BMW CEO Harald Krüger talked to German magazine Die Zeit earlier this week and confirmed that the company will introduce an upgraded battery pack for next year’s version of its flagship all-electric vehicle, the BMW i3. The CEO attributes the increase in range to evolving battery cell technology:
“The battery cell technology is evolving. An increase in range from the i3 will come in 2016. A bigger technological leap is likely to happen in the next three or four years. You can then travel almost twice the distance without a further increase in battery weight.”
The all-electric i3 currently has an EPA-rated range of 81 miles (130 km) on its 22 kWh battery pack. Krüger says the company is still evaluating the possibility of allowing current i3 owners to upgrade their battery pack when the 2016 pack becomes available.
BMW introduced the i3 in 2013, but the vehicle is just starting to pickup steam in term of demand. The German automaker delivered 3,361 units in September, a 86% increase over last year.
During the same interview, the CEO also reiterated the company’s plan to expand its all-electric “i” lineup “soon”. The new vehicle is expected to be a SUV or crossover, but it’s not clear yet which drivetrain the vehicle will utilize. The i3 uses an all-electric drivetrain with the option of a gas-powered range extender, but the i8 is plug-in hybrid with very little all-electric range.
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So, how much of a range increas will the 2016 i3 have; how far beyond 81 miles will it go?