Confirmed: 2017 BMW i3 Gets 50% Range Increase, Arrives In July


BMW UK Send Out This Mailer Today On The Improved 2017 Edition Of The i3 (via Shaun Wooten/BMW i3 FB Discussion Group)

BMW UK Send Out This Mailer Today To Current Owners On The Improved 2017 Edition Of The i3 (via Shaun Wooten/BMW i3 FB Discussion Group)

BMW i3 Gets 50% Range Bump For 2017

BMW i3 Gets 50% Range Bump For 2017

The long anticipated range improvements for the 2017 BMW i3 became not only a confirmed thing today, but BMW also announced that first deliveries would happen in under three months!

BMW UK sent out two special mailers to interested consumers and current owners on the subject today:

“Before the official announcement, we wanted you to be the first to know that, from July, the BMW i3 will be available with a new, higher capacity lithium-ion battery, so you can travel up to 50%* further on one charge.”

BMW also states you can pre-order now to get the new edition of the car in July.

Slightly Different BMW i3 Mailer On Same Subject (via Martin Lee/BMW i3 FB Discussion Group)

Slightly Different BMW i3 Mailer On Same Subject (via Martin Lee/BMW i3 FB Discussion Group)

As a point of reference, here are the “real world”/EPA range specs on the BMW i3 (both the all-electric and with range extending option) that comes equipped with a 22 kWh battery:

  • BMW i3 BEV: 81 miles/130 km
  • BMW i3 Rex: 72 miles/115 km
The New BMW i3 Will Help Boost BMW i Brand's Worldwide Sales Which Have Recently Flattened Out Due To Poor US Demand

The New BMW i3 Will Help Boost BMW i Brand’s Worldwide Sales Which Have Recently Flattened Out Due To Poor US Demand

Assuming a true 50% range increase, the 2017 BMW i3 would have a ~33 kWh battery, and the following ranges:

  • BWW i3 BEV: 120 miles/195 km
  • BMW i3 REx: 108 miles/175 km

Although in reality we suspect given the depth of discharge allowances and range-to-weight profile, the BMW i3 REx might ultimately net a slightly stronger range percentage gain than the BEV which might be a bit less in reality.

Update:  BMW makes it official – says 94 Ah cells are in play – good for a 33 kWh pack, and should give a range of about 114 miles.

As always some further questions still need to be answered.  Is the 22 KWh version to be discontinued?  And how much more with the larger capacity edition cost?   Will the BMW with range extender finally get that larger fuel tank everyone in the US has been dying for?  The moment we have those answers, we will pass them along!

Update (via Shaun Wooten via Steve Holmes): Early inquiries to dealers in the UK suggest the larger battery option costs an additional £1350 ($1,950 USD), which is pretty reasonable – and also includes DC fast charging – which is a £560 ($820 USD) option in the UK (CCS fast charging is standard in US)

The 2017 edition sees the deletion of the “Solar Orange” color option, replaced with “Protonic Blue”

Despite the mailer it suggesting a July deliveries, BMW UK dealer systems are alredy suggesting September would be a more reasonable expectation.

BMW will officially announce the new upgrade (and all further detail particulars) on May 2nd.


Category: BMW


153 responses to "Confirmed: 2017 BMW i3 Gets 50% Range Increase, Arrives In July"
  1. Skryll says:

    The Rex version has shorter electric range because of the additional weight, probably the light weight nature of the fiber based car makes it more sensitive to it than say an e-Golf. If the 33kWh battery weighs more it may impact range also, will be interesting to see how much ? Or maybe it is more than 33kWh to result in 50% range increase.

    1. Dan says:

      I would imagine that with a range of 121 miles, the need for a Rex diminishes for many people out there.

      1. David Murray says:

        I agree. Here in Texas I would not consider the BEV version with 81 miles. That’s less than the 1st generation Leaf. And we have a whopping 2 CCS compatible fast chargers in the DF/W area to my knowledge. The Rex would be the only viable choice.

        However, with 121 Miles of range, I think that would be enough to get by in the city. However, the Rex version would still offer me the capability to make trips to Austin or Houston. So I’d still probably pay the extra to get it.

        1. jim stack 007 says:

          Tesla model 3 with over 200 mile range and Super Chargers all over the USA and less cost. Let me see……..

          1. Jychevyvolt says:

            Not everyone can wait that long. Besides, you want all EV drivers to own tesla?

            1. Joshua Burstyn says:

              Perhaps you are right but the Bolt is cheaper and has longer range than the BMW i3 too.

              1. El Prasito says:

                You may be right, but you can’t deny the lure of the “BMW” cachet: BMW vs Chevy… for a lot of people a no-brainer if the price is right, I’d say. 😉

                1. evcarnut says:

                  Elprasito…”if the price is rite” is….., the magic word! Usually BMW’s are always more money & for no good reason ,only because of their “BS” Slogan & the little Blue/white sticker “the ultimate driving machine”… L 0 L ….the Uninformed take these BS Slogans to heart & really believe them……

                  1. Big Solar says:

                    you got that right evcarnut!

