BMW has launched an new version of its i3 electric supermini, with a new 120Ah battery extending the range available to 223 miles (NEDC) on a single charge – or 192 miles according to the tougher WLTP tests.
The pack – rated at 42.2 kWh – is the same physical size as the outgoing 94Ah model, with an increase in energy density making the increased range possible. It now means that the i3 has seen battery capacity double since its launch in 2014, thanks to this second update.
Available in both the i3 and the i3s, the new battery makes no difference to the model’s interior, save for a new ‘Loft’ trim. The sportier i3s gets an official range of 214 miles (NEDC) and 177 miles on WLTP.
BMW also quotes a range of 160 miles available ‘during everyday use’, representing a 30% increase from the 94Ah models. Efficiency figures for the i3 are quoted at 14.6 kWh/100km for the i3s, and 13.1 kWh/100km for the standard i3.
Charging remains the same, with CCS capable of accepting 50 kW on rapids. There’s a 7.4 kW on-board charger for domestic and public charge point usage, and the i3 will accept up to 11 kW on three-phase units.
Performance figures are as sprightly as you would expect from the nippy electric supermini. The i3 completes the 0-62mph sprint in 7.3 seconds, thanks to a 125 kW motor, while the 135 kW motor in the i3s allows for a faster time of 6.9 seconds.
New equipment available on the i3 and i3s includes LED headlights as standard, and adaptive LEDs as an option. Wireless phone charging is also available, as is a wireless LAN hotspot for up to 10 devices.
As the new, longer-range model comes online, the REX range-extended model for both i3 and i3s will disappear. BMW believes that with increased availability of rapid chargers, and the gains made in driving range, customer demand is shifting to an all-electric model.
Both i3 and i3s go on sale from December, with prices starting from £35,180.