BMW Upgrades i3 Range

The BMW i3 electric vehicle range has been expanded to four with the introduction of two additional variants that feature significantly increased battery capacity and range capability. As per the existing variants, the updated i3 is available in two versions: the Battery Electric Vehicle (EV) and the Range Extender.

“BMW remains at the forefront of providing e-mobility solutions, and the upgraded battery package of the latest BMW i3 is proof of this,” said BMW Australia Managing Director Marc Werner. “It reinforces the BMW i brand’s innovative strength and builds on the positive reactions drawn from the recently-launched iPerformance vehicles; products that directly benefit from the work done at BMW i.”

Updated BMW i3 range pricing:

BMW i3: $63,900*
BMW i3 with Range Extender: $69,900*
BMW i3 94Ah Electric Vehicle: $65,900*
BMW i3 94Ah with Range Extender: $71,900*

New battery increases capacity and range capability while improving efficiency

The new i3s embody the BMW i engineering team’s latest thinking on innovative EV technology.

The increased battery capacity of 94 Ampere-hours (hence the name) has been realised despite unchanged exterior dimensions, proving the progress made on lithium-ion battery technology by BMW and technology partner Samsung SDI, as well as the future-focused, adaptable design of the i3’s CFRP architecture. As before, the vehicle is designed to allow a single battery module to be exchanged if a fault is detected. If a fault develops, this saves cost and time over a complete battery replacement. This is a stand-alone feature within the competitive field and represents an integral component of the holistic BMW i concept of sustainability.

The BMW i3 94Ah continues to score significantly better than a modern diesel or petrol-engined car in the overall CO2 balance consisting of supply chain, production, service life and recycling. In the updated i3 application, the high-voltage battery consists of eight modules with twelve storage cells each. Cooled via the air-conditioning’s coolant system, the cell-internal packages have been optimised with increased electrolytes and the resultant gross battery energy has been increased to 33kWh, of which 27kWh can be effectively used. For reference, the existing i3’s 60Ah capacity produces 22kWh gross and with 19kWh of useable energy.

For the new i3 94Ah in EV form, the NEDC cycle range rated at 310km, while real-world range in everyday conditions – using equipment such as air-conditioning and the audio system – is up to 200km. Electricity consumption is 12.6kWh/100km. Opting for the new i3 94Ah Range Extender increases the NEDC-rated range to 390km, thanks to the addition of a two-cylinder petrol-powered combustion engine. This translates to a real-world figure of 320km.

Fuel consumption as per NEDC is 0.6L/100km on the combined cycle, with 11.3kWh electricity consumption. Customers receive an eight-year or 100,000km battery warranty, whichever comes first. The battery pack is also designed to last the entirety of the i3 94Ah’s service life. 

Charging options to suit your lifestyle

For the Australian market, the BMW i3 94Ah is capable of being charged through a ‘Type 1’ connector, the standard used by the majority of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in this country. BMW Group Australia recommends the BMW i customers install a BMW i Wallbox Pure (available through BMW Genuine Accessories) for the most effective home charging solution. This system allows for up to 3.7kW of charging at 16 amps, allowing the i3’s upgraded 94Ah battery pack to be conveniently charged at your home or office. Using this method, a charge from zero to 80 per cent battery capacity can be accomplished in less than eight hours.

Via BMW’s 360° ELECTRIC program and its partnership with ChargePoint, i3 94Ah owners can access ChargePoint public charging facilities. Many of these facilities can be used free-of-charge, though a supplied ChargeNow card also supplies a cashless payment option where required.

This arrangement allows access to charging power of up to 7.4kW at 32 amps, for super-efficient charging – an 80 per cent charge is completed in around four hours. An Occasional Use Cable is supplied as standard and enables charging via a domestic socket. Default charging power is set at 1.4kW at 6 amps, with a maximum of 1.8kW at 8 amps. Expected charge time (to 80 per cent) is set at 14 hours via this method.

Also fitted as standard is DC Rapid Charging capability, ensuring the BMW i3 94Ah will be fully compatible with future DC charging infrastructure that will be capable of charge rates up to 50kWh.

