BMW CEO: i3 To Get More Electric Range Next Year

OCT 22 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 84

BMW CEO Harald Krüger

BMW CEO Harald Krüger

Over on the MyBMWi3.com forum there’s a thread on an interview with BMW CEO Harald Krüger.

Within that interview, Krüger outright confirms that in 2016 (likely Model Year 2017) the BMW i3 will get more electric range.

The interview, originally in German via Die Zeit, has Krüger stating the following (link here for today’s online preview edition that touches on it – full subscription needed #DIE ZEIT Nr. 43 vom 22. Oktober 2015) :

“The battery cell technology is evolving. An increase in range of the i3 will come in the 2016. A bigger technological leap is likely to happen in the next three or four years. You can then travel almost twice the distance without a further increase in battery weight.”

Krüger was then asked:

“Can I then replace the battery of my i3 against the better battery?”

His response was as follows:

“We are currently dealing with this question.”

Part of interview is also published by All-In.de here (German)

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84 Comments on "BMW CEO: i3 To Get More Electric Range Next Year"

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They really don’t have any choice. The BMW i3 is already short on range, hence the popularity of the hybrid version with a 650cc gasoline burning motorcycle engine).

All the competition is already leaving BMW in the dust, with a 107 EPA range LEAF, and near future 150-200 mile range GM Bolt and LEAF, plus the 200 mile range Tesla Model 3.

Even at double the range, it’s barely going to keep up with the competition.

Don’t forget that with any increase in battery only range they can increase the gas tank size on the REX version and still comply with CARB regulations. A 110 mile battery will allow them to have 90-100 mile range on the REX also giving them a (perceived) edge without having to change much with the actual car itself.

Very smart move, if they do it.

A valid point.

Good point.. With 110 miles on battery and 110 miles on Rex, that is over 200 miles of range. So I could drive an i3 Rex from Ft.Worth to Austin non-stop. That’s pretty impressive. Of course, I suppose I could do the same in a Chevy Bolt, but that’d be cutting it too close and I’d want to stop for a charge somewhere in between.

Just carry my 5 gallon gas can in the I3, and fill up the car when you stop for a smoke every hour.

yetussmoke in the car as your driving. It will burn off the fumes from the gas can

Sorry about the bad typing. for some reason this sight makes me type really slow. What I meant was

Better yet just smoke in te car while you are driving and it will burn off the fumes from the gas can.

jelloslug said:

“Don’t forget that with any increase in battery only range they can increase the gas tank size on the REX version”

I think a better way to say it would be:

“Don’t forget that with any increase in battery only range they can eliminate the range extender.”

If they increase it to 200+ miles maybe, but if they only increase it to 110 miles as suggested above, then most people will still need the range extender.

The output of the gas powered generator on the i3 is probably adequate for moderate cursing but not enough for climbing steep hills or long grades so I think a Hold Mode is also required that allows the driver to fire up the ICE to supplement the battery well before it drains.

Yes, I hear climbing long grades in an i3 often leads to moderate cursing.

You are correct. That is actually the way it was designed to work. You can blame CARB for the factory gimped version that we have in the US. Fortunately it can be corrected very easily with a $20 cable and a laptop.

I blame CARB for allowing BMW to define the BEVx designation and give full ZEV credits to such vehicles.

No spine. :-/

True, but one heck of a sales pitch by BMW !!!

It’s like 1984 all over again…

War is peace

Gasoline is zero emissions

Add that to the fact the gas tank in the US is artificially constrained (relatvie to international versions) to comply with these rules it’s likely this can be done with basically zero re-engineering. Even retrofitted cars might be able to have their gas range improved as well.

Note Mark Ruess recently said the Bolt would have over 200 miles of range.

Yes the latest is that the Bolt will have 250 mile range….and with a new battery pack architecture that significantly lowers pack cost and at the same time increases energy density.

Available in 1 year from now.

I’ll believe 250 when I see it. There is a lot of hope in what GM can achieve with Bolt, which is a good thing, but I’m not going to get my hopes up too high. With what I am seeing I would venture a guess of 210.

Yeah, I’m not going to jump on the 250-mile bandwagon. I’m thinking 205 miles on the EPA rating.

Now that’s not saying hypermilers won’t get 250, but I only really care about the EPA rated miles.

What current car leaves the current i3 in the dust? Bumping the Leaf from 80 to 100 mile range is great but that does not cure range anxiety. A majority of the current EV market sits at 80-90 mile range, which is where the all electric i3 stands. People opt for the range extender because it gives them 150 mile range TODAY. If you want to talk about unreleased and unfinished cars, then we can make many more wild comparisons.

