Now that all-electric cars are becoming more common every day, the news isn’t so much about putting one on road, but about how far you can drive on a charge.
BMW’s i3 has been criticized in that department, but BMW is working on it.
Case in point, the updated 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) will offer a 114 mile range, that’s up from 80 offered by the original i3. (Compare that with the upcoming 2017 Chevy Bolt which will boast a more than 200 mile range. The 2016 Nissan Leaf offers 107 miles.)
The power boost is thanks to a new 33-kWh battery BMW worked on with Samsung. It’s 50 percent more powerful that the previous one and uses more active, compact material. It involves eight modules, with 12 storage cells each which use denser lithium-ion.
So let’s apply some basic elementary physics here. Remember the old “what floats and what sinks” experiment from elementary school? Well, that’s what were talking about here. Denser material is heavier and sinks. The denser battery packs are no exception, so while the battery is the same size, it is heavier. The new model weighs in slightly more at 2,961 pounds.
BMW claims despite the weight gain, the i3 is the fastest and lightest EV in its class. The model still hits 0-60 mph in just over 7 seconds. For highway driving it does a nice 50 to 70 mph in 5.1 seconds.
The new model charges up in about 4.5 hours with a Level 2 charger. It’s only an hour increase from the last model, so it’s not bad. The new model also offers a 50 kW DC fast charge that provides an 80 percent charge in under 40 minutes. The last model did it in 25 minutes, but hey, it still averages 2.5 miles per minute though because of the greater range.
A Range Extender (REx) model is offered on the 2017. It adds a two-cylinder gas engine and has a larger 2.4 gallon tank than the last REx model. It adds on 270 pounds, resulting in a slightly slower time 0-60 mph time of 8 seconds.
The 2017 offers some new paint colors and interior touches. A moonroof is now available on U.S. models.
BMW is releasing a new Home Charger Connect system is later this year. The at-home fast charging station is sleeker than the last one and also uses WiFi for remote charging.