            2. Moshe Calderon says:

              The official declared range is not the most important fact, the after sale service is more important.
              Here in Israel Renault decided it no longer replaces batteries
              that degrade by over 50% in just two years.
              And unfortunately most of the cars here seem to be having this problem
              and that’s probably why they stopped!

          2. Robert Utess says:

            Don`t forget if the model 3 can use the Tesla super charger network they should be able to use the adapter for the Chademo network. Not bad two super charger networks for one car. Lets hope Tesla makes a CCS adapter soon.

        2. WadeTyhon says:

          As a fellow DFW resident, just thought you’d like to know – we currently have 6 CCS chargers in the area.

          One was just completed today another should be done this weekend. According to a quick discussion with Mark C at EvGo (who is very helpful):

          “All of our DFW chargers will be upgraded. Right now we are shooting for the end of June to have all upgrades complete.”

        3. beta995 says:

          If you know your round trip is 100 miles, 120 could be good.
          But, going from town to town, and not knowing the status of charging stations at your destination…

        4. Proton says:

          Sounds like the Volt is the Texas answer. Nice, smooth electric driving most of the time and no range anxiety.

        5. CC Schreiber says:

          EVgo has 6 CCS fast chargers in DFW area according to PlugShare, but you’ll charge most of the time anyway.

      2. evcarnut says:

        I would Suspect that at 121 mile range the need for a BMW i3 would diminish greatly for “most” people out there….Too Little too late . A very poorly put together compliance car…Don’t rag out , 0nly stating the facts..I’ve test driven this & it was Very depressing experience.

        1. franky_b says:

          What part was depressing? Did you took a page from Donald Trump speach (i.e. say something without justification)? LOL

          Seriously, I given close to 200 test drive and most people were happily surprise. And the i3 actually beat those numbre in real life situation.

          1. Tobie says:

            I don’t know what he is on about. I’ve driven every EV on the market, save for the 500e, thee BMW has the best handling dynamics and driving experience of everything I test drove.

          2. evcarnut says:

            In My view,There I see nothing good about this CHEAP looking i3 . Cheap inside & out, the way it drives . The cheap Plastic that it’s engulfed in Etc: It just reminds me of a Cheap Quickly Put together Compliance car you shut the front doors the rear doors Shake & so on , Just pay Attention & “KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR” when you inspect one of these poor excuses of electric cars…That is My Opinion only .But., If U want one “BUY ONE”

            1. franky_b says:

              Oh boy… the i3 has been recognize for it driving dymanics, so you stand alone on this one.

              Looks? Well it could be better, but the look grows on me and I love the small CUV format. The inside is one of the best car I have owned and I get good comments by everyone sitting in it.

              Practical it turns, fits and park anywhere.

              It’s not a car for you… but you are not everyone, that’s for sure…

              But cheap built it isn’t.

              Have a good day little nuts 😛

        2. Vexar says:

          Speaking as a Tesla Model S owner, the BMW i3 was a fun ride. I think the range increase helps it stay competitive against the Nissan Leaf, not to compete with the Tesla Model S. I think where BMW is going to run afoul of competition is the Tesla Model III and the Chevrolet Bolt. In point of fact, in profile, the BMW i3 and Bolt are hard to tell apart anyway. Unless they can hit another 40-50% range increase in 12-18 months, they are going to be sorely behind their competition overpriced, and the least value for dollar.

          1. franky_b says:

            The i3 refresh should happen in 2019 and expect another substential increase.

            More details in Tom’s post


            1. Vexar says:

              Solid! Thanks for relating the two articles. I initially thought it was the same message two different ways. I do hope the refresh includes a less segmented exterior look, however.

            2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

              There are some rumors that ~170 miles version of i3 may come out at the end of 2017. I don’t know if it true.

      3. EVdrive says:

        I went from a 60 mile range 2011 Leaf to a 130 mile range rav4 EV and I am able to do 99% of my driving without the need for charging in route. I’ve driven my rav4 30k miles in 2 years and drove my Leaf 45k miles in 3 years before upgrading to the Rav4.

        Having a 120 mile range EV with fast charging is a game changer compared with the majority of limited range impractical and inconvenient for most people EV’s that are on the market today.

        This is good news. Sub 120 mile EV’s are worthless to me and I have no need for one.

      4. Filip Bjurling says:

        Well it depends what you have the car for. If I would buy a car (i don’t have one) the i3 would me my primary car and that car would not be interesting to buy if I couldn’t go to the family´s summer houses, around 150miles one way. I also quite often got o the mountains a couple of times a year which is 300 miles. And sometimes I go 160 miles round trip in the evening to my parents. If the i3 gets 120 miles and a rex with an additional 250 miles in it, then wow, people could have it as their primary car and drive lots of miles saving crazy amounts of gas money. Rex ftw!

        (I could stay at CCSs along the way but I want to be able to drive at least 2h before charging and the charging slows down at 60% SoC making today´s charging speeds and range in batteries insufficient. Tesla is there already though.