I think that’s why the new 2016 Volt will be a hit. Most PHEVs have a lot of expense without a lot of payout. 20 miles of range? ridiculous for that kind of money. By getting the Volt over 50 miles of range but still with a fully functional engine you get several advantages. 1. Most miles on electric only. I know a couple volt owners that think the extra 20 or so miles gets them from half the miles on electric to 90% or better. 2. Still fully capable family car for long trip. 3. ZERO range anxiety. 4. I believe there’s a market for something in between a Volt and an i3. The range extender idea is superior in many ways to standard hybrids. If they gave up on the CARB extra tax break for being classified as ReX and went with PHEV instead they would increase utility. i.e. just put a 5 gallon tank in the thing. All the range extender people would quit complaining. The thing would still have 80 or so (and soon 100?) miles electric and all you’d lose is the extra rebates in California. Note: the REX and Volt PHEV (or at least… Read more »

What cars are leaving BMW i3 in the dust? I have a 2015 i3 Rex and get between 70-80 miles on the battery. If needed I can get an additional 70-80 miles on the backup gas engine. The car is state of the art and designed for future battery upgrades. We came out of a Ford Focus Electric and considered a new 2016 Leaf and Volt but choose the i3. Not only was it a much better car in our opinion then both of them but its also the most efficient electric car on the market.

Maybe you should drive one before making baseless comments like this…

I figured this would happen.. But being that I3 sales are currently strong, I’m surprised they’d spill the beans on this so early. Of course, I wouldn’t buy an i3 without getting the Rex. In which case, the range isn’t that important to me. I currently drive a Volt as it is and almost never use the ICE.

I have a very nice Fusion Energi and I also have a Focus Electric. I see the engine in the Fusion as a long term liability and an added cost. The Focus of course is very limited as an electric vehicle in terms of range and lack of fast charging capabilities. I usually keep my cars ten or more years but I don’t see myself keeping either of these cars that long. I’m chomping at the bit to get a long range all electric car but I’m reluctant to pay the price of a Tesla.

I don’t see it that way. The engine should last a long time in a vehicle like the Volt or i3 Rex since it is rarely used. The Fusion Energi may be a different story, depending on the driving habits. Especially in the case of the i3 Rex, the engine is optional. So the worst that can happen with the ICE is it breaks down and then the car basically becomes an i3 BEV at that point.

ICEs destroy themselves. Anybody that’s ever owned a motorcycle or a boat that they don’t use every much knows this. I’ve got two motorcycles in my garage right now that won’t run because they weren’t used enough. That old adage if you don’t use it you lose it is especially true of ICEs. Why would you ever buy something you plan and hope you will never use unless you absolutely had to?

As long as you take your Fusion for a longer run (or pop it into EV Later mode) every month or two, you should be fine. Just make sure that the engine really warms up and runs. If you run it for a mile or two at a time, that’s really hard on it.

The Fusion actually has a feature that runs the engine every once in while to burn through the gas but that won’t keep the rubber fittings from rotting, that won’t keep the oil and coolant from going bad. Time is the enemy of any motor, why carry two around with if you don’t need to?

“why carry two around with if you don’t need to”

I think PHEV owners will tell you that they need to 😉

Well, time in two senses – first is calendar time and the second is run time. There’s nothing you can do about the calendar, but you will have minimized running time. Almost to a fault – by not running the engine, you aren’t putting wear and tear on it. On the other hand, you aren’t letting the oil circulate and keep all of the rubber fittings protected.

“why carry two around with if you don’t need to?”

Obviously you don’t want to unless you need to. Unfortunately today many of us need to due to the high price of large batteries and the severe lack of quick public charging opportunities. Hence the Energi, Volt, i3 REx, etc. So near term, your engine is a necessity. It will become a liability for sure, but that will probably take longer than if you had the standard Fusion (basically any model but the Energi) .

That sounds like my situation. I would be able to go without using a gas engine on most days, but some of the places I drive to are far enough away that battery alone would get me there but not back. Unfortunately there is no public charging in the one place that we go to the most frequently. The new generation that is coming with 200 mile range would be enough for me not to need a gas engine, but not 80.

“There’s nothing you can do about the calendar”
———-
I dunno, that DeLorean I saw yesterday parked in an alley looked like it hadn’t aged in 30 years.

+1

I had thought of throwing in a Back-to-the-Future joke, but couldn’t come up with one. Thanks for picking up my slack 😉

I3 REx and Volt have systems that manage and eliminate issues of infrequent ICE use. Not a big deal.

