Add BMW to the list of automakers increasing the range of electric vehicles.
On Monday, the German company announced that the 2017 BMW i3 would have an extended range of up to 200 kilometres in every day driving conditions. That is up from an estimated range of 130-160 kilometres on current models.
The new model will be known as the BMW i3 (94 Ah) and it will be offered starting this summer, although exact on-sale dates and pricing were not announced. The current i3 starts at $45,300 in Canada.
BMW says the i3 (94 Ah) will have a battery capacity of 33 kilowatt hours due to a higher storage density, which means the size of the battery has not been increased.
The automaker achieved a 50 percent range increase using the standard NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test, which gives the battery of range of 300 kilometres. However, taking into account factors such as weather conditions, air conditioning or heating systems on, BMW says a range of 200 kilometres can be attained on a full charge.
The performance figures for the new i3 (94 Ah) remain roughly the same at 125kW/170 horsepower, with a 0-100 km/h time of 7.3 seconds. It consumes 12.6 kWh/100 km, which is a slight improvement over the 12.9 kWh/100 km on the current model.
Despite the longer range on battery, BMW will continue to offer the range extender, a two-cylinder gasoline engine that keeps the battery charged. It extends the range of the i3 by another 150 kilometres.
The new i3 will also have new equipment options and BMW will be offering a more powerful charging station for customers’ homes. In addition, if you own an older i3, you can still benefit from the new battery technology. BMW says that the new battery can be retrofitted into the older i3 thanks to the way the vehicle was designed.
The i3’s new range is still well below that of the Chevrolet Bolt (320 km) and Tesla Model 3 (345), but is ahead of the Nissan Leaf (172 km). Of course, the Bolt and the Model 3 have yet to hit the road.