    2. franky_b says:

      Summer time I easily do 140Km, that means with the 2017 I could easily do 200Km (124 miles)

      1. franky_b says:

        Thanks with an i3 REX

    3. Jim_NJ says:

      The i3 Rex currently is listed as 72 electric/150 total miles range. This would imply that the new i3 Rex would be rated at roughly 108 electric/220 total miles range. Haveing 200+ miles fromt he start is much more palatable as an only car for long road trips. And instead of having to stop for gas every hour, you would stop for gas only every 1 1/2 hours.

    4. MrEnergyCzar says:

      So what size gas tank is allowed now while still getting the CA credits? 2.2 gallons? Anyone know the rules?

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        It’s dependent on the MPG in REx mode. If the new i3 REx still gets 39 MPG on gas (and the 108 mile range guesstimate is correct), then the tank would have to be no more than 2.76 gallons.

    5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Skryll said:

      “The Rex version has shorter electric range because of the additional weight…”

      Hmmm, well the extra weight certainly doesn’t help the range, but I’m fairly sure I read the real reason for a shorter electric range on the REx is that it doesn’t allow the battery to be drained as far before starting the gas engine. With the pure BEV i3, the car allows more of the battery’s capacity to be used, allowing the driver to go farther on electric power alone. Too bad BMW didn’t allow the driver to control that.

      Or, to put it another way: The pure i3 BEV and the i3 REx have the same total battery capacity, but the usable capacity of the REx is lower.

      I generally ignore the difference between total battery capacity and usable capacity, because all EV makers hold some of their battery’s capacity in reserve, to avoid wearing out the battery pack prematurely; and the EV maker often doesn’t tell us hoi polloi what the usable capacity actually is. But in the case of the i3, since the usable capacity differs in different versions of the car, the usable capacity is an important number.

      1. Larry says:

        Interesting observation. It always seemed to me the loss of range for the Rex was more than the added weight would suggest.

      2. Samwise says:

        Given the very small size of the engine your probably right, the extra capacity is needed to smooth out the power requirements. If you let it drain right out to the limit then had to drive to the extent of the gas range it would be a pretty horrible experience for most of it. Start the engine with 10% left and you have the reserve there for things like hills or over taking.

      3. franky_b says:

        it’s usable since the REX starts @ 6.5% @ the latest.

    6. Moshe Calderon says:

      The declared range is not the most important fact. The warranty and who stands behind it is the most important.
      Here in Israel, Renault’s authorized dealer has recently declared that they will no longer honor the warrantee on the battery (even though some cars still have 2 years left).

  2. LEAF_n_PiP says:

    It’s a BMW. When you’re paying the price premium you expect to be receiving a premium product. This should have been the range it originally debuted with, and they should be increasing it to a 200 mile range now.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      As a BMW, they should have provided something like an i5 vehicle instead of that weird i3 that is not a BMW at all. But on the battery size starting as they did was not really an error but just what was then available.

      I don’t know if they can still launch the i5 now with a similar system as the i3 but they better hurry then.

  3. Kdawg says:

    Will there be a price increase?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Story has been updated, but fairly reasonable price premium for 50% more range – £1350 ($1,950 USD)…especially considering what Nissan did putting the extra 6 kWh only in the premium SV/SL trims on the LEAF (+6k over base)

      1. Kdawg says:

        Hmmm… So we are going from $42,500 to $46,500 for a car with a 120 mile AER. I’m not sure how this will compete with the Bolt that is $10K less, and has a little less than double the range.

        1. ffbj says:

          That’s true. Not looking good for Bmw there.
          Since the looks are a toss up. Neither is winning any beauty pageant. Have to give the nod to the Bolt.

          1. kdawg says:

            Woops.. my math was a bit off, but the point still remains.

            1. ClarksonCote says:

              The new i3 upgrade on the battery seems laughable. GM introduces the Gen 2 Volt with 40% more range, and a $1,000 price decrease. Meanwhile BMW touts a similar increase but a $1,500 price INCREASE?

              That’s unfortunate.

          2. pjwood1 says:

            Gotta agree. Despite a bigger gas tank, I believe some have reported winter range for either the REx, or BEV, can drop on top of ~50 miles. The new BEV will lose closer to the same miles (than the percentage loss), leaving perhaps ~90 in the winter.

            Volume Bolt production will reap havoc on 60-120 mile battery-only resales. Just my opinion, but from these ranges, more range is the best option you can buy. 200 miles begins to allow over-nights, fewer stops, faster DC charging, or more selective (sometimes even free) charging. Many probably haven’t given this much thought.

            And if the 155mm tires remain, the BMW will not necessarily outmaneuver the Bolt. It’s wonderfully lighter, but perhaps enough that people will prefer the Chevy’s ability to tour / commute.

            Options are nice to have.

            1. Ocean Railroader says:

              GM and Tesla are going to turn this car into dog food due to them unleashing a 200 mile range EV. BMW sure is dumb for jacking the price another $1900 for the same car.

