BMW has released details of a new, higher-energy battery that stretches the five-door hatchback’s official range from 190 to 300km – or from 130-160km to 200km in more realistic motoring when air-con or heating is required.
The improvement comes from the battery’s lithium-ion cells, which now have increased storage density.
The battery will also be available with the Range Extender variant, which continues to use a two-cylinder petrol engine to extend the i3’s driving distance capability by another 150km.
Performance slips slightly owing to the battery’s increased weight, which nudges the BMW i3 up from 1195kg to 1245kg. The 0-100km/h sprint takes a tenth longer at 7.3 seconds, and 80-120km/h in-gear acceleration takes 5.1 rather than 4.9 seconds.
Recharging time on a domestic power socket will also take a bit longer – closer to 10 hours than the eight hours of the original.
However, BMW is introducing a new i Wallbox, which can be installed in garages, for example, and charge the i3 in 2 hours 45 minutes.
The advanced-battery i3 – labelled the 90Ah (with Ah standing for ampere hours) – will also recharge 50 per cent faster than the current, 60Ah version at a typical public recharging station.
BMW says owners of the 60Ah version can have their i3s retrofitted with the new battery as the dimensions of the battery remain unchanged.
The 90Ah and 60Ah versions will be sold concurrently in Europe, though BMW Australia will swap original for update due to the niche sales volume of the vehicle here.
The updated BMW i3 is due here by the end of 2016. Pricing may increase from the current $63,900 ($69,900 Range Extender), though some compensation in the form of additional features is equally likely.
The BMW i3 was launched locally in 2014, going on to win that year’s Car of the Year award from WhichCar’s sister title, Wheels magazine.