“Battery More Powerful” Coming To BMW i3?

4 years ago by Tom Moloughney 18

"Battery More Powerful" Listed As BMW i3 Option

“Battery More Powerful” Listed As BMW i3 Option

I was tipped off by an anonymous follower here that the Spanish BMW i3 online configurer has a not-yet-available option called “Bateria de mayor potencia” which Google Translate will tell you means “battery more powerful” in English or more potent battery. There isn’t a picture for the option and you can’t order it – yet. I checked the other BMW models on the site to make sure this wasn’t just some kind of phantom option or mistake that was listed on all the BMW cars on the site and it isn’t. It was in fact only listed on the i3 options page.

*Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Tom’s “The Electric BMW i3” blog.  Check it out by clicking here.

So, I reached out to a contact I have in Spain that is well connected in the electric vehicle community there to look into this and see what they can uncover. Could the Spanish BMW site have inadvertently tipped us off as to what will soon be available? Maybe this is as innocuous as an optional, more powerful 12v battery? However, I’ve never heard of an optional 12v battery being offered in any i3 market yet and why would they even do that? The 12v battery doesn’t need to do very much in the first place. The car is already equipped with a cold weather package in cold-climate markets and there is no mention of a more powerful battery in that package. I would think if BMW thought the standard 12v battery was insufficient they would have just made all the cars standard with the more powerful one in the first place.

Current BMW i3 Battery

Current BMW i3 Battery

BMW i3 BEV Window Sticker - With a More Poten Battery We Suspect EV Range Would Increase Considerably

BMW i3 BEV Window Sticker – With a More Poten Battery We Suspect EV Range Would Increase Considerably

There have been rumors that BMW is already field testing higher density batteries and that they will be available in the not-too-distant future. BMW has always maintained that the i3’s battery pack is easily replaceable and that it’s likely down the road when a customer determines it’s time to replace their pack the replacement pack will be more robust, allowing for a greater range than the original battery did when it was new. Could that be available sooner than we anticipated?

Battery tech is constantly evolving. Tesla for example is rumored to be replacing the current batteries they use with higher density cells in the very near future and will soon open the Gigafactory(s) to manufacture them. Over in the BMW ActiveE Facebook group we recently had a fellow ActiveE driver say he had the opportunity to ride in a test MINI-E at BMW’s Technology Center that was fitted with BMW’s next generation of batteries and the car had about a 200 mile range. This cannot be confirmed, but I have no reason to doubt his claim.

So, this may be nothing, a simple mistake or misunderstanding on the BMW i3s Spanish website. Or maybe not…

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18 responses to "“Battery More Powerful” Coming To BMW i3?"

  1. David Murray says:

    I realize it is a translation.. but when I think of “more potent” I think of a battery that can deliver more amps, but not necessarily more amp-hours.

    1. jumpjack says:

      “Common people” does not understand “energy” and “capacity”, byt they can easily figure out what “more powerful” means. “Bigger battery” wouldn’t be a good marketing choice (bigger=heavy=slow).

  2. Spec9 says:

    Adding an option for more battery capacity instead of the REx would provide a lot of customers with something they would REALLY like. But please add it as an option so people have three choices:
    1) The current ~80 mile range i3.
    2) The 80 mile electric range with a gasoline range-extender adding another 80 miles.
    3) A pure EV i3 with an optional larger battery pack that raises the EPA rated range to 100 to 130 miles of range or so.

  3. Airton says:

    Wow interesting! It’s not April 1st so I will take this seriously Tom 😉

  4. kalle says:

    or do they simply mean the range extender?

  5. Leafer says:

    There is an odd standard feture on the spec sheet in the usa listed as ” more powerful electrical supply”
    I think it means heavy duty dc to dc converter. its standard on US I3’s
    could it be this?

  6. DaveMart says:

    As I have argued on this blog previously, in my view it is likely that BMW settled on a rather unhappy, Californian compliant Rex as they intended this city car to have the option instead of a more powerful battery pack in due course, giving it enough range so that they could throw out the motorbike engine.

    I had thought that this would be offered perhaps in around 2017, but maybe they have either cracked a higher density battery or intend to offer the option of using the space otherwise taken by the Rex to offer a bigger battery pack with current densities.

  7. For what it’s worth, I do really expect this to just be some 12v battery upgrade, but since I haven’t seen that available in any other European country or here in the US I found it interesting.

    It’s likely not what we hope it would be, because I can’t imagine BMW making something like this available less than a year from the i3s launch, but I though it was worth exploring.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Maybe that is what this one is but I do think that they still could offer a bigger pack in the future eventually. Either by using the space for the REx or by using more energy dense battery cells. I’m sure they can find a bit more room.

      1. They will. The replacement pack for an i3 will most certainly be lighter and have a higher energy density with a greater range. But what will it cost?

  8. kdawg says:

    For the price of 0 Euro I’d probably buy it. 🙂

  9. Ocean Railroader says:

    Well considering Nissan hasn’t done anything to the range of their EV in almost five years. Naturally someone would at least come out with something even 25% to 40% more powerful over five years. At the least they could add least 40 to 60 new EV miles to the existing battery back to make it more usable.

    The thing that bugs me about the BMW is that hammy one gallon gas tank they have for the Rex. In that it’s kind of silly to have to carry around a three gallon gallon plastic jug in the trunk of the 45,000 $dollar car. They should at least add the option to have a five gallon gas tank on it.

    1. QCO says:

      They can’t because the delayed REX start and minuscule tank are an unintended consequence of a California regulation which BMW needed to meet.

      The European REX version works better and I think the tank is a bit bigger too (although not 5 gallon).

      I think the general consensus is the North American REX version is too compromised.

    2. Rob Stark says:

      Nissan has not extended the range but they have dropped the price.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        The Mitsubishi i-MEV dropped their price by $6000 dollars. The thing is that the same 62 mile battery range keeps the car locked into a small part of the car market. In that if it had a 100 mile range it could be a challenge to the Smart Car along with a few other cars.

  10. Anon says:

    Bavarian Motors Waffling…

  11. zoe-driver says:

    The bad thing is, you have to buy it I guess. It will not be a free upgrade. So costs will increase. Every Manufacturer has next Gen running. Audi as well. And Renault sources are saying that they will offer double range in 2016 for ZOE. Rumours are that this will be part of the Battery rental model. We will see.

    Godd thing is that with larger capacity BMW i3 is still a SLOW charger @ Home. Upgrade to the charging unit should be as well.

  12. Nix says:

    As others alluded to, I’m putting my money on it being related to battery charging, not the battery itself. Something like a faster charger, or a different connector, or the option to buy a home charger that is a more powerful charger than plugging directly into the wall.

    I base this partially on the option being listed right next to the two other charging options, “Carga Rapida” for faster charging.