              I don’t picture this car really bugging the Nissan Leaf that much.

          3. zzzzzzzzzz says:

            BMW always had premium over regular econobox cars and it works fine for them even if most buy just econoboxes. Many people would say it is just an overpriced badge but they indeed have some nice features compared to Bolt like adoptive cruise control, different suspension, and some more may be added with this upgrade.

        2. SparkEV says:

          And don’t forget Bolt will be quicker than 7 seconds vs i3 claimed 7.3. I hope that’s only for REx, and BEV could at least compete against Bolt.

          1. jelloslug says:

            The BEV version of the i3 is about 6.3 second 0-60. BMW is very conservative with there performance numbers.

        3. agzand says:

          I think they can charge some premium for the REX version but not that much. BMW has to drop the price significantly to be competitive. I think the Bolt is a very compelling car at that price and the question is how fast GM can produce them.

        4. protomech says:

          BMW charges £560 for “DC Rapid Charge Preparation” for the UK 2016 i3, implies the actual cost for the larger battery is £790.

          SAE CCS is standard for the US 2016 i3; I would expect the US MSRP to go up by ~$1000.

          Even with the range bump, I think it will be a hard sell vs the Bolt later this year.

          1. agzand says:

            I think they should drop the price of the BEV by $5k and the REX by $3k to be competitive.

            1. Larry says:

              Thereby making the premium for the Rex $6400???

        5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Kdawg said:

          “I’m not sure how this will compete with the Bolt that is $10K less, and has a little less than double the range.”

          I think the answer is “not well”, between that and the i3’s rather off-putting body style.

          But I think a more important question is this: How many 2017 i3’s does BMW plan to make? Since (at least according to reports) GM is only gonna make 20-30k Bolts in the first year of production, it’s quite probable that the i3 could outsell the Bolt simply because BMW isn’t making the i3 a limited production car. It seems almost a lead-pipe cinch that demand for the Bolt will far outstrip demand. Is a would-be BEV buyer going to hold out for years for a Tesla Model ≡, or buy an immediately available Leaf or i3? Obviously some will take the latter choices.

          1. theflew says:

            GM hasn’t officially said how many Bolts they are going to produce outside of them saying “will build to demand”. Granted, if the demand is high then they will not be able to meet that demand, but that is a good situation for them to be in. What they have said is they “can” build more than 50k vehicles a year. Does that mean 50,001 or 80k only GM and LG know what the max number is and no one is talking. We know the Orion plant is physically capable of building more cars, so it comes down to the suppliers. Given LG’s parts need to be shipped from Korea you have to imagine they will start shipping parts for build up in the not to distant future and GM will stockpile them for initial builds.

      2. Someone out there says:

        Are we to assume then that their battery cost about $177/kWh ($1950/11) (retail!). Then the whole battery is about $5850! Surely they could afford to squeeze in a proper battery at that price, considering it’s already $10k more than the Nissan LEAF?!

        1. Jay Cole says:

          I don’t think it is case of being able to reverse-math the cost out.

          I think the new upgrade sizing/pricing is a reflection of:

          A) On pricing – BMW is likely realizing battery price reductions over initial launch/MSRP, then adding in the cost of the extra capacity = ~$2,000 (and at the same time, demand recently has been soft, so less MSRP = more sales)

          B) total battery capacity is constrained by the physical limitations of the platform (not pricing), the larger battery uses the new 94Ah Samsung cells, while the original still utilizes the 60Ah (~57% gain), but displaces the same volume

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Jay Cole said:

            “…total battery capacity is constrained by the physical limitations of the platform…”

            Yeah, I was thinking that too. Just glancing at the photo of the 2017 BMW i3 shows they didn’t substantially redesign the body, and I doubt there is enough room in the battery compartment for that big a battery pack.

            For the i3 to double the range (or more than double, to get to 200+ miles), they’d have to redesign the car from the bottom up to fit in a larger battery pack.

  4. SparkEV says:

    0-62 in 7.3? Isn’t it 6.5 for BEV and 7.2 for REx for 0-60 in current form? If 7.3 is for BEV, it seems that’s step backwards.

    1. David Murray says:

      Sounds like it might be a tad heavier than the previous version.

      1. Jay Cole says:


        BMW is always very conservative in their stated performance times…it is part of corporate DNA for some reason. As a rule, 3rd party testing shows significantly better on road results.

    2. Fred says:

      Nono. 7.2 ish for the BEV 7.8 for REX

      1. SparkEV says:

        I remember seeing i3 BEV tested at track at 6.5 sec. I think it was insideevs article. If it’s 7.3, that’s pretty sad for a car at that price. We’re talking SparkEV territory, car that’s about half the price while i3 has 40 more horsepower _and_ lighter by couple of hundred pounds.

      2. philip d says:

        Motor Trend and Car and Driver both got about 6.5 and 7.0 for EV and rex.

      3. jelloslug says:

        I have done 6.3 0-60 several times in my BEV i3 on the BMW performance center test track.

  5. Boukman says:

    Not enough to prevent the onslaught that the Bolt will have on the i3’s sales IMHO.

