BMW To Improve i3 Drivetrain Efficiency For Slight Bump In Range

NOV 25 2015 BY MARK KANE 36

BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW CEO Harald Krüger announced that the i3 will get more range in 2016 (for Model Year 2017 BMW i3s, not this current year -2016s as has been reported elsewhere), but without providing any details it was just a matter of time before various news outlets would attempt to reveal the unofficial improvements that would lead to increased range.

Let’s back track a bit to Krüger’s quote:

“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.”

Limited Run BMW i3 "Shadow Sport" On Display At The LA Auto Show (InsideEVs/Warren M)

Limited Run BMW i3 “Shadow Sport” On Display Live At The LA Auto Show (InsideEVs/Warren M)

According to Autocar, the 2017 BMW i3 will be able to go 124 miles (200 km) under an undisclosed test cycle on a single charge thanks to a new battery with the same capacity of 22 kWh (18.7 kWh usable).

Make sense, right? Same capacity, but somehow range increases rather substantially…

Well, assuming Autocar is using the NEDC cycle, then the improvement is actually very small (currently, the i3 is rated at 190 km NEDC and 81 miles/130 km EPA). So, a 10 km increase then?

The other part of the news is on improving drivetrain efficiency (probably somewhat similar to the improvements made recently to the Renault ZOE), so we believe that the small gain in range under NEDC could be a result of those improvements (or then again,  perhaps BMW will slightly increase the state of charge window of the new pack) plus increased energy density (resulting in a lighter weight pack), and that’s all we should expect to see in late 2016 when the 2017 model year appears.

Source: Autocar

Categories: BMW

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

36 Comments on "BMW To Improve i3 Drivetrain Efficiency For Slight Bump In Range"

newest oldest most voted

Just put a 40KWh pack in this thing and I will put my foot in my mouth and buy my first German car!

U’ll Beeeeeeeee…….. Sorrrrrrrrryyyy…….

I know, I meant to say I’ll lease my first german car.


A 22KWh battery belongs in a flashlight, not an EV. At least BMW is finally talking about a bigger battery. They had better hurry it up, because the Bolt is coming next year.

“Well, assuming Autocar is using the NEDC cycle, then the improvement is actually very small”
Probably just a press release to stay relevant, with new Leaf & Bolt on the way with much longer ranges.

My best guess is:

The reason for a lighter battery of same
capacity increasing range substantially more than in a Classic e-golf chassis is the complete new light weight design of the carbon fiber chassis. Safety and balance implications will be interesting…

I3 weight is 2800 lbs in its lightest configuration
Vw e-golf 3090 lbs so that’s a 10% difference only. I expected more somehow 🙂

I saw a google hit, for the 3090 value, but think that’s highly suspect. Edmunds shows ~3400lbs:

Given that most VW’s are right around 3200-3300, it is pretty hard to envision a 700lb battery going into a net-lighter car.

Sure is a HEAVY Golf Cart.. Take the leaf any day of the week, for any & All Reasons Anybody can think 0f..

legroom/comfortable seats

Acceleration handling range second row seats cargo space and looks – taking the e-golf over leaf any day 🙂

Now with the 30kW leaf the range advantage may be no longer true but I yet have to drive one – last time I tried the dealer said it won’t be for a long time until they can show me one as they sell so fast

Well, let’s just think about it. Weight is everything to BMW and they claim for +4kWh with the same weight. Excluding powertrain improvements, how much more range will 4kWh get you in an i3.

It’s the most frugal out there, it should be a nice improvement.

What they really need is more powerful range extender to operate like Volt. They already have lots of options to borrow from BMW Motocycles.

I wouldn’t want to taint my car with a gas component honestly.

Not everyone’s use case is suitable to today’s BEVs.

Everyone on this site should think of PHEVs as the gateway drug to pure electric driving!!

Actually, you have that reversed: PHEVs are a hydrocarbon fuel gateway.

There are a couple studies that show fossil fuel use actually increases with these vehicles.

Buy a real BEV that will not trick you into burning oil. Vote with your dollars for cleaner drivetrains, pressure the automotive industry to innovate and compete in the EV space. Skip the psychological crutch stage that just makes Big Oil, dictators and terrorists money, and ruins this planet.

