The BMW i3 full electric car is set to gain an update that will increase its driving range from the current 160 km maximum (without the Range Extender) to 200 km. A source close to BMW revealed to Autocar that the German car maker will be introducing an “optimised driveline” that will increase the battery efficiency in its i3 – the first model in the line-up from the BMW i sub-brand.

It’s said that BMW will replace the exisiting 22 kWh lithium-ion traction battery with a new one that shares the same 22 kWh capacity, but will feature a higher power density that will give it a longer pure-electric range.

Currently, the BMW i3 offers an EV range of 130 km to 160 km, depending on how you manage its energy. To date, customers have also been able to specify their cars with the optional Range Extender – a 34 hp, 650 cc, two-cylinder petrol engine that acts as a generator to charge the batteries on the fly. Effectively bringing up the maximum range of the car to nearly 260 km.

Combined, the new traction battery and Range Extender could theoretically give the i3 a full driving range of 300 km. An upgrade to the i3’s electronic systems was also mentioned by Autocar’s source, who claimed that there will be new software mapping for the cooling systems of the battery and electric motor.


All new BMW i3 cars will be equipped with the new “optimised driveline,” including those fitted with the Range Extender option. Even existing BMW i3 owners will be able to get their cars updated with the new goodies.

Currently, the BMW i3 that made its global debut in 2013 features an electric motor that offers 170 hp and 250 Nm. The lively EV is capable of performing its century sprint in 7.2 seconds, and has a top speed of 150 km/h. With the Range Extender option fitted, the i3’s zero to 100 km/h sprint time is slowed to 7.9 seconds.

In the past, BMW Malaysia has said that it would not launch the compact EV here, but we’ve since spotted a grey-imported unit listed for local sale at RM488,000. If you insist on the official route to a BMW i car, your only bet thus far would be on the i8 sports car, priced at RM1,188,800.