The BMW i3 gets a massive range boost

Electric cars are evolving at a swift rate. Indeed, the current pace of change might actually harm sales in the short term: 'range anxiety' could be replaced by 'technology anxiety', meaning people are reluctant to purchase because they're convinced that something much better is about to be launched.

Evidence of this progress is provided by the BMW i3. It was originally introduced in late 2013 with a 21.6 kWh / 60 Ah lithium-ion battery and – for the pure electric version – a New European Driving Cycle range of up to 118 miles (190 kilometres).

Now a 33.2 kWh / 94 Ah model has been announced, which can be driven for 194 miles (312 kilometres) under NEDC conditions if 19” wheels are fitted. According to BMW, that equates to 124 miles (200 kilometres) in the real world, an improvement of more than 50% versus the 60 Ah's 80 miles (130 kilometres).

BMW i3 (2017) Front Side

Crucially for packaging, the 94 Ah and 60 Ah battery packs have exactly the same dimensions. However, the former does attract a small weight penalty, plus recharge times are slightly longer.

Replenishing the i3 94 Ah from flat to 80% capacity takes 9 hours 30 minutes using a domestic 12 A / 240 V electricity supply, or 2 hours 45 minutes with an optional 16 A / 11 kW BMWi Wallbox. The quickest solution is a public DC rapid charger, which achieves the same task in 39 minutes.

BMW i3 (2017) RearBMW i3 (2017) Side

Unaltered is the 167 bhp (125 kW / 170 PS) electric motor that instantly produces 250 Nm (184 lb/ft) of torque. Similarly, the i3 Range Extender variants continue to employ a 37 bhp (28 kW / 38 PS) two-cylinder 647 cc petrol engine as well.

UK deliveries of the i3 94 Ah begin in July 2016. Interestingly, the i3 60 Ah remains in production, but it will no longer be offered here.

BMW i3 prices UK Germany
60 Ah N/A €34,950
94 Ah £27,830 €36,150
60 Ah Range Extender N/A €39,950
94 Ah Range Extender £30,980 €41,150
UK prices shown are on-the-road and net of a £4,500 Plug-in Car Grant.

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