A new version of BMW’s i3 has been announced, improving the range of the electric supermini to 195 miles. The i3 94Ah model will replace the current 60Ah version this summer with a battery capacity of 33 kWh.
As Nissan has done with its Leaf 24 and 30 kWh models, BMW has kept the battery dimensions the same to prevent reengineering the model. Instead, it has worked on improving the battery technology to deliver more than a 50 per cent increase in range on the NEDC test.
BMW quotes a 195 range in everyday driving from a full charge with the air conditioning on, while the i3 battery electric vehicle (BEV) will complete the 0-62mph sprint in 7.3 seconds thanks to its 170hp electric motor.
The i3’s battery is made up of eight modules with 12 cells in each and the capacity increase has been attained through the use of optimising cell packaging internally, using more electrolyte and adapting the active material.
BMW offers an eight-year / 100,000 mile warranty on the battery and customers can specify an optional heating system to get the battery up to its optimum operating temperature of 20 degrees Celsius before heading off.
Average power consumption is rated at 12.6 kWh/100km for the BEV, and 11.3 kWh/100km for the i3 REX range extender version. The latter will achieve an equivalent 470.8 MPG and, because of the larger battery, has seen a 1 g/km CO2 reduction to 12 g/km compared to the previous model. BMW quotes a range of 276 miles.
AC multiphase charging allows for 3.7, 7.4 or 11 kW and will charge the i3 BEV in less than three hours despite having a larger battery capacity than before. Rapid DC charging capability comes as standard.
Although there have been no engineering changes barring the battery, specifications have changed, with the Protonic Blue previously reserved for the i8 now available on the new i3 for example. Interior trims are available as separate options for greater levels of customisation, with an Atelier package joining the Loft, Lodge and Suite trims. A focus on using renewable and eco-friendly materials has been carried over from the existing model.
Prices start at £27,830 for the i3 BEV and £30,980 for the i3 REX – both include the £4,500 UK Government Plug-in Car Grant – and the new models are available from July 2016.