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Next-Generation BMW i3 to Get a Significant Range Boost

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BMW tried to challenge Tesla Motors in the electric car market when it launched the i3 – its first mass-market zero-emission vehicle – but the city car didn’t really pose a serious threat to the Model S, Tesla’s best-selling model. The main reason behind the i3’s failure to become a strong rival to the Model S is the fact that it lags far behind Tesla’s all-electric sedan when it comes to driving range, which is the most important aspect for any electric vehicle.

Now, BMW wants to make its first truly electric vehicle more competitive in the global market, and to that end, it has announced that the next-generation i3 will boast a drastically longer driving range. The German automaker has released details on the new i3, stating that it is going to receive a major boost in battery capacity, resulting in improved mileage.

 

50% Increase in Battery Capacity

BMW has unveiled the 2017 i3 electric car, introducing a few key improvements over previous model years. The first and most important improvement is of course the boost in battery capacity, which has been increased from 22 kWh to 33 kWh. This 50% increase will reflect on the car’s range, which, according to BMW will be rated at 114 miles per one charge, a huge improvement over the older version’s 80 miles.

BMW says that the increased capacity is a result of the use of new lithium-ion cells, which are denser than the ones used on the previous model. The 2017 i3 gets 94 Amp-hour cells, as opposed to the 60-Ah cells the previous version was equipped with.

The bigger battery capacity also results in slightly longer charging times, as it will take 4.5 hours to recharge using a standard Level 2 charger, up from 3.5 hours for the older version.

However, it will also support DC quick charging, with allows the battery to charge to 80% of its capacity in 40 minutes.

 

2017 BMW i3

 

Lots of New Standard Features

BMW hasn’t disclosed any information regarding pricing or a launch date, but based on some reports, the 2017 i3 is expected to hit showrooms this fall. As far as specifications and equipment is concerned, the company did say that it will add a host of features that will be part of the standard package. For instance, the new i3 will come equipped with standard WiFi connectivity, allowing remote access to certain vehicle functions. Also, it will have advanced systems like park-distance control, dynamic cruise control, and real-time traffic information.

What’s more, unlike previous versions, the upcoming i3 will be offered with an electric moonroof in the United States.

With these upgrades, the i3 does seem a lot more appealing now, and it gets a chance to compete with some of the best-selling electric cars in the world at the moment, including the 107-mile Nissan Leaf, but it needs to be further improved before it can be ready to take on the likes of the Model S, or even the upcoming Chevy Bolt which is expected to offer an estimated range of over 200 miles, at a relatively affordable price.



Jordan Perch is an automotive blogger writing for DMV.com, a website that aims to help drivers handle all DMV­ related tasks without the stress and hassle that they usually involve. A devoted car enthusiast, he likes to write about the latest in the auto industry, focusing on vehicle safety technologies, green vehicles and driverless cars. Car reviews, car prices and auto shows are also among the things being discussed in his blog posts. Drivers looking to save on auto insurance, or car buyers trying to determine what car fits their needs the most, might find his blog posts pretty helpful.

  • Figjam_US

    We have the 2016 extended range i3 – we have had it for 7-months and it is a fantastic little car. We have 23-m left on the lease and will probably lease the next version. In 7-m I think we have spent $6 on gasoline. Charging is low cost with our PV Solar system –

    • Devin Serpa

      Yes little car. Wish it were 4 door.

      • John Page

        It has 5 doors

      • John Page

        It has 5 doors

        • Devin Serpa

          I meant full doors. It was my way of saying the interior is too small.

          • John Page

            Actually, because the car has no B-pillar, when you open both doors on one side, the opening is huge – far wider than any “4 door” car. I saw a couple load two babies in the back seat and they reported it was a breeze. Better than their SUV.

          • John Page

            Actually, because the car has no B-pillar, when you open both doors on one side, the opening is huge – far wider than any “4 door” car. I saw a couple load two babies in the back seat and they reported it was a breeze. Better than their SUV.

          • Devin Serpa

            Still smaller than the LEAF or Kia Soul EV. I don’t see how a smaller volume for $10k-$15k more is practical. The range is nice, although for the price I’ll wait for the new LEAF, Bolt or Model 3. 150-200+ miles is the new bar.

          • Devin Serpa

            Still smaller than the LEAF or Kia Soul EV. I don’t see how a smaller volume for $10k-$15k more is practical. The range is nice, although for the price I’ll wait for the new LEAF, Bolt or Model 3. 150-200+ miles is the new bar.

  • Robin White

    The BMW design department should be embarrassed and in the end, just another “city” car. Useful but in a limited sort of way.

  • John Page

    It is silly to say that it failed to compete with the Tesla S because of range. They are totally different cars with totally different missions. But at 113 miles even the 2017 model comes up short. The Bolt, in spite of being a shameful ripoff of the i3, will win out in that department.

  • John Page

    It is silly to say that it failed to compete with the Tesla S because of range. They are totally different cars with totally different missions. But at 113 miles even the 2017 model comes up short. The Bolt, in spite of being a shameful ripoff of the i3, will win out in that department.