The i3 can now drive for up to 114 miles on a single charge.
BMW is giving the electric i3 a bigger battery for the 2017 model year.
The electric compact now comes with a 33-kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack. It can drive for up to 114 miles on a single charge, a figure that represents a generous increase over the outgoing model's 81-mile range. A 650cc two-cylinder range extender remains available for buyers who occasionally need to drive further, and it's now fed by a bigger 2.4-gallon tank for additional range.
Adding 11 kWh to the battery pack has pros and cons. At 2,961 pounds the 2017 i3 is about 300 pounds heavier than the outgoing model, and motorists will need to wait four and a half hours before the pack is fully topped up. In comparison, the 22-kWh pack in the outgoing i3 could be charged in three and a half hours.
BMW has made no other mechanical changes to the i3 and, surprisingly, performance specifications remain the same. That means the lithium-ion pack zaps a 170-horsepower motor that spins the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The i3 takes a little over seven seconds to hit 60 mph from a stop, and it goes on to a top speed that's electronically limited to 93 mph.
The color palette has been expanded with Protonic Blue, a hue borrowed from the i8 coupe, and buyers can order a power moonroof at an extra cost for the first time. The list of standard features includes automatic A/C, LED headlights, navigation, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and parking sensors.
The 2017 BMW i3 will go on sale in the coming months. Pricing information hasn't been announced yet, but it's reasonable to expect that it will carry a premium over the current model, which starts at $42,400 before incentives are factored in.