Well, speaking only for the volt, since I know nothing about the reliability of BMW motorcycles, you have to maintain the vehicle….. That means changing the oil and oil filter every two years, and also change the antifreeze every 150,000 miles or every 5 years. Since I’m not a travelling salesman, the antifreeze will be changed with less than 10,000 miles on the engine. Some people would say ‘ What a Waste !’. We had a bad storm here 9 years ago that convinced everybody and his brother to install ‘automatic’ “Guardian – style” emergency generators. Of course these require maintenance, with the larger water-cooled versions requiring just as much maintenance as a regular car engine. Electric Utilities love them since they have a 500-1500 watt crankcase heater in them to keep them ready to start in the cold. Far from ‘bypassing the grid’, these units are actually the power companies’ best friends, since they basically ‘heat the outside air’, in addition to the requisite battery charger, and you get to bill the customer for an additional electric appliance. So I consider my volt an EV with a backup. Many people who talk about the WASTE of a volt (but… Read more »

I thought I read that when there’s an REx malfunction, it bricks the rest of the car and a tow is required.

+1 on “I’m surprised they’d spill the beans on this so early.”

Nissan tried to hide such information, but BMW gets it out. I hope it does not Osborne them.

The threat of competition means we should see some exciting products the next few years.

There probably won’t be much pressure from competition. The only real reason to upgrade these cars is to capture loyalty at lease end. If they don’t upgrade the battery, they will just lower the price for return lessees.

I have a sneaky suspicion that next weeks Tokyo Motor Show might spring a surprise or two as well with regards to more competiton in the EV world !

Hints needed.

Hint: That was a hint.

Hintception

And the range wars begin….
(the winner is consumers)

Partially, second part of the equation is supercharger access, let’s see who signs up fot it first…

Boris, you’ve touched on a key issue.
As Tesla seeks to scale up 10X in units with the Gen III, its a guestion of can they scale up their supercharging infrastructure 10x to handle the cars?
It’s going to be expensive for sure!

I don’t know if they need to scale the SC network 10x because it is underutilized now. Sure, there are key areas with congestion, but most do not have that issue.

They will have to do a case by case study for where the SC network needs to expand.

Also note, with more Tesla destination charges arriving, that also eliminates some of the need of scaling up the SC network.

The new battery-cells are probably the 94 Ah version already shown by Samsung SDI:

http://mms.businesswire.com/media/20150915005885/en/485860/5/Samsung-SDI-exhibition-booth-at-IAA-2015.jpg

Too bad, not a word on the larger i5 with 4 proper doors. Next time maybe.

This is predictable and good news. I would guess the exact same form factor for the battery and the i3 and about a 25% range improvement, From 81 miles to 105 miles. Here’s the other part of the good news, as they increase the electric range, they will be able to increase the rex range. So look for a “whooping” 3 gallon gas tank and 100 mile gas rex. The i3 is a very strong platform with good sales that is going to get even better. In 2020 or you will see a “Gen 2 BMW i3” and possible a sedan/coupe/convertible derivative as well. 200 miles of electric range with a corresponding 200 miles of rex range. This combination will be a very high volume seller creeping into 3 series territory in volume at 200k units or more per year. No one other than BMW will be able to do CFRP at this price point for a decade. CFRP is the core tech where BMW has a huge advantage and the 200+200 GEN 2 BMW i3 in two or three formats will be a superior offering to the masses than a stand alone 200 mile range ev from Tesla for… Read more »

Unless of course by 2020 there are 400-500 mile pure EV’s at an affordable price on the market ?

That’s not going to happen in 5 years. You may see that kind of range in the high-end Teslas, but not the affordable crowd. Once they hit the 200-300 mile mark, the focus will be on QC infrastructure and reducing the price of the vehicle.

Elon Musk has already on record as stating he could build a 500 miles battery now, Carlos Ghosn is on record as stating they could triple range within two years.

400-500 miles batteries by 2020 IMO will be available at reasonable cost given the number of players in the game + economies of scale.

I could be wrong of course.

My comment was not regarding the 400-500 mile range, but the “affordable” prices. Sure, either Nissan or Tesla, LG Chem or any other could build a truly giant battery today. But at what cost? And will it come down that far in 5 years? I personally don’t believe it will at all. I’d love to be proven wrong, and you proven right.

Elon Musk stated 500 miles for hypermilers, so this is only minor improvement as you can already get 400 miles out of a S90D today.

Battery prices are now at 145$/kWh pack price (Bolt), by 2020 some might accieve 100$/kWh. For getting 500 miles EPA i would expect 150kWh might be enough, since the 30kWh of the Leaf is good for little over 100 miles EPA.

