(Image: BMW)

The 2017 BMW i3 will be available with a new 33 kWh battery, increasing the car’s max pure-electric range to 114 miles. That’s a 50 percent battery bump translating to an extra 33 miles of drivable distance.

The “94 Ah” version gets its extra energy storage capacity from a higher density of lithium ion cells. BMW promises 114 miles of combined highway and city driving “in varying weather conditions and with the air conditioning or heating turned on.” That’s up from the standard 22 kWh battery’s 81 mile all-electric range.

Performance figures are apparently basically the same; the bigger-battery’d i3 will go from 0 to 60 mph in “just over seven seconds.” But Range Extender cars, featuring the optional two-cylinder gasoline generator, will be able to go even further thanks to a 25 percent increase in fuel capacity to 2.4 gallons.

The new 33 kWh battery takes an hour more to charge than the standard 22 kWh battery; 4.5 hours for the larger battery, 3.5 for the standard. Absolute maximum drivable distance in the 2017 i3, with the 33 kWh battery and Range Extender engine, has not yet been confirmed. Nor has the new price.

The i3 has been met with mixed reactions in the market. Critical impressions seemed positive but last year one New York dealer told me they’d resorted to slash-and-burn employee discount pricing to move the cars off lots.


Would an extra 33 miles be the bump you need to get excited about the i3 again? Personally I’m waiting for them to tone down the interior to three or four different surface types as opposed to 30, but philistines like myself might not be the target market anyway.