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New BMW i3 could get a significantly bigger range boost than anticipated

BMW i3 black

A few months back, reports came out of BMW looking to introduce a new battery pack for the i3. The new pack was believed to enable up to 124 NEDC-rated miles of range on a single charge, which would represent a ~25% increase in range over the current battery pack offered by BMW.

Now we learn from a BMW official that the increase could be closer to 50%.

The last report was based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) which is not very accurate in predicting real world range. The i3 has a NEDC-rated range of “80 to 100 miles” and an EPA-rated range of 81 miles. A new battery pack with a ~25% increase in range should bring the EPA-rated range to just over 100 miles.

The new information comes from BMW AG board member Ian Robertson talking with Auto News:

This summer, the lithium ion battery pack of the compact EV will be improved, “which puts it into a much more usable range,” Ian Robertson, BMW AG board member for sales and marketing, told Automotive News at the Detroit auto show.

BMW doesn’t have the exact figure yet, but a 50 percent increase means about 120 miles on a single charge, up from the current 81 miles. The i3 will get other improvements, which BMW has not yet disclosed.

The new estimate makes a direct reference to the current EPA-rated range – though we suggest caution  since it could easily be misreported and even officials from automakers get the two confused sometimes. It would be safer to assume the new battery pack will allow between 100 and 125 miles of EPA-rated range.

Robertson said the new battery pack would be available with the 2017 model year, which should be available later this year. Previous reports stated that the new battery could be available as a retrofit to current i3 owners – something BMW CEO Harald Krüger hinted could be possible.


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