    1. Dan says:

      The Malibu outsells the 3 series today. Was volume ever in question?

    2. Tom says:

      Plus one

    3. Alex says:

      Where is the carbon fiber from the Bolt or the leight handling? I mean every EV has its own advantages. If you go on an EV meeting talking with Model S drivers, i3, Leaf, Zoe drivers and so on nearly every EV has its fans. Its just like the car market, not only the best cars are sold, many different cars are sold which offers the best value the buyers want.

      1. beta995 says:

        Their competition is the Tesla Model 3.
        Note, the Tesla doesn’t include the federal $7500 in it’s price. You’re getting real value for your dollar.

        Not only should this new range i3 Not get a price increase, it should be reduced in price, by $7500, to preserver BMW marketshare.

        Another issue is the i3 isn’t designed to replace the BMW 3 series, it can barely replace the 1 series. So, not only does BMW need to build an i5, it needs to build an i4, and at better pricing in the US, to preserve marketshare.

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Model 3 is a pie far in the sky, not competition. It may distract some naive people from buying or leasing EV who don’t really need a car right now, but that is all.

          1. vdiv says:

            True, but a used Model S isn’t. How’s that for a distraction pie 😉

            1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

              Used cars are always competition but it would be different league. i3 is more a city car that is not perfect for longer highway driving, at least current version. Model S is wider, longer and not high, and not perfect for going into crowded European city where some streets were designed with horse carriages in mind and it is your problem how you will fit into it with your “American tank” as they call it.

              As with most used cars, used Model S for the same price would likely be some early year version lacking contemporary car features like autobraking, adoptive cruise control and having reliability issues that will be your problem once its warranty expires.

        2. Alex says:

          Thats also wrong, in Europe i3 starts at 34.9k € while Model S starts at 83.7k €!! So Model 3 will start at around 40k € in Europe.
          Its obviuos that i3 is too expensive in US (tax, transport) while in Europe Model 3 will be much to expensive to compete. Only way is like Nissan producing at every continent.

  6. Assaf says:

    Great news.

    I wonder when the mainstream American media will get the memo that the EV world doesn’t consist of only Tesla and a bunch of “golf carts”.

    Nothing against Tesla. I just hate the media’s obsession to dumb everything down to a simplistic, distorted and false narrative that they think is best for their audience’s digestive system and for their own short-term bottom line.

    1. ffbj says:

      Don’t they train them to talk as if they are speaking to a 10 year old?

      1. Nix says:

        “Don’t they train them to talk _like they are_ a 10 year old?”


        1. beta995 says:

          Sadly, both are right.

  7. offib says:

    £1300 ?!! If this were a BMW ICE, and the upper trim engine was £1300 more to option, that would be considered as an unquestionable option!

    Well done BMW! It would be just perfect a year and a half ago, but this is a perfectly comfortable range that the i3 was built for.

    A shame that more than a few owners know that 60kWh-era is just up around the corner.

  8. offib says:

    Oh, and… NOOO!!! Not Solar Orange?!

    1. Anon says:

      Yeah. Blue is boring. 🙁

      1. offib says:

        ikr? Maybe, as a best guess, it’s just to move more i3s if this happens to be the iconic blue on the i8.

        The i8 is technically an advertisement for the i3.

    2. beta995 says:

      Lol. Solar orange. Looked like burnt orange.
      But, if you liked it…
      Someone most have liked it.

      1. offib says:

        No matter how it “looks”, the BMW i3 still appears as brand new. Utterly new. The orange paint just enhances this.

        It’s just!!! Ahh!! I’m speechless going further on this.

        It doesn’t matter if it’s “ugly”, if it’s looks alone still creates opinions, that should justify it. That’s what still makes it look new, how it makes cars age well. Even the Tesla Model S is beginning to show its age a bit. The last time I saw one, I initially disregarded it as another Audi by its DRLs.

  9. David Murray says:

    I suspect this impending news is one of the factors keeping i3 sales low lately. It’ll be interesting to see them back in the 4 digit sales once the longer range version shows up.

  10. Taser54 says:

    The I3 Rex version’s gas tank will now increase to 5 oz.

  11. John says:

    Meh. 200-mile range EVs are just around the corner, so to me this is about as useful as the 2016 Leaf with its slightly longer range. Nice in a way, but not enough to truly move things forward.

    My expectation and hope is that in one or two years 200 miles will be the baseline for all but a small number of heavily discounted EVs. If that doesn’t happen, we’re not making progress.

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      Yes it is a stop-gap response. Both the Leaf and i3 will need next generation designs to get 200 mile range. Even with the more efficient cells, the battery pack needs to be bigger to accommodate that electric range.

    2. Larry says:

      Yeah, it seems to me that the Leaf is the most direct competitor to the BEV i3. Is the BMW marque worth $10,000 (or about 37% more after FIT incentive)? I don’t see BMW dropping the price of the Rex add-on, either.

