BMW's i division has upgraded the electric-powered i3 with a new battery that is claimed to extend its range by almost 30% under everyday driving conditions. The revised EV has been shown at the Paris motor show.
The new 120Ah lithium ion unit replaces the 94Ah battery used by the existing i3 and brings a 9.2kWh increase in energy capacity for the quirky five-door hatchback, at 42.2kWh.
In the standard 168bhp i3, it provides a range of 193 miles, or up to 34 miles more than the predecessor model, under the newly introduced Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).
In the more performance-orientated 181bhp i3s, the new battery is claimed to bring a 25-mile improvement in range at an official 177 miles under WLTP.
Under everyday driving conditions, BMW says the new 120Ah battery provides both i3 models with a realistic range of up to 162 miles, or 37 miles more than that quoted for the existing i3 with its 94Ah battery.
BMW i is remaining tight-lipped about the weight of its latest battery. However, it claims the 0-62mph times for the rear-wheel-drive i3 and i3s remain virtually unchanged, at 7.3sec and 6.9sec respectively, with the 50-75mph times put at 5.1sec and 4.3sec.
The new battery, developed in partnership with Samsung, retains the same dimensions as the unit it replaces, enabling it to be packaged in the same dedicated space within the floor of the i3.
BMW puts the recharge time of the battery at 15 hours on regular 2.4kW mains electricity. This is reduced to 3.2 hours from the optional BMW i wallbox, which provides three-phase charging at 11.0kW. On a fast-charging DC system operating at 50kW, the recharge time is a claimed 42 minutes.
Since its introduction in 2013, the i3 has been offered with three different batteries, including the original 60Ah unit and the 94Ah unit of the existing model, with respective energy capacities of 22.6kWh and 33kWh.
In addition to the new battery, BMW has also announced a new optional sports package for the i3 as part of changes being brought to the 2019 model. It includes sports suspension with a widened front track, a 10mm reduction in ride height, uniquely tuned springs, dampers and anti-roll bars and 20in wheels.