2017 BMW i3 Specs Revealed With Some Surprises

JUN 20 2016 BY TOM MOLOUGHNEY 60

Fluid Black as pictured and Protonic Blue Metallic will most likely be very popular colors in 2017

Fluid Black as pictured and Protonic Blue Metallic will most likely be very popular colors in 2017

While many of the changes that the 2017 BMW i3 will be getting have already been announced; such as the availability of the anticipated 94 Ah battery cells, the new Protonic Blue color and a moonroof option, I’ve now learned there are also more subtle changes in the US for the new model year.

First, and most interesting, is the revelation that BMW will indeed continue to offer the i3 with the current 60 Ah battery, offering a lower range and lower cost i3 alternative. This is something that I don’t believe has been reported on any other EV news site to date. I speculated that BMW would do this back in March, when I wrote this post dedicated to the topic. BMW hasn’t made any statements regarding offering two battery options, and made no mention of it in the the official press release of the 2017 i3. Still, my sources tell me otherwise.

The 60 Ah i3 will only be offered as a BEV; the range extender will not be an option. BMW will hold the price and offer it for the same $43,395 ($42,400 plus $995 for destination and handling) as the 2016 i3 sells for.  The 60 Ah i3 will keep the same packages as previously offered. Mega World is the standard model with Giga World and Tera World serving as the upgrade packages. The 60 Ah BEV offering will allow customers that don’t need the extra range a way to save some money.

The 19" BMW i Star Spoke 427 style wheels (pictured above) will remain the standard wheels for the 60 Ah BEV i3 in 2017. They will however not be offered on the 94 Ah i3. For the 94 Ah i3's (BEV or REx) the 19" Turbine 429 style wheels that were previously only offered as an option in the Giga World package will be standard. The 20" Sport wheels are still optional, and cost the same $1,300 as in previous years

The 19″ BMW i Star Spoke 427 style wheels (pictured above) will remain the standard wheels for the 60 Ah BEV i3 in 2017. They will however not be offered on the 94 Ah i3. For the 94 Ah i3’s (BEV or REx) the 19″ Turbine 429 style wheels that were previously only offered as an option in the Giga World package will be standard. The 20″ Sport wheels are still optional, and cost the same $1,300 as in previous years

Personally I don’t see a big demand for the 60 Ah model. It’s only $1,200 less than the new 94 Ah i3 and will have a much shorter range at 81 miles per charge compared to 114 (est) for the 94 Ah i3. Forty percent more range for only $1,200 makes the decision a no-brainer in my opinion. So why is BMW even bothering to offer the 60 Ah battery anymore? My guess is mainly for fleet sales. They’ll probably offer up a very competitive lease deal for fleets, like they recently did for the Los Angeles Police department. It’s also possible that they have excess supply of 60 Ah battery cells that need to be used. BMW no doubt had to guarantee to purchase a certain number of cells from Samsung when they negotiated the original supply contract. Perhaps they didn’t sell as many i3s as planned, and still have a few thousand 60 Ah packs to use, however that’s pure speculation.

The 94 Ah 2017 i3 will finally have a moonroof option. It will be available for $1,000 on both BEV and REx cars. It will not, however be offered as an option on the 60 Ah i3.

The 94 Ah 2017 i3 will finally have a moonroof option. It will be available for $1,000 on both BEV and REx cars. It will not, however be offered as an option on the 60 Ah i3.

The 94 Ah BEV will list for $44,595 and the REx will now cost $48,350. Comfort Access and the Universal remote garage door opener are standard on the 94 Ah i3. To get them on the 60 Ah i3, you need to upgrade to the Giga World package. So that alone helps to close the $1,200 gap in pricing between models. The much anticipated moonroof is available as an option on both models for $1,000, but it’s not available on the 60 Ah model. The 94Ah i3 has a new standard trim called Deka World. With the standard Deka trim, as mentioned above, the Turbine 429 style wheels are standard, as is the Deka Dark cloth, an interior not previously offered in the US although it had previously been offered as the standard interior on European i3s.

The new standard Deka World is called "Atelier" in Europe. It's a combination of dark gray and black cloth, with BMW i blue trim.

The new standard Deka World is called “Atelier” in Europe. It’s a combination of dark gray and black cloth, with BMW i blue trim.

