Last week we heard BMW was sending flyers to inform people about the i3’s significantly improved electric range and now the news is official. The battery’s density has increased from 60 ampere hours (Ah) to 94 Ah while the capacity has been boosted from 22 kWh to 33 kWh. Co-developed with Samsung, the new battery has the same physical dimensions and is available for both the all-electric and range-extending versions.
Independent BMW testing cycles have shown the new battery pack will last for up to 114 miles in the combined cycle, representing a major increase compared to the 22 kWh model's EPA-certified 81 miles. In the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), BMW says the new battery has enough juice to last for 300 kilometers (instead of 190 km). Go for the range extending version with its 650-cc, two-cylinder gasoline engine and you get a 25% larger fuel tank than before (now at 2.4 gallon) for an additional range of 150 km compared to the BEV model.
The only downside of the new battery is a minor weight increase, with the BEV version tipping the scales at 2,961 pounds while the REX model weighs 3,234 lbs. The BEV model is going to need a little over seven seconds to perform the 0-60 mph acceleration and 5.1 seconds for the 50-75 mph task. Being 273 lbs heavier, the REX version is a tad slower in the sprint to 60 mph which takes eight seconds.
A full recharge using a Level 2 charger is going to take around 4.5 hours which represents an increase of about one hour compared to the smaller battery. Using 50 kW direct current (DC) fast charging technology, you’ll get 80% of capacity in less than 40 minutes (up by 15 minutes). For every minute of recharging from a DC fast charging station, you’ll get 2.5 miles of range, so 24 minutes of recharging equates to 62 miles of range.
Interestingly, BMW says existing i3 owners will be given the possibility to replace the 60 Ah battery with the new 90 Ah pack as part of a retrofit program that will be offered in select markets. It’s important to mention the 2017 i3 will still be available with the smaller battery if you don’t want to spend extra on the upgraded battery.
Besides the new battery pack, the 2017 model year also brings the Protonic Blue metallic paint which up until now was offered only in United States for the i8. It’s available alongside two non-metallic hues (Fluid Black and Capparis White) and three metallic ones (Ionic Silver, Platinum Silver, Mineral Grey).
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The i3 94 Ah US Spec will come as standard with a Deka World interior featuring dark cloth fabric upholstery made from recycled materials. The cabin is also home to a dark oak wood trim or a light eucalyptus wood trim that can be had on the Giga World interior as well. For the first time in U.S., BMW will sell the revised i3 with an optional electric moonroof.
Starting late 2016, the i3 will be available with an optional new BMW Home Charger Connect capable of charging the i3’s new 94 Ah battery in 4.5 hours. Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi, the owner will be able to remotely access the charging station’s functions as an alternative to using the LED interface.
For now we only have pricing for the German market where the 60 Ah model costs €34,950 BEV and €39,950 REX. Upgrade to the 94 Ah version and you pay €36,150 BEV / €41,150 REX.
Gallery: 2017 BMW i3
The new 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah): More range paired to high-level dynamic performance:
- BMW i3 (94 Ah) with more powerful battery (33 kWh).
- Up to 114 mile combined1 (hwy/city) range under everyday conditions2.
- New BMW Home Charger Connect offering additional comfort and connected functions.
Higher storage density of the battery cells.
The BMW i3 (94 Ah) sets a new benchmark in its segment with 94 ampere hours (Ah) cell capacity, 33 kWh total battery energy, and an electric range of approximately 114 miles combined1 (hwy/city) on one full battery charge. Consuming only 27 kWh/100mi the BMW i3 is the most efficient car in its segment with the lowest electricity consumption costs of approximately 2.81 USD/100mi4.
The high-voltage battery of the BMW i3 consists of eight modules with twelve storage cells each and its capacity has increased by more than 50% without any changes in exterior dimensions. By optimizing the cell-internal packages with more electrolyte and adapting the active material, BMW and Samsung SDI have succeeded in increasing cell capacity to 94 Ah and overall battery energy to 33 kWh of which 27.2 kWh can be effectively used. The previous battery of the BMW i3 (60 Ah) produced 22 kWh (gross)/19 kWh (net).
The lithium ion cells used, set themselves apart in the competitive field by achieving a special balance between high energy density, cycle stability and safety in the case of an accident. The high-voltage battery also has an advanced thermal management system that keeps the battery operating in the optimal temperature range, which further enhances performance. For example, the coolant of the air conditioning system is responsible for cooling the high-voltage battery very effectively, while a heating system can also be used to warm the battery to ensure the optimal operating temperature before starting off. Customers receive an 8-year/100,000-mile High-voltage Battery Warranty.