  12. Fred says:

    The big question is, will BMW allow earlier i3 owners to upgrade? If not, I would realy feel done wrong by them. I paid loads to get a car that’s obsolete after one year!?!?

    Come on BMW, allow us to upgrade, please!
    If not, you are loosing a customer…

    1. Anon says:

      Interesting question… Nissan isn’t, since they ignored backwards compatability with older Leafs. 🙁

      Hopefully BMW isn’t as short-sighted.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Just FWIW: BMW Dealers who can order are stating the changes are too significant/costly, no retrofit package/option will be available.

        1. MTN Ranger says:

          Yes, other than Tesla no one has offered battery upgrades. The Volt and Leaf gone through iterative battery packs that are not compatible with previous versions. It’s a shame.

        2. Alex says:

          I think 30 kWh pack could fit in older, but Nissan want sell cars this year what is understandable, especially if the battery is subsidized.
          But did you find this story:

          Either the dealer talk rubbish or it fits ? I think Nissan will offer 30 kWh pack to all next year when a bigger battery is available, then many would buy new with ~50-60 kWh and some would upgrade their old to 30 kWh.

          1. Jay Cole says:

            Hey Alex, although we are really talking BMW on the retrofit, we did see the original FB pic/thread.

            We probably have to wait on some confirmation though (LEAF spy, Nissan statement) before “front-paging” it. It seems unlikely Nissan has started to do this – and at some random dealer in Texas no less (although the GOM in the picture is certainly extraordinarily high).

            Looking ahead, I think the consensus is (given that we have basically seen the next gen LEAF packs), is that the 30 kWh option will be the base for LEAF 2.0, with the ~60 kWh being the higher trim battery packs.

            It seems logical (based on that assumption) to figure that Nissan would want/need to provide all 2011-2016 battery replacements with the 30 kWh packs at some point down the road (regardless of their prior statements to the contrary).

            That said, the 24 kWh battery is still in production…so it still seems a touch early to open the 30 kWh can of worms. But who knows, weirder things have happened – and it would be great news for current LEAF owners looking to make the swap.

        3. Anon says:

          Wow. That sucks. 🙁

          Mr. Murry is correct. Only Tesla so far, has offered battery upgrades that didn’t force you into buying a new vehicle to go along with it.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Anon said:

        “…Nissan isn’t, since they ignored backwards compatability with older Leafs. 🙁

        “Hopefully BMW isn’t as short-sighted.”

        From the auto maker’s viewpoint, not providing an upgrade for an older car isn’t being “short-sighted” at all. They’re not interested in helping you upgrade your old car; they’re interested in persuading you to think it’s time to buy a new one.

        Mind you, I’m not defending the practice of planned obsolescence. I’m just observing that this is the business strategy that most auto makers use, to separate more buyers from their money.

    2. Aaron says:


      Yep, your car’s depreciation has just taken another hit.

    3. David Murray says:

      I think these arguments are ridiculous. I used to work for AST computer back in the 1990’s and we got similar complaints from people who just bought our flagship product, only to have it rendered obsolete 6 months later. I’d just tell them “What do you expect us to do? Stop innovating just so you’ll feel better?, while our competition takes over?”

      1. sven says:

        Harsh, but true.

      2. pjwood1 says:

        Volt added .5 kwh, at a time. BMW goes to 11 more. That’s 10.5 more, isn’t it?

        Seriously, I’d be bummed, too.

      3. Ocean Railroader says:

        The car is very different from the computer. In that the range is the only thing making the car obsolete. The other things in the car are fine.

        I personally wouldn’t mind if I had a Mitsubishi i-miev. But the horrible low range on it is what makes it useless to me. But if they came out with a 40 to 70 kilowatt battery that I could drop into it then it would be upgraded to the point that it wouldn’t be obsolete.

        In terms of comparing it to a computer it would be like putting in a bigger hard drive.

        1. Mr. M says:

          In trems of work to do its more like upgrading the harddrive and repining the chip.

    4. Someone out there says:

      You paid loads to have a BMW badge at the front of the car.

      1. beta995 says:

        To be fair. Vented disk brakes, sophisticated fully independent suspension. Every reviewer, i3 = fun to drive.

        It’s only competition is the Tesla 3,
        which will also be sophisticated.

      2. jelloslug says:

        Yep, that all you get….

  13. LOL says:

    BMW is not bad, but is not good either. Seeing all this I’m happy Apple didn’t hook up with them. I say it’s better to wait for Tesla M 3, than have 3 such BMWs. When Tesla launches the 4th gen I do hope someone will jump in to give them a hand, I do hope.

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if a 200+ mile i3 V2.0 arrives by the time the Model 3 ships in volume around 2019.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        That will most likely happen. And that is one of the reasons why I’m going to wait to buy a electric car a at least a half a year away.

        1. beta995 says:

          Or, get a 2 year lease on an i3 now, and enjoy it for 2 years.

