BMW has revealed the new i3 with improved battery and longer range. The range extender is no longer offered.
When the BMW i3 was first launched in 2013 it had a 60 Ah 22.6 kWh battery of which 18.8 was used. To prolong battery life BMW is never using full battery capacity in a charge cycle. The first version promised a range of 160 km. With new drive test cycle the EPA 130 km range is probably more appropriate.
In 2016 BMW revealed the second generation with a 94 Ah 33 kWh battery. Range was boosted with 42% to 185 km.
The new 2019 version that is now on sale comes with a 120 Ah 42.2 kWh battery. Range is now 246 km according to EPA – almost double compared to the first generation and 33% more than the second generation. It is now also clear that the range extender has been phased out and will no longer be an option for the new version.
It is important to understand the different range numbers that are used when advertising electric cars. Car manufacturers put a battery and an electric motor in the car. How far you get depends on temperature, road conditions, speed, driving style, etc. To translate capacity and efficiency into range for different cars there are drive cycle test.
The three most important test cycles are:
- NEDC (New European Driving Cycle): This old test cycle is being depreciated. It includes top speeds of 120 km/h (75 mph). This test measured the i3 120 Ah range to 359 km (223 miles)
- WLTP (World Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure): It includes top speed of 131 km/h (82mph). This test measured the i3 120 Ah range to 310 km (193 miles)
- EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency): It includes top speed of 100 km/h (60mph). This test measured the i3 120 Ah range to 246 km (153 miles)
BMW has also declared that old generation i3 owners will not be able to replace their old batteries with the new 120 Ah. This is a pity since it would make sense for first generation i3 owners to spend money to more than double battery capacity and range. Yes, it would more than double since these cars are now getting old and batteries in them have somewhat reduced capacity, even if it is not a large issue.
Given the renewed design recently launched with the i3s, the new 2019 model does not come with any major design changes.
The cost of the 2019 version in Sweden is 419 000 SEK (40 600 EUR). You need to add 20 000 SEK (1900 EUR) for the sport package (i3s). In Sweden the state will pay a 60 000 SEK bonus (subsidy) to i3 buyers.
In Germany the price is somewhat lower and starts at 38 000 EUR.