Volt ===> Tesla
Volt ===> Humvee

You decide what’s happening.


Please quote said studies:
“studies that show fossil fuel use actually increases with these vehicles”

You’re smoking something.
I own a Volt, and drive several thousand miles between filling up. The only time I burn gas is on road trips…if I had a pure BEV, I’d have to rent a car for said road trips….so I’d still be burning gas.

The exception would be companies that bought Volts for company cars, to get the rebate.
Most provided a gas card, but not any way to charge. Naturally, those Volts just became hybrids with big batteries. But better a hybrid than a pure ICE! Still less fuel being used.

“There are a couple studies that show fossil fuel use actually increases with these vehicles.”

What studies?

Studies by Anon and his Volt hater friends? LOL.

Actually volt drivers drive nearly as many electric miles and leaf owners.

Indeed. It is easy for me to go electric here in California with nice incentive programs, moderate temps, and a wide variety of BEV selections.

But for my relatives in Minnesota? Not much selection, cold temps kill range in winter, etc. So I suggest the Volt for them. But many want 4WD or at least AWD. And they want more room for carrying kids & equipment.

Yeah it is one advantage, poor performance in extremely cold weather, that ice have over ev. So the Volt makes more sense in certain climates.

You wanted to say “spoil your car with it” 😉

They should forget about their motorcycles and borrow from a Zero Motorcycle!

They don’t need more powerfull range extender. If they would use the current one at full power on uphill, it would be quite adequate for the job.

IEV: ” with the same capacity of 22 kWh (18.7 kWh usable).”

But are we sure they mean 22kwh, and not the same volume as 22kwh, but with higher wh/kg? I get a little lost, when signals get crossed between volumes and mass. We know the Germans seem pretty intent upon getting more kwh from less. It sets up not having to ground-up design any PHEVs.

There is still this gulf between BMW’s gimped i-series cars, and conventional ones with batteries that are too small. You get below 15-20kwh, or electric motor power of <80-100kw, and you haven't hit the minimum of all-electric performance, not even for daily use. These facts won't change with the intro of the next 7-11kwh PHEV.

The BEV version is certainly going to need a decent range increase to stay relevant with the 107 mile Leaf and the upcoming Bolt, 2nd Gen Leaf, and Tesla Model III. But it doesn’t need a huge amount… just enough bump to get it well into the 3 digits…

The Nissan Leaf had the HP and torque reduced between MY2012 and MY2013 which resulted in an increase in range (along with other improvements). Could they be slightly tweaking the drivetrain dynamics to increase range very slightly?

Click on my name for a Telsa discount.

Remember folks, everything we read now is speculation. BMW hasn’t commented on what or how the 2017 will have increased range.

I’m sure there will be a lot more speculation before BMW actually announces what will be, but don’t expect that until late spring because they won’t want to totally kill the sales of the remaining 2016 models. (BTW 2016 production is a short year and ends in June to start production on the 2017 i3 with the alleged increased range)

I confused 190Km = 81M my arithmetic says 190km = 118M
200km =124km
What is the NEDC

Think perhaps you are getting confused by the two ratings systems…or at least by us/Mark in explaining it clearly enough, (=

Todays i3 is rated at 190km (118 miles) in Europe (by NEDC system) and 130 km (81 miles) in the US (by the EPA).

The confusion arises from the quote from Autocar when talking about the improved system/light battery of 200 km (124 miles) without referencing it to a specific system.

Autocar is Euro based, and given the specs/change talked about, it really has to be NEDC…or a small improvement. This is report is being repeated quite a bit in the wider media in context of an upgrade from the US 130k/81 mile – in other words “big gains”, which we feel is logically not the case.

Sweet news. Hope with the increased range, BMW i3 will sell more.

So by 2017, there should be many cars in 100 + mile range. This is more than evolutionary development.

So 190 km > 200 km = 5.26% increase.

5.26% increase to 81 mi > 85.26 mi!

This is a completely under rated aspect of EVs. They can be upgrades with newer and better/cheaper batteries and kept in service this way for much longer then exploding ICE dinosaurs.