This means your battery will cost already 15.000$ if you add 5000$ for labour and chassis, buttons, steering, damper & airbags (which is not realistic or awesome unsafe/unreliable car).
+ Dealer Margin 1.500$
+ OEM Margin 2.500$
You have a BEV for 24.000$ with 500 miles EPA, but hell yeah, i don’t want to drive that cheap chassis.

For reference, the motor + drivetrain cost of a ICE that retails 24k$ should be around 3.5k$ max! Therefore you will only get max 35kWh, for the same price as a ICE in 2020.

If and that is a big if, they put a sedan vertion of an i3, normaly the i5, then indeed they can have the succes you mention but otherwise, there is no way the masses are going to cramp into a micro car like the i3.

Why do people insist on thinking that the i3 is a “micro car”?

Good question. It’s not at all small inside. Its at least as useful as my previous Golf. That said, the biggest thing is that it only seats 4.

Sit inside one and you’ll change your mind on “microcar” terminology. There’s lots of advantages brought by that CFRP passenger cell.

I’m confused. Mr. Loveday says “Krüger outright confirms that in 2016 (likely Model Year 2017) the BMW i3 will get more electric range.” but then quotes Mr. Kruger as saying “An increase in range of the i3 will come in the 2016.”. So what’s up with the word “the” in front of 2016? Is this a translation issue? In German, did he say “the year 2016”? Because to me it actually implies the 2016 model year. Which could be in the next month or so. If that’s true, it would line up with the 2016 Leaf’s increase in range.

Eine Erhöhung der Reichweite beim i3 wird schon im Jahr 2016 kommen.

Literally means “An increase in range of i3 will in year 2016 come”

Saying the word Jahr implies model year, but not necessarily.

Thanks. So really it could be taken either way, and Mr. Loveday is just opining. I don’t think that the extra year would cause many to defect to the Leaf. It would just make them opt for a REx. Or wait it out.

I think Eric (without putting words into his mouth) was just pointing out that the increase is very unlikely for 2016 like the literal quote when translated to English might suggest.

Just looking at the calendar, the new models are imminent to arrive. Seems near impossible to believe that a range bump would be coming directly…and/or that BMW had managed to keep this such a secret. A bump for the 2017 in 2016 seems more logical if that is the case.

The increase will probably happen in early 2016.

http://pushevs.com/2015/09/21/bmw-i3-possible-battery-upgrade-soon

That would be welcome news if it pans out indeed, (=

BMW has model upgrades in the spring and in the autumn. Both might be possible for the statement, but saying “Eine Erhöhung der Reichweite beim i3 wird schon im Jahr 2016 kommen.” means calendar year and has nothing to with model year. The text was in german. In Germany we don’t know a concept like model years. We have generation and refresh. Every 6-7 years a new generation (of a model), sometime in between a refresh.

That would make the most sense in that now there is a huge hole in the BMW sales department due to the leaf that is at least eight grand people and it has 30 more mile range then the BMW which is a huge chunk more expensive.

If I were BMW I would rush some type of range increase to keep up with the completion and to close that range salutation.

I sympathize with the Osborne-effect issues all of these EV manufacturers have to deal with these days. It is one thing to deal with in with digital electronics which are small and relatively inexpensive items. But it is a MUCH bigger problems with very large, very complex items like cars that have such a long supply chain and design cycle. Those are much more difficult inventory issues.

Actually the article says no such thing. I read the article and it states that BMW will introduce a car with a larger range, and that until recently it was being criticized for the short range of the i3 but that an upswing in sales had occurred.

Hey Peter, sorry I think you clicked the article when we had our links transposed.

Not sure how long you can see it – we believe the current edition is available online for the day, then falls into subscription, but here is the right one (link is proper in story as well), wider article appears to still be in subscription, but main point on the longer range is online there:

http://www.zeit-verlagsgruppe.de/presse/vorabmeldungen/

All-in.de is also now covering one part of the interview too – but same first quote, not Die Ziet’s follow-up:

http://www.all-in.de/nachrichten/deutschland_welt/wirtschaft/Krueger-kuendigt-neuen-Elektro-BMW-an;art15813,2104130

I’m kind of amazed that the leaf upped it’s range over the BMW in that the BMW was double the leaf’s prince so it technically had a bigger budget to built it. But I really hope they knock it out of the park by adding at least 80 miles to the EV battery range to give it a 150 mile battery range.

All this talk of longer range with bigger battery makes me worry about long term prospects of EV.

