BMW’s i3 electric car is set to get a new lithium-ion battery pack, and with it, a significant boost to its maximum driving range.
Currently, the i3 is rated at 160km in all-electric mode, with the range-extended model able to travel nearly twice that distance thanks to its twin-cylinder petrol engine, which acts as a generator.
Industry paper Automotive News reports that the battery upgrade will see a new maximum range of around 320km using electric power only. BMW's Ian Robertson did not confirm the new range, but did say that it would make the i3 "much more usable".
The upgraded i3 could debut sometime next year; a maximum range of 300km or more would certainly add to its appeal for buyers.
Although competing outside the ‘premium’ segment, Nissan’s Leaf in updated form can now travel as far as 250km on a charge, while the new Chevrolet Bolt is good for around 320km, matching the reported improvements for the i3.
It is unclear if the range-extended i3 model would receive a similar boost to its maximum range.
Reports out of Europe late last year reported an improvement to the i3’s electric range of around 40km.
However, that 40km improvement was to be obtained (reportedly) from the same 22kWh battery pack that the i3 currently uses. This could mean BMW is looking to offer a choice of battery packs for its 2017 i3, with the new pack to command a price premium over the current pack.
Regardless, the 2017 i3 is set to feature better integration between the battery cooling system and the electric motor to maximise efficiency.
Stay tuned to TMR for more.
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