Larger battery pack gives the i3 a longer range and can be retro-fitted. It goes on sale in July 2016

The BMW i3 will get a new battery option from July, which the car maker claims extends the official range of the five-door electric hatchback from a claimed 80-100 miles, to 195 miles.

Read our BMW i3 94Ah review here

The new Samsung lithium ion battery will also be fitted in the i3 Range Extender model. This gives the petrol-electric hybrid an official overall range of up to 276 miles with a full charge and full, nine-litre tank of fuel. However, BMW says the range of the fully electric i3 is realistically 125 miles with the air-con or heater on. No real-world figure is given for the Range Extender.

Existing owners of i3s can have the new 94Ah/33kWh battery retrofitted because it retains the same dimensions as the existing 60Ah//25kWh unit.

After the Government's £4500 grant, the new i3 will cost £27,830 as a pure electric vehicle, and £30,980 in Range Extender form. The current i3 and i3 Range Extender cost £26,480 and £29,630 respectively.

The new battery is 50kg heavier than its predecessor, and this has slightly affected acceleration. The new i3 has a 0-62mph time of 7.3sec, and 8.1sec for the i3 Range Extender, making them 0.1 and 0.2sec slower than before. The top speed of both models is limited to 93mph.

With 33kWh of electrical energy when fully charged, the new battery provides 11kWh more than the existing unit.

BMW says a new 11kW charging system allows the new battery to be charged in two hours 45 minutes using a high-powered charger. This is the same time it takes for the older battery at a maximum charging current of 7.4kW.  

On standard mains electricity at 2.8kW, the charging times are put at 10 hours for the i3 and eight hours for i3 Range Extender.

BMW says changes to each of the 96 individual cells that make up the i3’s new battery, including higher levels of electrolyte and new materials, havebrought about the ­­­considerable increase in energy storage capacity. 

Our Verdict

BMW i3

BMW made waves with Europe’s first premium-brand compact EV, and continued development means the i3 keeps upping the ante

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Comments
16

2 May 2016
50% further or an extra 96 miles? Now I'm no mathematician but I can't see how both can be right....
Oh, wait a minute. I see it has 50% more batteries. Now it makes sense. 50% more batts=100% more miles.
Math is easy!
Robbo

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

2 May 2016
It's actually going from 81 to 114 miles according to the figures used in the US which isn't quite so impressive. Still almost 50% though.

2 May 2016
Aussierob wrote:

50% further or an extra 96 miles? Now I'm no mathematician but I can't see how both can be right....
Oh, wait a minute. I see it has 50% more batteries. Now it makes sense. 50% more batts=100% more miles.
Math is easy!
Robbo

They also seem to have changed the voltage. The new 33kWh/94Ah is 351V while the old 25kWh/60Ah is 417V.

I'm surprised they can do that with a drop in replacement, but I am more used to electronics than electricals so maybe a car's draintrain just isn't very picky.

2 May 2016
As you seem to be good at maths, can you help me out on how (in the article) 25 + 11 = 33? I'm struggling a bit on this one. My limited understanding of batteries does not help either with how can a 25kWh battery provide 99 miles range, and for just an extra 11kWh this bolts to 195 miles. This must mean the cost per mile (some may say "mpg") improves.

2 May 2016
Because the figures are wrong! The range goes from 81 to 114 miles in the real world.

2 May 2016
quantify this sort of thing so it makes it very difficult for them to explain it to readers.

2 May 2016
Ah, no thanks.

2 May 2016
I have no idea how but I suspect Greg Kable, who really ought to know better, got his units mixed up. Perhaps he saw the figures from a European press release and failed to convert. 195 km would equate to just over 121 miles, 7 more than the US figure quoted which sounds about right. 276km is 171.5 miles which again seems right.
It's a shame BMW have not repackaged to include a larger fuel tank for the REX. With 50% more electric range I'd have thought they'd have been allowed to fit a 50% larger fuel tank to qualify for REX status.
Perhaps, 9 litres is the largest they can manage to squeeze into the car, short sighted if true.

2 May 2016
A little research into the press pack (which is 10 pages long) found on line, it says... "over 50 per cent range increase in the standard NEDC cycle which equals 300 kilometres instead of 190 kilometres. Even in every day use, in bad weather conditions and with the air conditioning or heating turned on, 200 kilometres of range can be achieved on one full battery charge." And it goes on to say (interestingly) that the retro fitting programme is available in selected markets and... "The 22kWh batteries traded-in by customers are used to build stationary battery modules thus starting their second life." Well, that at least sorts out the maths as 22 + 11 = 33.

2 May 2016
It goes onto... "The electricity consumption... has also been reduced by a large number of detail improvements including revised electric motor management as well as advanced low-resistance tyres." The fuel tank is in the front for the REX version.

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