I estimate the batteries to fail in 10 years based on 8 year warranties that’s offered. The failure would be more than reduced range, but unrepairables such as failed cells. At $100/kWh expected (roughly raw material cost), 50kWh battery would be $5000 parts + $1000 install = $6000! For a 10 year old car?!?!?

Since older cars are more owned by poorer people, they would not be able to afford $6000 upfront cost when comparable gas car cost less and the maintenance/repair cost incremental rather than large upfront fee. Then the large battery EV more likely to be junked, adding to waste and pollution.

I think better is to have a way to keep 10 or 12 year old EV repair cost competitive to gas cars. I think $3000 is stretching it but doable, which is 20kWh battery. If only they could extend the range to 130 miles (2 hours @ 65mph) with 19kWh… You can with smart EV highway, but no one’s talking about doing it.

You’re assuming that dead batteries in old cars would be replaced with brand new batteries. There’s already a market for used EV packs, and I think that market will continue to grow.

To service using used, newer cars would have to fail with something other than battery. I don’t see that happening with simple and reliable EV drivetrain.

Also, the cost factors in recycling; since $100/kWh is for raw material, actual pack would be higher ($125? $150?), and core credit would take it down (hopefully) to $100/kWh.

I don’t see why anyone would replace with used EV battery today when all of them (AFAIK) are under warranty. If there’s a market, it would have to be tiny. Used Prius batteries (with 3 year warranty) cost about the same as new battery. I know, I priced them. 🙁

When I was young and just getting into cars I use to modify my cars all the time. There were all kinds of trick components you could buy and install. You can still grab a copy of the J. C. Whitney catalog and find all kinds of engine parts. The comment in this article about BMW working on a replacement battery for the I3 highlights a serious problem in the electric vehicle aftermarket industry, it is not providing the products we need for electric vehicles. Many if not most of the electric vehicles on the road suffer from poor battery range and lack of fast charging capabilities. You can’t even buy vehicle specific replacement aftermarket batteries for most EVs. We need the aftermarket industry to step up and start helping us over come the limitations built in to our electric vehicles by manufacturers. We need better batteries and we need vehicle specific upgrades for CCS and CHAdeMO fast charging. While I’m on my soap box I might as well plug for some autonomous features like adaptive cruise control and lane centering. I’m shocked at how far behind the aftermarket industry is on electric vehicles.

How many EVs are even out of warranty at this point?

Just because a car isn’t out of warranty doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be aftermarket parts for it. Most new car dealers have aftermarket departments and most of the most heavily modified vehicles are brand new. There’s a law that states that a manufacturer can’t void your warranty unless they can prove the mod caused the failure.

My father install a 20 gallon reserve gas tank his brand new ’73 F100. There was no talk of the reserve tank voiding the warranty. Why should putting in a larger or additional EV battery affect the warranty any different than installing a reserve gas tank?

Depends, but if you influenced the original BMS by installing a additional battery it can be your fault. Also if you add chargers that the batteries might not handle, it is oyur fault. A lot of scenarios possible.

Add a tank of 70l gasoline will only result in a damage if you build the tank 5 meters above the vehicle roof. This is unlikely.

The assumption is that the aftermarket component is design and tested by the manufacturer. That’s major advantage over trying to create the modification yourself. Just like with the reserve gas tank, if a replacement battery is install in accordance with the manufacture’s instructions by a qualified installer there should not be any problems. BTW Xaviier Technologies has listings for CCS and CHAdeMO upgrade kits for the BMW i3s and Mercedes B-class on their website.

Isn’t competition a great thing? =)

I think this posting missed some of the most interesting parts of the original article:

http://www.all-in.de/nachrichten/deutschland_welt/wirtschaft/Krueger-kuendigt-neuen-Elektro-BMW-an;art15813,2104130

“Wir werden neben dem BMW i3 schon bald ein weiteres elektrisches i-Modell auf den Markt bringen” […] Das zusätzliche BMW-i-Modell werde “größer als der BMW i3”.

Meaning: “We will soon bring an additional electric i-model to market” […] The additional model will be “bigger than the BMW i3”

“Der i3 ist weltweit auf Platz drei der Verkaufsrangliste für Elektrofahrzeuge.”

“The i3 is in third place in the global sales ranking of EVs”

“Eine Erhöhung der Reichweite beim i3 wird schon im Jahr 2016 kommen.”

“A range increase for the i3 will come already in the year 2016”

I don’t believe he’s talking about the model year because that isn’t so common in Germany.

Samsung SDI is now producing in China 94 Ah cells for BMW i3.

http://pushevs.com/2015/10/23/samsung-sdi-opens-new-battery-plant-in-china/

Expect the EPA go from 81 miles to 127 miles.