Exceptional agility, impressive acceleration 

At the core of the BMW i3 94Ah is the innovative carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) architecture. The CFRP Life module reduces the i3 94Ah’s weight by some 350kg over a comparable steel design, aiding efficiency, range, agility and performance. The new i3 94Ah’s synchronous electric motor generates 125kW of power with an instantaneous 250Nm of torque. Drive is taken to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission that enables uninterrupted torque delivery to the limited 150km/h top speed. Weighing 1245kg, the latest i3 sprints to 100km/h in only 7.3 seconds, and its performance is delivered with a smooth efficiency that is unique to the BMW i3.

Opting for the Range Extender adds an efficient 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine, located above the rear axle and generating 28kW. This operates a generator to produce electricity and operates on a needs base, extending total range by 120 kilometres in everyday operation. Fed by a nine-litre fuel tank, the Range Extender tips the scales an additional 120kg over the EV. Thanks to the fuel tank’s position at the front of the vehicle, luggage volume is unchanged at 260 litres – which can be extended to 1,100 litres with the rear seats folded down. 

Zero to 100km/h acceleration is achieved in 8.1 seconds, with CO2 emissions listed at 12g/km. With a low centre of gravity, carbon fibre-reinforced plastic architecture and rear-drive dynamics, the BMW i3 94Ah remains a truly engaging drive, in the best BMW tradition.

Sustainability beyond the vehicle

Of course, the latest i3 retains all the sustainability cues of the original. The Leipzig production plant, where the i3 is built, uses 50 per cent less energy and 70 per cent less water than the average BMW Group figures, with 100 per cent renewable energy powering the plant thanks to four wind turbines. Likewise, the construction of the CFRP architecture at Landshut is powered by 100 per cent wind turbine energy.

Additionally 80 per cent of the aluminium used in the i3’s construction is either recycled or produced with renewable energy. Seat trims are made of completely-recycled polyester, sustainable eucalyptus features on interior and dash trims, olive leaf extract is used to naturally tan interior leathers and the seat cover features 40 per cent pure new wool.

Standard specification retains sustainable premium feel

In a direct display of BMW i lineage, the BMW i3 94Ah will be offered with a Protonic Blue exterior paint option. This metallic finish, further enhanced with Frozen Grey metallic highlights, has until now been the preserve of the BMW i8 hybrid sports car. Two non-metallic (Capparis White and Fluid Black) and three additional metallic colours (Mineral Grey, Platinum Silver and Iconic Silver) will also be available from launch. BMW Australia will also offer three interior designs, ranging from the Loft specification, through Lodge to the up-market Suite; complete with Dark Oak wood trim fitted as part of this package. Eucalyptus wood trim, as well as Dark Oak, are also available with the other trim lines.

In any i3 interior, one can expect a mix of naturally-treated leathers, wood, wool and other renewable raw materials, further highlighting the sustainable premium character inherent in the BMW i3. The standard specification of these new i3 variants largely match that of the existing vehicles, with highlights including Navigation System Professional with specific BMW i ConnectedDrive Services content. This includes public charging stations displayed along the planned route, with a range map also included.

BMW i ConnectedDrive Services is a dynamic system that provides driver assistance using live information such as the current charging status of the battery, the driving style, the activated electric comfort functions and the selected driving mode, Real Time Traffic Information and the outside temperature, thanks to intelligent state-of-the-art BMW ConnectedDrive systems.

Linking the BMW i3 to your smartphone via the USB connector also enables access to a range of informative third-party apps, via the BMW Connected App. Programs such as Spotify, Pandora and Stitcher open a new world of media to the i3’s cockpit. Augmenting these in-car services is the BMW i Remote App, which brings vehicle-related mobility planning data to a Smartphone. 

The BMW i Remote App allows owners to pre-condition their i3 before they enter the cabin. The app also provides remote lock and unlock functions, efficiency history, current range and charge statuses and a ‘destination send’ navigational capability. All BMW i3 variants include the iDrive operation system, the BMW i RemoteApp functionalities, auxiliary heating, Driving Experience switch, Radio Professional, hands-free telephone operation, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, LED daytime driving lights, front and rear Park Distance Control (PDC) with rear sensors and the charging cable for connecting to a domestic power socket as standard equipment.