2017 BMW i3 EV Gets 50 Percent More Driving Range
The growing electric vehicle market presents an arms race of sorts for today’s automakers, where the weapon is ever-improving battery technology and the war is to clamp down on the inherent EV range anxiety. The latest to add more battery-powered driving range is the 2017 BMW i3, which will offer a new 94 amp hour battery pack beginning in summer 2016 that increases range by 50 percent from 81 miles (130 km) in “real world” conditions to 124 miles (200 km). The improved battery pack is said to be the result of a higher density lithium ion cell configuration, developed by BMW and Samsung, which crucially takes up no more space than the first-generation battery. RELATED: The BMW Isetta is Coming Back, But as a New EV!
According to BMW, both battery packs (the original 60 Ah unit and new 94 Ah pack) will be offered for the foreseeable future, and the new pack will also be available on the 2017 BMW i3 range extender models, which feature a 650cc two-cylinder engine gas engine that adds an additional 93 miles (150 km) of range.
Curb weight does increase by about 88 pounds between the lighter 60 Ah pack and new 94 Ah pack, however driving performance should remain the same. Both 2017 BMW i3 EVs race to 60 mph in around 7.3 seconds and to a top speed of around 93 mph. Charging speed does improve with the larger battery pack though; the 94 Ah battery can utilize three-phase charging currents to top off capacity in under three hours and “fast charge” up to 80 percent full in only 40 minutes. Plugged into a typical wall outlet, the new i3 will charge in around ten hours.
RELATED: A 1,000-HP Aston Martin EV is Planned for 2017
Miffed that your BMW i3 came with a first-generation battery pack? Thanks to their identical exterior dimensions, BMW is offering a program to retrofit older i3 EVs with the new battery type. The firm is also offering a more powerful i Wallbox charging station for homes as well.
Rolling updates like these will allow today’s EVs to compete against the newest and ever-evolving range of electric vehicles coming to market—especially standouts like the new Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet’s highly anticipated 200-mile-plus range Bolt EV hatchback.
RELATED: Check Out the Redesigned 2017 Tesla Model S