process of "coding" your car's settings directly with a PC running the eSYS software plugged into the OBDII port under the dashboard. If you are semi technical (or really technical) this is a free way to to not only enable the same "hold" mode but to change many other settings in the car. The downside, apart from the fairly high level of technical knowledge needed to get the whole thing working, is that software updates from BMW reset the altered settings back to defaults. It takes a while for new coding files to become available. So there is a period after a new software update from BMW where the car goes back to the default.

It appears the DVDInmotion process survived the last BMW software update and continues to work. On the other hand, its $150 and only does one thing (enable the REX).

If you live outside the USA and Canada, you have no idea what we're talking about because this mode is available to you from BMW and you've always had it in your iDrive menus.