There are then three optional “Worlds” to choose from, instead of the two in past years. Mega World, a $1,400 option, offers the 19″ Turbine 428 style wheels and the Mega Carum Spice cloth interior.  Mega World doesn’t  offer an interior upgrade, like Giga and Tera Worlds offer. Instead it’s actually just a different color cloth with no upgrades in the dashboard trim. One potential problem I can see with this, is that Mega World is the standard interior on the 60 Ah i3, and it doesn’t offer the 19″ Turbine 428 style wheels. So “Mega World” isn’t the same on all i3s, you need to know which battery the car has to know what wheels it comes with. It’s standard on the 60 Ah, but optional on the 94 Ah, and has different wheels depending on the battery. That’s certainly going to give some client advisers and customers a headache.

The Dark Oak wood trim is a new offering on the i3. It is available in the Giga or Tera World packages and customers get to choose if they prefer this, or the lighter Eucalyptus wood which was previously the only wood trim offered.

The Dark Oak wood trim is a new offering on the i3. It is available in the Giga or Tera World packages and customers get to choose if they prefer this, or the lighter Eucalyptus wood which was previously the only wood trim offered.

The next level up is Giga World which costs $1,800. Giga World also upgrades the wheels to the Turbine 428 style wheels but also upgrades the interior. In previous years, Giga World upgraded the wheels from the standard 427 Star Spoke wheels to the turbine 429 style wheels. Now for 2017 it upgrades from the standard 429 style wheels to the 428 style wheels which is also a bit confusing, especially since a Giga World 60 Ah i3 comes with the 429 style wheels – different than a Giga World 94 Ah i3! The interior for a 94 Ah Giga World i3 is the same as it has been in past years, and the same as it is on a 60 Ah i3 for 2017. The only change is the customer now has a choice of the light Eucalyptus wood trim, or the new Dark Oak Wood trim.

The Tera World interior remains the same. The only exception is there is now a Dark Oak Wood trim option. My i3 pictured above has the Eucalyptus wood trim. Customers now have their choice of which wood they prefer.

The Tera World interior remains the same. The only exception is there is now a Dark Oak Wood trim option. My i3 pictured above has the Eucalyptus wood trim. Customers now have their choice of which wood they prefer.

The top of the line World is still the Tera World, and it’s a $2,600 option. It has the exact same offerings as the Giga World, except it has a full leather interior. It’s the same Dalbergia Brown color as in previous years and what I have in my i3.

As for exterior colors it appears that only Capparis White is standard, and any of the other five other colors will cost an additional $550. Those include: Fluid Black, Ionic Silver Metallic, Protonic Blue Metallic, Platinum Silver and Mineral Grey. Also of note is the new Protonic Blue Metallic will not be available on the 60 Ah i3.

The new Protonic Blue Metallic will likely be a popular choice. However you'll have to order the 94 Ah battery if you want this color because it's not available on the lower cost 60 Ah i3.

The new Protonic Blue Metallic will likely be a popular choice. However you’ll have to order the 94 Ah battery if you want this color because it’s not available on the lower cost 60 Ah i3.

That’s all I have for now. Based on my research I believe everything above is correct. However BMW hasn’t formally released these details and it’s possible that I didn’t get everything 100% correct. I’ll follow up and make any corrections necessary if that proves to be the case.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on Tom’s blog. Check it out here.

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60 Comments on "2017 BMW i3 Specs Revealed With Some Surprises"

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With these gradual battery upgrades, automakers are slowly getting into the wider and more serious market.

This car needs a 50kwh/200 mile battery, not whatever the 94 ah equates to….

FYI. CA rebates for electric cars have been exhausted. No more rebates available unless legislatures extend funding.

ZEV rebates in California regularly run out at this time of year, and funding has been regularly extended.

http://insideevs.com/california-rebate-program-money/

It seems a trend that new BEVs with a longer range also cost more. This car is getting expensive and not better then a future model 3. If a model gets a better battery the old version should go for less and the new version for the same price. Aren’t batteries becoming cheaper?

On the other it’s written ‘BMW’ on the car so probably some people will buy it anyway..

…future…

Comparing BMW build quality to Tesla’s Model 3 prototypes? Check out the Model X build quality first.

I would agree that $1,200 extra for the larger battery is a no brainer. I wonder if they are planning to discount the 60amp versions at the dealer level?

Here’s the thing I’m most curious about. For those customers that were willing to buy the Rex for $3,800 more, I wonder how many would rather pay $1,200 more for a larger battery instead? This is especially true since the price gap for the Rex will be higher now. With the older i3, I wouldn’t have bought one without the Rex. But with the longer range BEV version… I might could pass on the Rex.