The BMW i3 – a benchmark in terms of sustainability.
During the development phase of the BMW i3, the entire architecture of the electric drivetrain was designed with the next technological steps as well as serviceability in mind. For example, if necessary a single battery module can be exchanged which distinguishes the BMW i3 from other competitive offers and represents an integral component of the holistic BMW i concept of sustainability. From the production stand point, sustainability is achieved to a large extent through the CO2 free electricity supply of the BMW i production sites in Leipzig (assembly) and Moses Lake (CFRP production) as well as through the use of 70 percent less water in the production process compared to conventional automobiles.
Optimized performance delivery, more efficient drive.
The BMW i3 is by far the lightest car in its segment. Despite the slight weight increase, at 2,961 lbs (BEV), and 3,234 lbs (REX), the BMW i3 (94 Ah) is characterized by driving performance, which is subjectively as agile as the 60 Ah model variant. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) is also powered by the same 3 phase AC synchronous electric motor developed in-house by the BMW Group. The motor generates an output of 170 hp and delivers 184 lb-ft of torque which is available as soon as the electric motor begins to turn. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. The impressive electric motor, small turning circle of 32.3 feet, – a major benefit to driving in the city – BMW’s near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution, precise electric power steering and the stable suspension set-up help to make the i3 as satisfying to drive as every other BMW.
The sporty character of the BMW i3’s electric motor is also clearly noticeable by its performance figure of 5.1 seconds accelerating from 50 to 75 mph. This is a decisive factor for enabling fast and safe passing maneuvers, and is normally only achieved by combustion engine powered cars with considerably higher outputs. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) is close to the level of cars such as the (320 hp) BMW 340i. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via the single-speed transmission, which the BMW i3 uses to accelerate without torque interruption to its electronically limited top speed of 93 mph.
The electric consumption of the BMW i3 (94 Ah) has also been reduced by a large number of detail improvements including revised electric motor management as well as advanced low-resistance tires with optimized compound.
The 7.4 kW charging electronics of the BMW i3 (94 Ah) can charge the 33 kWh battery in approximately 4.5 hours using a Level 2 charger, which is slightly more than the approximately 3.5 hours required to charge the battery on a BMW i3 (60 Ah). Standard equipment of the BMW i3 includes the occasional use cable for connecting it to a domestic power socket. Core elements such as range, hallmark BMW agility thanks to low weight and overnight battery charging remain in place.
The BMW i3 is equipped with the future-proof 50 kW direct current (DC) fast charging technology. When the BMW i3 (94 Ah) is connected to a DC fast charging station, the battery cells are charged up to a minimum of 80 percent of their capacity in less than 40 minutes. In the BMW i3 (60 Ah) this takes around 25 minutes. This means that the BMW i3 (94 Ah) achieves a charging speed of 2.5 mi/min which corresponds to 24 minutes charging time per 62 miles of range.
Range Extender for even greater range.
BMW i also offers a Range Extender for the BMW i3 (94 Ah).The range of the BMW i3 is extended by a 650 cc 2-cylinder gasoline engine which is located adjacent to the electric drive above the rear axle. The Range Extender engine delivers a maximum output of 38 hp and powers a generator in order to produce electricity, working on a required-based and highly efficient principle. For those occasional times where additional range is required, as soon as the charging level of the lithium ion batteries drops to a specified level, the Range Extender kicks in to keep the charging level constant effectively extending the range. Fitting the car with the Range Extender has no influence on the available luggage volume: the luggage compartment volume remains unchanged at 15.1 ft3 and can be extended to 36.9 ft3 with the rear seats folded down. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) now features a 2.4 gallon fuel tank improving the range from the previous model.
The BMW i3 (94 Ah) with Range Extender weighs approximately an extra 270 lb compared to the Battery Electric BMW i3 but is also characterized by a high level of agility and offers impressive performance figures. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 8 seconds.
New equipment on the BMW i3.
The BMW i3 (94 Ah) is now available in the exclusive Protonic Blue metallic exterior color, previously only available in the US on the BMW i8. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) customer can also choose from two non-metallic paint colors (Capparis White and Fluid Black) and, in addition to Protonic Blue, three metallic paintwork colors (Mineral Grey, Platinum Silver and Ionic Silver).
The Deka World is now part of the standard profile of the BMW i3 (94 Ah) and features a lightweight dark cloth fabric interior made from recycled materials. Other changes to the standard profile include the addition of the Universal Garage Door Opener, Advanced Real-Time Traffic Information, and Comfort Access.
As part of the Tera World, a Dark Oak Wood trim is also now included, with an alternative Light Eucalyptus Wood trim available as well. These trims are also available for ordering with the Giga World.
