As expected, BMW has introduced the new 2017 BMW i3, which now gets a significant boost to its driving range thanks to an upgraded battery pack. While the full electric car does get a performance boost, it retains its familiar looks.

While the battery pack’s size is unchanged, it now has a power density of 94 Ah (up 34 Ah), a result of the higher storage density of the lithium ion cells. This also represents an 11 kWh jump in capacity to 33 kWh compared to the previous 22 kWh battery pack. The power is used to supply the i3’s 170 hp hybrid synchronous electric motor, good for a 0-100 km/h time of 7.3 seconds.

Under the NEDC cycle, the i3’s new battery, which is co-developed with Samsung, allows for a driving range of 300 km instead of 190 km previously. Crank up the air-conditioning (or heating), and the i3 will provide up to 200 km of driving range on a full battery charge. BMW will continue to offer the 60 Ah model alongside the new 94 Ah model, and current customers who are looking to upgrade from the first-generation battery can do so through a special retrofit programme.


For those that opt for the Range Extender variant, there is now a 25% larger fuel tank (nine litres) supplying the 650 cc two-cylinder petrol engine. The motor keeps the charge level of the battery constant while driving, providing an additional range of 150 km. The Range Extender variant is available for both battery versions.

The denser battery pack will be accompanied by an increase in heft, with the i3 (94 Ah) now tipping the scales at 1,245 kg, which is 50 kg more than the 60 Ah model. The Range Extender version sees up to 120 kg being piled on.

Charging-wise, the i3 (94 Ah) benefits from three-phase charging currents with 11 kW, representing a 50% increase compared to the 60 Ah version that uses a single-phase alternating current at 7.4 kW. This allows for a near-similar charging rate to the 60 Ah model despite the i3’s larger battery capacity.


Aside from the updated electronics, the i3 (94 Ah) is now available in a Protonic Blue metallic colour, once reserved for the larger i8 hybrid sports car. It joins the two non-metallic colours (Capparis White and Fluid Black) and three metallic colours (Mineral Grey, Platin Silver and Ionic Silver).

BMW also introduced an updated version of its BMW i Wallbox that adopts a more compact design and the new charging standards. Two versions of the Wallbox are offered – Plus and Connect – where the former automatically detects the connected vehicles and associates the relevant charge data using a local smartphone app. The later meanwhile, comes with Wi-Fi, allowing owners to remotely access the charging station’s functions.