BMW's i3 will be capable of travelling up to 124 miles on a single charge thanks to a new lithium ion battery pack
23 November 2015

BMW is set to extend the range of its electric-powered i3 with the introduction of what sources close to the German car maker describe as an “optimised driveline” that draws on battery efficiency gains developed since its launch in 2013.

Read our review on the BMW i3

The i3 will receive a new lithium ion battery with the same 22kWh (18.7kWh usable) capacity as that used today but a higher power density for a longer range. 

The move is claimed to extend its range to well over 124 miles in real-world use, compared with just under 100 miles now.

The i3 will also get an upgraded electronics package that features new software mapping for the battery cooling system and the electric motor.

The revised battery pack will be fitted to not only the all-electric i3 but also the i3 Range Extender, which uses a small two-cylinder petrol engine to produce electricity on the run.

The new battery will also be available as a retro-fit option for existing i3s.

Our Verdict

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Two versions of the BMW i3 are on sale: a pure electric model or a range-extender variant

BMW makes waves with Europe’s first premium-brand compact EV

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Comments
24

23 November 2015
A 25% increase with no downsides is pretty impressive (as long as they don't increase the price), if they can follow the path set by Nissan of offering a 30 kwh battery option then a range of 150+ should be possible. Looking forward to BMW's next EV car: 4 wheel drive, 0-60 in around 8.5, range of 200, 3 series by 2018 would be nice.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

A34

23 November 2015
Autocar wrote:

The i3 will receive a new lithium ion battery with the same 22kWh (18.7kWh usable) capacity as that used today but a higher power density for a longer range.

That doesn't make sense. Same energy (KWh) is like saying "we increased range hugely for the same quantity of fuel". Higher power density means smaller batteries for the same power which might mean less weight, but probably not a huge difference in range would result (and there has not been any battery revolution in the last 2 years)...

A34

23 November 2015
Autocar wrote:

The i3 will receive a new lithium ion battery with the same 22kWh (18.7kWh usable) capacity as that used today but a higher power density for a longer range.

That doesn't make sense. Same energy (KWh) is like saying "we increased range hugely for the same quantity of fuel". Higher power density means smaller batteries for the same power which might mean less weight, but probably not a huge difference in range would result (and there has not been any battery revolution in the last 2 years)...

24 November 2015
Readers (not me) seem technically more knowledgeable than the writers, much as waiters now are often more smartly turned out than their customers. A poor state of affairs, both of them.

23 November 2015
...to write just what A34 wrote. Whoever is writing some of these articles has no clue, or has written it very badly, or both.

23 November 2015
I did hope that when the electric vehicle era came in so did aesthetics, now, it looks like beauty in a car is now no longer a trade off for pollution, when a car that emits no pollution on the road is even uglier than the fossil ones that are thrown onto the roads to squat with offensive malice. This thing takes purposefully ugly to a new level. Of course I understand why, I fail to understand why people buy into it - every three years. We can now make cars that last a lifetime and are free from guilt (almost). And the buyer buys obsolescence in design now. It seems to me cherishing is now so old fashioned and this world forever will churn out more than it needs despite our technological advances. Anyone know a company that can take a beautiful old car and make it an EV for me?

23 November 2015
bruceb wrote:

I did hope that when the electric vehicle era came in so did aesthetics, now, it looks like beauty in a car is now no longer a trade off for pollution, when a car that emits no pollution on the road is even uglier than the fossil ones that are thrown onto the roads to squat with offensive malice. This thing takes purposefully ugly to a new level. Of course I understand why, I fail to understand why people buy into it - every three years. We can now make cars that last a lifetime and are free from guilt (almost). And the buyer buys obsolescence in design now. It seems to me cherishing is now so old fashioned and this world forever will churn out more than it needs despite our technological advances. Anyone know a company that can take a beautiful old car and make it an EV for me?

Actually the i8 looks great, for me the best looking current BMW by far. Quite why BMW designers chose to make the i3 so ugly I've no idea. Why is the rear door window lowered anyway? Does it mean the rear passengers suddenly want to have a better view out? It's a meaningless design feature, draws attention to itself, and does the overall shape no favours!

23 November 2015
"The i3 will receive a new lithium ion battery with the same 22kWh (18.7kWh usable) capacity as that used today but a higher power density for a longer range. "

What does this mean? I'd have thought a kWh is a kWh in the same way a litre of petrol is always a litre of petrol in volume at least.

23 November 2015
Whoever wrote the article hasn't a clue, but what I think is happening is that the new battery is able to use more of its nominal capacity. In order to their lives, batteries are not allowed to fully discharge or to be fully charged, so you might end up only using 60 or 70% of the capacity. The new one must be more tolerant of charging and discharging and therefore able to be used more effectively.

The alternative is that the new battery has a better power/weight ratio which would tie in with the higher density claim, but I'd be surprised if this increased the range by the amount claimed on its own.

23 November 2015
Why not offer a double battery version, if there is room for a 2 cylinder engine etc. Why not an additional battery instead.

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