The BMW i3 has mainly seen relatively small incremental upgrades and big battery cell updates since its launch back in 2013.
Now the all-electric car is rumored to get another battery cell upgrade to push the range over 200 miles.
The news comes from BMW-focused German website BimmerToday, which has released exclusive information in the past.
They reported this week:
According to our information, intensive preparations are underway in the background for the debut of a BMW i3 120Ah , which promises even greater coverage with an even larger lithium-ion battery. The more powerful battery could increase the standard range according to NEDC to over 350 kilometers and thus also appease the last range doubters.
As previously mentioned, BMW hasn’t done any major upgrades to the i3 including updating its powertrain architecture.
In order to increase the range over the years, the automaker worked with its battery cell supplier Samsung SDI to validate power energy dense battery cells which it introduced in the existing battery pack to achieve a longer range in the same packaging.
The last upgrade happened in 2016 when it went from 60 Ah cells to 94 Ah cells for an overall battery pack upgrade from 22 kWh to 33 kWh.
With new 120 Ah cells, the new battery pack would have a total energy capacity of about 42 kWh.
Now it’s unclear how that would amount to “350 km NEDC” as reported by BimmerToday.
BMW shouldn’t be using the NEDC cycle anymore. That said, 350 km (217 miles) NEDC would make sense for a 42 kWh pack on the i3.
When talking about the real-world range though, it would be surprising if the vehicle got anything close to 200 miles on a charge.
The current BMW i3 is rated at 114 miles of range. More realistically, the new pack would push the range to around 150 miles on a single charge.
The report suggests that BMW could validate the new cells by the end of the year for the upgrade to go into production shortly after.
As we recently reported, BMW is currently working on its next-gen electric powertrain technology coming in the iX3 first in 2020.
It will feature a complete redo of the automaker’s electric powertrain architecture with new battery packs and electric motors instead of just new cells.
Speaking of cells, BMW recently confirmed signing a massive battery cell supply contract with CATL, China’s biggest battery maker, to supply cells for the German automaker’s future EVs.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.