BMW i3 and Range Extender

BMW is upgrading its i3 electric car with major battery changes.

Modifications to the batteries of both the i3 and i3 Range Extender will turn them from 60Ah to 94Ah units, boosting the range by more than 50 per cent.

The modifications centre on refining the internal packaging, including adding more electrolyte material, to the 12 cells in each of the eight modules forming an i3’s lithium-ion battery.

As a result the battery’s capacity increases to 33kWh, powering a hybrid synchronous electric motor developed specifically for the i3, with a 167bhp output and 1284lbft of torque, all available from first movement of the car.

According to BMW, the new battery will allow the stock i3 to complete up to 195 miles of everyday driving between charges.

Its Range Extender sister, which is fitted with an additional small petrol engine of 38hp to generate power to recharge the battery if required, will add a further 81 miles.

The 7.1-second 0-62mph time of the i3 is unaffected, the Range Extender achieving the same figure in 8.1 seconds. And even using the air conditioning or optional heating, will not affect the battery’s abilities, these systems having a second function of keeping the battery at the optimum temperature of 20deg C for best performance.

The Range Extender’s CO2 emissions have also been approved, by a single gram to 12g/km, the fully-electric i3 remaining at zero. And as the changes to the battery have been achieved without making it any larger, existing i3 customers can upgrade if they wish.

Battery charging times have also been reduced, the car now including a DC Rapid-charge unit as standard. AC charging is now multi-phase allowing at 3.7, 7.4 or 11 kW, improved by 50 per cent over the previous i3 60Ah and cutting charging time to under three hours, Charging can also be carried out at home using a standard three-pin plug or by specifying a BMW i Wallbox.

BMW has also added to the options list available for the i3, extending the range of interior finishes and also offering the Protonic Blue with exterior colour with Frozen silver metallic highlight, previously only available on the i8 sports car.

The updated i3 variants will be on sale from July, at £27,830 for the all-electric version and £30,980 for the Range Extender, both prices including the . The battery comes with an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Executivecondominium. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.