  14. bro1999 says:

    I wonder if the US-spec ’17 i3 REx will unlock the extra 1/2 gallon of gas the Euro versions had access to…along with hold mode.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      As I recall, CARB’s BEVx category (which BMW lobbied CARB to create specifically for the i3 REx) restricts the gasoline-powered range to 1/2 the electric range, which is why the REx’s gas range is so short. If the electric range is going to be increased by 50%, then hopefully BMW will increase the gas range by the same amount.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Edit: Increase the gas range by the same percentage.

      2. Spider-Dan says:

        It is restricted to less than the electric range.

  15. MDEV says:

    Is dead in the water with the Bolt, sales for i3 will be a disaster

  16. Speculawyer says:

    50% . . . that’s pretty good! Better than Nissan’s improvement.

    It is still going to get slaughtered by the Tesla Model 3 though.

    Chelsea Sexton always hammered BMW for underestimating how much range people wanted. They should have listened to her. She can now say “I told you so!” to them.

  17. Alex says:

    Very good, next is the e-Golf with 36 kWh and first half 2017 Zoe with 44 kW and Leaf bit more. Every EV with more range will boost the market!

  18. Scott says:

    As a commuter car we are very happy with our i3. It is a great city car and you have to admit the materials and design of this car is really fresh and compelling.

    That being said, is this just range envy on BMW’s part? I’m not sure I would want to be on the freeway for extended periods of time in this car. It’s a little harsh and twitchy. I would be much more excited about an i5 with 200 AER.

  19. Alan says:

    It will be the best on the market at the price range until the 200 mile EV’s actually arrive that are reasonably affordable.

    The additional £1,350 is pretty reasonable too IMO especially compared to Nissan, with the BMW build quality you will always have to pay a premium.

    In Europe where we have shorter distances to travel and a good QC infrastructure, I can see this car selling very well indeed in the short term.

  20. Someone out there says:

    That means it just about squeezes by the 30 kWh Nissan LEAF. It’s certainly necessary but not that impressive. The Rex version has about the same range as the 30 kWh LEAF and then you have the extender as well, but on the other hand it costs about $10k more. Is the $10k worth it for the range extender? Not really. I would wait for the Bolt instead or pick up a Volt gen 2 now.

  21. Ct200h says:

    I would bet we don’t see these on dealer lots in the USA til fall/winter
    Right now there are 1,000 2016’s, and 450 new 2015’s sitting on dealer lots that need to go before the 2017’s arrive

  22. Jonathan B says:

    This makes it much more compelling but nothing that is going to cause me to get a refund on my Model 3 deposit. Good luck Nissan on leasing those 30kwh Leafs on your lot.

  23. Daniel says:

    But it is still a Fugly Weird mobile clown car! No Thanks! I know BMW can make compelling designs. Why they choose to handcuff the I3 in a Fugly shell is beyond me.

  24. Ocean Railroader says:

    Currently Buckingham County and Cumberland County VA and Western Powhatan are electric car free zones due to no charging stations. Also everyone in these areas has to commute 50 miles one way to get a half way good paying job. So this $46,000 dollar car might not have capacity to drive from Richmond out to these places that the gas cars can do unless someone could charge at work.

    Tesla doesn’t count towards this due to it being a $80,000 car the laws of affordability physics don’t apply to it.

    1. vdiv says:

      Not to be a pest, but many people live in those counties? Even if all of them decided to get an EV tomorrow (they should btw) that market is still rather small to be targeted. The i3 is a metropolitan car and a lot of people live in or nearby cities.

  25. Vik says:

    Anybody else hear about the 200 mile EV ford is working on I just read an article on Motor Trend, usually its insideevs that breaks news like this, and I commented on the article that said ford was only going to make a 100 mile EV saying that wasn’t entirely accurate, since I’ve talked with a guy that works at ford electrified drivetrain who hinted at a 200 mile EV

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Yes, it is an odd one…as it is the once again Fields (the CEO) making a slightly new/different statement. It was Fields who basically just said the 100 miler was fine and we would have to wait on a 200 miler from Ford a few days ago.

      We are working on trying to get some background/specifics on the apparent change of mind, as the new statement is quite honestly as equally obtuse on specifics as the first one.

      In the meantime if anyone is interested, this is the recent full quote/content from Fields on the conference call about a long range EV:

      “We want to make sure that we’re either among the leaders or in a leadership position. When you look at some of the competitors and what they’ve announced, clearly that’s something we’re developing for.”

      So our IEV decoder ring is screaming “nothing has changed” – just the official corporate terminology/stance, and that any long range Ford is still a fair distance away in relation to its peers.

      1. Vik says:

        I find it really unusual considering the proximity of the two statements with the executive stance changing from a 100 miles to 200 miles for EVs. Maybe the engineers at Ford had a breakthrough or just somehow persuaded the CEO. At least this isn’t too crazy I’m still waiting for FCA to shift their position and claim they loved EVs the whole time.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Just purely on personal speculation here (not speaking at all for the site):

          It feels like CEO Fields from last week was just selling the current product – the Focus Electric (as one is want to do)…and in so doing, marginalized Ford’s future product so consumers/media would focus on what is actually available.