In my area (Fremont CA), even though Nissan now offers a 107-mile version, the lower-range 84-mile version outsells the higher range model 10 to 1. The Indian community here has embraced the low cost and free 2-year charging as their best way to save money. Based on local Nissan inventories here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would guess hardly anyone is buying the 107-mile version. People want the benefits of electric cars, but don’t want to pay extra for a token range increase. I think that until the range increases to 200 miles, these small incremental increases by Nissan, BMW, and Volkswagen will not increase their sales unless they offer them for the same price as their previous lower range versions.

I wouldn’t call 23 miles a “token” upgrade. Think about it, that’s more EV range than the Prius Prime has to begin with.

Agree with you 100%. 27% increase in range is not a token upgrade. I agree with the OP, that most in the Indian community are modelling their purchase over the extreme money saving principle…wherein, there is no reason to pay for any range increase, as long as the lowest range option is available.

I leased a 2016 Nissan Leaf SV with the 107 mile range after returning a 2013 SV with the 84 mile range early this year – and readily took the price increase associated with the range increase in stride.

This was one of the best upgrades I have ever made. It makes the leaf so much more convenient to live with, with the significant range upgrade – totally worht the extra $30-50 increase in monthly cost.

I agree the use of “token” in my original post was an exaggeration. However, I think there are two groups of EV buyers: the true believers like you and me, and those who don’t care about the EV gospel and just want to save money. The money savers (about 70% of the buyers right now), hear 84 miles and 107 miles, and they think “a little under a hundred, a little over a hundred; not much difference.” You and I who have struggled with an 84-mile limit know that 107 miles is a major improvement. But the average guy on the street thinks anything less than 200 miles is too restricting. At 200 miles, an EV can be your family’s only car. At 84 miles or 107 miles, it’s just a handy, low-cost second car.

I like how they are trying to fool people think that 60 Ah = 60 kWh and 94 Ah = 90 kWh.

What are those capacities in kWh?

Agreed (almost).

To a population raised on kilowatt-hours, throwing the ampere-hour rating of a cell into the mix, seems like a needless (or maybe deliberate) distraction. It’s certain to be confusing and conveys little usable information.

Folks: please don’t encourage it! It’s already bad enough that we have people confusing or abbreviating kilowatt-hours as kilowatts.

I know Tesla Model S has a “90”, but our new battery just upgraded to a “94”.

Agreed.

Small engine mfrs did the same thing a few years ago when they switched from listing HP on the engine label, to listing Torque.

So a ~4 HP lawnmower is now labeled 6.75 Ft-lbs torque, and consumers think they’re getting more than they did a generation ago.

Hummm, since 4 hp is 6 foot pounds torque at 3600 rpm, what is the rated speed? 3200 ?

err: 4 HP is 6 foot pounds at 3,500 RPM

err: so what is the rated speed? 3111 RPM?

22 AND 33 gross
18 and 27 net usable

So basically the choice is between not enough range and not nearly enough range to make this a viable competitor for cars like Bolt and Model 3, both of which are cheaper.

Don’t buy them, they will depreciate like last years laptop and pretty much for the same reason.

OTOH, there should be some pretty compelling lease deals to be had on these…

No upgrades to the range extender?

If BMW wants to really sell an EV, they should put out something with four doors, windows and tires. Then, maybe worry about whether 114 miles is enough.

Ah is stupid, at what voltage? That is why we got Watts.

That’s the problem, the volts vary with state of charge, rate of discharge and temperature. kWh is an approximation, Ah is a measure of charge. In this case the number of Li+ ions that move in the battery.

There’s no conspiracy I’d expect bmw to use the “correct” unit that is meaningless to the general public.

What we use are kWh. The total capacity is more precisely an integral rather than just a multiplication but that just makes Ah even more useless.

In this context Ah is completely useless and doesn’t tell anything.

The battery is around 360 volt. So the amount of Ah * 0,36 would give you the gross capacity

If Nissan’s badly executed 30kWh ’16 model experience holds true – i3 sales won’t be affected much by this increase.

Too little, too late.

I think they are making these i3s, 24/7, robotically with a 3D printer using the cheapest materials they can buy,,,,imagine how many other manufacturers want the “Dark Oak’ veneer,,,it must be cheaper than the eucalyptus veneer which also had no other buyers.
They won’t be changing the Rex because nothing else is cheaper, they must LOL every time one of the 2 cylinder, 35Hp motor scooter engines goes down the line at a $4,000, upcharge !!
Every promise for future improvements is a generation behind the competition. But when it comes to, “how cheap can we make them, and how much do we dare charge?” No one else is close!!!

