Heat pump in front

When picking up our BMW i3 the sales person said that the heat pump is located in the back next to the electric motor. That’s why the heat pump option is not available on models equipped with the Range Extender REX . But on our car it is empty next to the electric motor.

On BMW i3 equipped with Range Extender REX the combustion engine is located between the rear wheels under the trunk. Because the boot is small, it is fair to ask why BMW has not made use of the space next to the electric motor to create extra storage compartments on models without the REX. But if the heat pump is sitting there, it is obviously not possible, and heat pump standard on cars sold in Sweden without the REX. Personally we opted out the REX because it affects performance negatively, and is not only expensive to buy but is also likely to create additional service costs in the future. See more about the reasoning in an earlier post.

When it is now clear that the heat pump is not an option on cars with REX it is even more obvious to opt out of REX. A heat pump reduces electricity consumption by 30% for heating the batteries and the interior. Since the display on our car shows that the electricity consumption to heat the interior reduces range by about 12 km, I can imagine that the heat pump can increase the range by 5-10 km in cold climates.
Now I have some photos of a car with heat pump and see to my surprise that it does not seem to sit back. It’s empty next to the electric motor.

It has in forums such mybmwi3.com been persisted that the heat pump is in the front. They have looked at drawings and spare parts from realoem.com to make the conclusion.

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With picture evidence, I think it is correct. The heat pump is located in the front.
With this information I cannot understand why BMW allows a large space under the trunk to remain completely empty. Perhaps some third-party company can help BMW with an alternate boot floor to utilize the empty space.

In the trunk there is a soft felt cover at the top and then a RCFP shell. I am thinking that it should be possible to have a new design on the hard RCFP piece to allow owners to store a shovel, tow-rope, umbrella or other equipment below the visible trunk floor.

New Trunk

New Trunk

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14 thoughts on “Heat pump in front

  1. I had intensive contact with bmw service about this topic, and finally the answer to where the heat pump is located was easy (but finally not answered by bmw service), with the help of the parts pictures at realoem.com: The heat pump is no single piece, but an extension of the standard climate compressor. The main additional part of the heat pump system is the heat pump condenser, which can be seen here: http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=1Z22&mospid=56088&btnr=64_1958&hg=64&fg=18&lang=en . As this is installed where on I3 Rex the tank resides the reason is clear, why both can not be ordered at the same time.

    Any yes, leaving the space of the REX unused in the BEV-Model is a shame. But as you can see on the photos, the room is completely open to the environment (and already dirty on this car). If you add a trunk extension here you would have to make it water proof and quite rigid, and this will surely add some weight to the car. But who knows, maybe we (i will get my I3 in summer) i3 owners get an extension for this space later on?

    1. Thank you for the clarification! As I understand it all of the heat pump pieces are in the front.

      In the trunk there a soft felt cover at the top and then a RCFP shell. I am thinking that it should be possible to have a new design on the hard RCFP piece to allow owners to store a shovel, tow-rope, umbrella or other equipment below the visible trunk floor.

      1. Great idea with the carbon box, maybe bmw or a third party developer builds such thing.

        The additional peaces are mainly in the front. What also hinders REX and heat pump to be ordered together is – according to BMW Service – weight. To get a complete picture of the difference between version with and without heat pump study these two pictures for the differences in the front:



        And there are also slight differences in the back:



        You can also find the additional pipes for the rex cooling on this page (change the model). In my opinion the main problem for BMW are the additional cooling pipes going to the front in the REX-Version, there is not enough space for all these things in one I3.

  2. When I test drove the BMW i3 I was extremely surprised by the “no luggage” picture on the floor of the trunk (also visible on your “trunk floor” picture)… what’s the point of a trunk if you are not allowed to put luggage in it? The sign says read the manual, unfortunately I did not get one for my test drive. Could you please shred some light about that strange sign?

    You can read about my test drive here:

    1. The no luggage sign is placed under the felt mat in the trunk. I think it stating the obvious that luggage should not be placed in the motor compartment.
      I read your review about the i3. Needless to say my view on the i3 is more positive than yours 🙂

  3. Hi, I think the trunk will be a good subwoofer resonance room. I will put in a bucket and put in a subwoofer.

  4. I thought of a different solution. Correct me if I am wrong, but there isn’t only an electric motor under the trunk floor. It is the whole power unit which consists of the motor and other electronics. If BMW moved all the electronics in the BEV i3 to the side (instead of stacking them on top of the motor), the floor could be lowered resulting in a much roomier trunk. Right now, the trunk compartment is not tall enough, even for a city car.

  5. Did anyone ever successfully utilize this space? Either for the sub woofer or additional storage? I just picked up the 2014 and the wasted space is making me nutty 🙂

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