The highly anticipated electric moonroof is also available for ordering for the first time in the US. This option features individual shades and adds to the great set of convenience features that the BMW i3 has to offer.
Standard profile and equipment for the BMW i3 (94 Ah) includes: Automatic climate control, Dynamic Cruise Control, LED Headlights, HD Radio, DC Fast Charging, Navigation Business System, BMW Assist and BMW Teleservices. Other standard features include: the iDrive operation system, the BMW i RemoteApp functionalities, the Driving Dynamic Control switch, hands-free telephone operation, leather steering wheel and Park Distance Control (PDC).
BMW i3 - a success story.
The BMW Group took on a pioneering role when it founded the BMW i brand and decided to develop an independent vehicle structure and passenger cells made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) as well as BMW eDrive technology for a purely electric drive. The BMW i3, which was designed for local emissions-free urban mobility, as well as the trail-blazing BMW i8 Plug-in-Hybrid sports car combined with sustainability-oriented premium character. Since the November 2013 launch, the BMW i3 has already established itself at the top of its segment. The most important single market for the purely electric five door BMW i3 is the U.S. More than 80 percent of buyers deciding on a BMW i3 worldwide are new customers for the BMW Group. The BMW i3 and the BMW i8 received a large number of awards for innovations in the areas of lightweight construction, drive, sustainability, driving performance and design. This makes BMW i the brand to win the most awards in the world during its market launch phase.
Comfortable home charging: the new BMW Home Charger Connect.
In late 2016, BMW i will be offering the new BMW Home Charger Connect, a residential charging station designed for comfortable and fast home charging.
The new BMW Home Charger Connect, with a more compact, sleeker design, charges the battery of the BMW i3 (94 Ah) in approximately four hours and 30 minutes. The charging process starts automatically as soon as the car and charging cable are connected. The BMW Home Charger Connect is operated using an LED interface.
The BMW Home Charger Connect comes standard with WiFi and will feature innovative charging services which can be accessed remotely. This charger helps preserve vehicle range as it can precondition the vehicle battery when connected.
On the go: convenient public charging with ChargeNow.
ChargeNow is designed to optimize the public charging experience for BMW i customers, for easy access to public charging options. Thanks to ChargeNow’s partnerships with leading public EV charging network providers, BMW i drivers enjoy convenient access to public chargers along the way. Learn more at www.chargenowusa.com.
ChargeNow DC Fast5: Eligible BMW i3 drivers can recharge for no charge.
Offered by BMW in cooperation with EVgo, ChargeNow DC Fast allows eligible BMW i3 drivers in participating markets to enjoy 24 months of no cost charging sessions for the BMW i3 at participating EVgo Stations. Enrolled BMW i3 customers can use the ChargeNow card for unlimited 30 minute, DC Fast Combo charging sessions and Unlimited 1 hour, Level 2 charging sessions.
The BMW i3 is equipped with the future-proof 50 kW direct current (DC) Fast charging technology. When the BMW i3 (94 Ah) is connected to a DC Fast charging station, the battery cells are charged up to 80 percent of their capacity in less than 40 minutes. In the BMW i3 (60 Ah) this takes approximately 25 minutes.
ConnectedDrive: Setting standards through Connectivity.
The optional Navigation System Professional provides BMW ConnectedDrive Services especially developed for BMW i. The range assistant follows the planned and currently driven route. If the destination selected in the navigation system is beyond the car’s range, the driver receives the suggestion to shift to the ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ mode. Additionally, the system calculates a more efficient alternative route. Should it be necessary to recharge at a public charging station, the driver is shown all the available stations along the planned route.
A dynamic range map is another central element of the connected navigation unit. Apart from the current charging status of the battery, the driving style, the activated electric comfort functions and the selected driving mode, the topographic features, the current traffic situation and the outside temperature are all taken into consideration. The Advanced Real Time Traffic Information (ARTTI) data is used for this purpose. The data is provided by the BMW ConnectedDrive Server.
The BMW i3 also sets standards when it comes to connecting driver and car. The BMW i Remote App provides useful vehicle-related mobility planning data available on the customer’s smartphone. Apart from pedestrian navigation; navigating your way to your destination from the parking space and back, BMW ConnectedDrive offers a so-called intermodal routing system and for the first time in combination with the Navigation System Professional. This also incorporates public transport connections such as subway stops if this means you can reach your destination quicker. From the actual trip in the BMW i3, looking for a parking space, changing onto a metro and or a walking route, the BMW i ConnectedDrive services take the customer to his destination efficiently.