Hey its cheaper than the $7800 Mr. Coffee’s for the fighter aircraft, the $700 toilet seats, and the $19 ‘personal hand-held inscriber’ (pencil).

Hehe – reminds me of the $hundreds of thousands Nasa spent on trying to make a pen write upside down.

The Russians solved the problem before hand – use a pencil.

Michael - Fisher Pen Co fan
Great story, but NASA had started with pencils before Fisher independently developed the space pen that replaced the pencils on NASA missions, but also replaced the writing instruments on Soviet space missions. All R&D funding came from the Fisher Pen Company and none came from NASA, not even in inflated pricing of the final product. Pencils originally used were flammable. After Apollo 1, that was a much bigger consideration. And pencils tend to flake and break at the tip during normal use. With no gravity, inhalation of a pencil point was a real hazard. And with all the electronics aboard, neither agency wanted bits of graphite and graphite dust in the enclosed space. NASA was, however, paying in excess of $100 each for their mechanical pencils, which were a rarity in that era. When the price was made public, NASA was especially receptive to Fisher Pen’s new invention. Sources vary on the price paid by NASA and the Soviets for Fisher pens, and range from $2.39 each to about $6 each. Different sources claim different tools for the pre-pen Cosmonauts. Some sources claim they used pencils, but NASA’s website says they used grease pencils. So, it’s quite a story, but… Read more »

Very interesting.

Thanks,

GSP

I defer to your knowledge of the pencils. However the exhorbitant cost of military vehicles has left this country with very expensive new fighter planes that don’t work (some have dubbed them ‘flying pigs’).

There may come a time when the Pentagon wished they did work – after all, the Russian stuff is relaively cheap and it works – as for instance the surprise attack in Syria over the weekend.

Tom – a quick question about charging which I’ve never seen answered.

Supposedly the I3 is the only EV that supports the 16 amp level 1 120 volt rate. But the ‘charger bricks’ I see sold with the car max out at 12. So how do you do 16?

My 2016 Kia Soul EV+ will do over 16A on 120V but my EVSE will only do 20A so I haven’t been able to test it over that current.

Hi David.

What choices does Kia give the owner as to charging rates? (They don’t sell them in NY State).

The 114 mi version plus REX (programmed correctly) would be an all purpose car,.. suitable for road trips of “reasonable length” and would skip around the lack of supercharger problem. But it’s priced AT LEAST $10k too high to compete with the model 3.

You’d think — if BMW wanted to get out in front and take some of those 400,000 Tesla reservations– then they’d price the improved i3 competitively.

I can only assume BMW has no desire to get out in front, but will just react when model 3 reservations start to be converted to sales (?)

Other than price; the irex seems like a great alternative to pure EV’s. 110 miles or so on EV, DCFC for purists, and an additional 110 miles on gasoline.

Tom’s explanation of the various confusing option choices BMW is offering inevitably (for me as a serious Python fan) brought this to mind:

GRA said:

“…a serious Python fan”

I see what you did there. 😛

And now for something completely different…

To this day,Sir John Cleese remains the longest serving Minister of Silly Walks.

The irony here is that the “bigger” battery + the rex suddenly makes the i3 a decent mid-range out of town trip car (i.e. trips of 200 to say 600 miles round trip). Unfortunately, what it doesn’t do is make the i3 itself a great car for longer distance freeway travel.

The short wheelbase (choppy ride) and darty steering (both commonly mentioned on the i3 Facebook group page – the best source for all things i3), just don’t make this car a great longer distance ride.

It is possible the added weight of the battery pack (on top of the rex weight) COULD tame the ride down a bit, but we’ll see…

Hey Tom, thanks for sharing the info for i3 updates here. Do you think these changes will bump i3 sales numbers back up to over 1,000 units/mo.? Like ny model from any company, they tweak the interior colors and finishes and add/remove colors from the orders sheet. The options list with what wheel situation is sure confusing. They all look good though, depending on taste. It’s not the fine details that deter people from i3, it’s mainly price, strange choices like the suicide doors and a Taiwanese scooter motor with a tiny gas tank that deters most buyers. LEAF now goes 100+ miles in range and costs a lot less. I believe where i3 and Volt have the most in commmon is that their makers never envisioned the cars as more than a niche product. They’re both perfectly happy to sell 20-30,000 units and take what they can get margin-wise. They call it the halo business. It’s a weird, mysterious, funky area in a big car company and it will be very interesting to see if BMW carries on the “i” series with gen 2s the way GM did with Volt. If they do, you can bet the configurations and… Read more »