At a time when almost all automakers are announcing upgrades to their mid-range electric vehicles under their 2017 models, like VW with the e-Golf or Ford with the Focus Electric, you will not hear about an upgrade to BMW’s i3 since it was actually announced earlier this year – when they introduced their new 33 kWh battery pack upgrade.
It was a welcomed upgrade, but not the next generation design refresh that people have been waiting for. Now sources say that the German automaker is working on a design refresh for the 2018 BMW i3 to be released next year and it will again feature a range increase – up to 50%.
The news came out of Germany this weekend when German weekly Welt am Sonntag reported about the next gen i3 citing inside sources (via Reuters):
“BMW will rework the front and rear of the i3 and equip the car with a new battery to increase its range substantially beyond the current 300 km maximum, the paper said, adding that the increase would be below 50 percent.”
Of course, BMW’s “current 300 km (186 miles) maximum” is NEDC-rated and the actual range EPA-rated range is 114 miles and with another up to 50% increase for the next generation, we are talking about ~170 miles of range.
It wouldn’t be on par with several electric vehicles with over 200 miles of range expected to be available next year, including the Chevy Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3 and the new Nissan LEAF, which is also due for a refresh around the same time, but it is expected to come with a 60 kWh battery pack for a range greater than 200 miles.
In that context, it should be difficult for the i3 to be competitive even with a front and rear design refresh, which most people would agree is much-needed.
But BMW is not only working on upgrading its only all-electric car, it recently greenlighted new electric vehicles for production, including a SUV X3 and battery-powered Mini, though those are not expected until the end of the decade.