The BMW i3 has reached 2017 model year which brings a serious upgrade as far as the battery pack is concerned.

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.

Source: BMW

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