Automotive

Better battery capacity gives BMW i3 110 km range boost

Better battery capacity gives ...
The BMW i3 has been given an update to keep its range figures up with the competition
The BMW i3 has been given an update to keep its range figures up with the competition
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The BMW i3 has been given an update to keep its range figures up with the competition
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The BMW i3 has been given an update to keep its range figures up with the competition
The BMW i3's home charger has been given a boost
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The BMW i3's home charger has been given a boost
The low center of gravity that comes with batteries in the chassis means the i3 should handle well
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The low center of gravity that comes with batteries in the chassis means the i3 should handle well
BMW says the i3's modular design allows it to retrofit the new batteries to existing cars
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BMW says the i3's modular design allows it to retrofit the new batteries to existing cars
The i3 now has a 33 kWh battery for 58 percent better range
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The i3 now has a 33 kWh battery for 58 percent better range
The i3's handsome styling remains unchanged
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The i3's handsome styling remains unchanged
The i3's funky eco-chic interior is unchanged compared to the outgoing car
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The i3's funky eco-chic interior is unchanged compared to the outgoing car
BMW says the i3's battery should give it a usable range of at least 200 km
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BMW says the i3's battery should give it a usable range of at least 200 km
The i3's NEDC range is now 300 km
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The i3's NEDC range is now 300 km
The i3 is still available with a range extender
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The i3 is still available with a range extender
BMW's funky styling has inspired the Chevrolet Bolt's design
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BMW's funky styling has inspired the Chevrolet Bolt's design
The new i3 will sit alongside the 22 kWh model in the range
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The new i3 will sit alongside the 22 kWh model in the range
BMW hasn't updated the i8 yet, but the little i3 has been given a boost
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BMW hasn't updated the i8 yet, but the little i3 has been given a boost
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BMW has updated the i3 to keep up with the growing crowd of electric cars and range extender hybrids on the market. Thanks to improvements in battery technology, the model lineup has grown to include a 33 kWh battery version offering 58 percent more range than the current car.

The i3's increased range comes courtesy of improvements in battery technology. Even though the new battery is the same physical size as the 21.8 kWh unit in the current 60 Ah car, the more power-dense 33 kWh battery in the new 94 Ah model allows range to grow from 190 km (118 mi) to 300 km (186 mi) on the New European Drive Cycle.

Perhaps more impressive than the improved test-cycle results are BMW's claims about real-world performance. In a stark reminder about how different the daily commute looks to a test cycle, BMW says the update will give owners a 200 km (124 mi) range in normal driving conditions.

The i3's handsome styling remains unchanged
The i3's handsome styling remains unchanged

That means regardless of how hard you're driving, how high the heating is set or how loud you're cranking Taylor Swift, you should still be able to cover the distance between Los Angeles and San Diego with range to spare.

Acceleration figures from the 125 kW (170 hp) electric motor are unchanged, meaning the updated i3 will make it to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.3 seconds.

If you're still concerned about range after the update, BMW will continue to offer a range extender version of the car. The little two-cylinder petrol engine adds another 150 km (93 mi) to the range - enough to allow a 33kWh i3 fitted with the range-extender option could cover 450 km (280 mi) in absolutely ideal conditions.

The update also includes the option for a more powerful home-garage charger.

Just like Tesla Model S owners, people who were early to the i3 party can have the new batteries retrofitted. The 60 Ah model will continue to be sold alongside the new 94 Ah model, although no pricing details have been revealed yet.

Source: BMW

View gallery - 13 images
5 comments
Aross
Electric cars will only be useful once they have a 1000km range between charges or have a battery system that can be easily swapped out in about the same time as it takes to refuel a regular car at a refueling station. For someone who does a lot of long distance driving and very little city driving that is the only way I would ever switch.
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that will make it more practical in regular daily driving and it make it more appealing to more people.
StreetUrchin
I disagree on the comment that the cars must have 1000km range before they become useful. On average the daily commuter is 40mi, my houseold have two EREV (x-tended range EV) vehicles with a range of ~40 mi and we drive ~90-95% electric. The only gas being out of town trips, which arn't that often or just extra errands/event in a day. We plan to have the next car be pure EV with a range of 100-150mi (no sense hauling around a bigger battery if we aren't going to use it), we'll probably keep one of the EREV for trips but even once the 200-300 mi range comes down in price, we may switch over both cars. We can always rent a car for long trips...
Of course it will be a while until the range (or the fast swap...which I hope they go with) come available, yes there is a segment that the EVs just don't fit yet (single car households.. or regular long distance use without Fast Charge locations). But to say they aren't useful today...there are lots of gas cars today also aren't useful...or at least purchased with the available 'utility' that never is utilized.
I'd like to see different power/weight batteries, so I could have a small one for daily use and then swap out via rent/lease a bigger one for longer trips.
yawood
I agree with both StreetUrchin and Across. Everyone has different needs and will be satisfied with different solutions. If your driving is mostly city and you are prepared to rent or only fly for longer distances then I suppose a purely electric car would be OK. That's not what I need and, for my purposes, I agree with Across that electric cars will only be useful when they can be recharged in about the time it takes to fill a tank with fuel. In Australia there are longer distances between facilities and two trips that I regularly undertake are Melbourne to Brisbane (1700km each way) and Melbourne to Sydney (900km each way). A 1000km range would certainly be good but even better would be the ability to recharge or swap in no more than 5 or 10 minutes. My ideal is an electric hybrid that uses a hydrogen fuel cell to charge the batteries. That way you use electric only around town and have an environmentally clean engine for long trips, that can be re-fuelled quickly.
Michael Wilson
I would have to agree with Across on this. 1000km distance or a fast-charge battery system would be required for an electric vehicle to be of use to many. Here in the US, in the state of Georgia, I regularly make 100-150 mile trips (160-240km) trips in a day. The Nissan leaf is actually a big seller here, but most expend its battery life in a single trip. The tech is coming, but I do not see it reaching critical mass without adequate range or quick charging.