          While the comment was no doubt delivered as intended, the volume of media response/attention to it (and how Ford’s commitment to future EV tech was interpreted) was not anticipated – we could call this the Model 3 media effect. So now we have a little bit of Field’s trying to reset the playing field, saying “whoa, wait a sec, we are still working on a long range EV of our own” /imo

          1. ffbj says:

            Yeah, it’s all a bit murky, though it’s being reported as a confirmation that they are working on it, a 200 mile ev, which means nothing really.
            Sorry about the e-mails, never-mind.

          2. ffbj says:

            Update: Told ya so. Nah nah nah nah nah nah.

            1. Nix says:


              always hard to work a comment like that into conversation….

  26. Nix says:

    I have 2 completely opposite reactions to the longer range i3 BEV vs. the i3 REX:

    i3 BEV: Too little, too late, too much money. 120-125 miles of range for those dollars won’t be competitive by the end of 2016 when we might see it here in the US. They need to go bigger, or watch their sales tumble.

    i3 REX: Hopefully this will finally un-neuter the REX, and make it what it should have been in the first place. The longer battery range should trigger a waterfall of additional changes. They should now be able to use the full gas tank, and have the REX come on with more charge still left in the battery. This should solve the gas range and lack of power problems without having to hack your brand new car. This upgrade should make the i3 REX what it should have always been in the US. And since it is a one-of-a-kind drivetrain, it has a great chance of success, with 200+ miles of combined gas/EV range, and unlimited gas-only range after that.

  27. Brandon says:

    If this can be believed, the LEAF will be ~130 mi range next year. Next gen probably 200 mi range, but base could be 130 mi.

    1. Alex says:

      I think thats to less. Just look this battery lecture from Renault-Nissan. The double range (double to 2013 Leaf) for Leaf and Zoe to 400 km NEFZ or 160 miles Epa comes first half 2017, at least 40 kWh net for Zoe, more for Leaf.

      And than later in 2017 the new generation Leaf with 60 kWh and over 220 miles Epa.

  28. Just_Chris says:

    It would be great to see the new batteries in the rest of the BMW range. If you have a sub 30 mile phev every extra electric mile counts big. I’d love to see these new cells in the i8, 330e and X5e.

  29. Mark says:

    exciting times! i3 kick’s off a sensible range at a decent price, few months later Bolt, then Leaf 2.0. This time, next year will have many options and I anticipate a significant uptick in EV sales.

  30. alohart says:

    BMW isn’t a manufacturer of cars for the masses as is Chevrolet. It will be interesting to compare the Bolt to the i3. Some of us don’t need more range than the current i3 offers, so greater range isn’t a priority. The i3’s more sophisticated suspension, much lighter weight, likely nicer interior, rear wheel drive handling without torque steer, etc., make some of us lean toward an i3 over what we think a Bolt will be like despite the i3’s higher price. A Model 3 is just too big and heavy, not a form factor that I want, and not available for at least a couple of years. So I don’t think that the i3 is doomed at all.

    1. evnow says:

      That is true. There will definitely be people preferring i3 over Bolt – just that the numbers will be in dozens rather than thousands per month.

  31. Peder says:

    In May of 2014 the BMW i3 is released with 81 miles range (EPA) In May of 2016 the i3 is refreshed to 120 miles range (est.)

    In May of 2018, I think it’s fair to say the i3 will have another 30% to 50% range increase taking it to 180 miles.

    It’s around that time, middle of 2018 that the Tesla model three will begin rolling out of the factory in quantity. So its not fair to compare the current upgrade of the i3 at 120 miles out in a few months to the 200 miles of the Model three out in a few years.

    Wish them all well, and as I’ve always said, what an awesome EV world if we can have friendly rivalries as epic as Ford and Chevy.

    1. vdiv says:

      People need to get comfortable with the real range extender, the public DC fast charging station. Without it no extra battery range will ever be enough.

      As far as Ford/Chevy having a friendly EV competition, excuse me if I go sit in the corner and cry for a bit…

  32. James says:

    As much as I love the Model 3, 120-130 miles is the perfect range for a city car. This is a good move by BMW and will completely erase range anxiety for the vast majority of commuters.

  33. FiatSparkLeasee-M3Reserved says:

    Fiat with 100 miles. 20-30 isn’t enough to remove range anxiety for the masses (or even dedicated BMW drivers). 150+ really needed for most commuters and 200 is a safe weekend range IMHO.

    Bolt will really see good results for the masses if GM doesn’t find a way to muck it up.

    Would love to see if BMW can up the ante a little to push M3-Hatchback.

  34. Rick Bronson says:

    This is very nice to hear from BMW. Hope they will increase the price only as much as today’s battery price. Certainly the i3 has a good potential to sell with this increased range.

    I think Nissan increased by $350 / KWh in mid-level trim and by $250 / KWh in high-level trim and this made the vehicle more expensive.

    When Bolt with 200 mile range goes on sale, Leaf will certainly go down.

    BMW i3 can stand up with 120 mile range and a decent pricing.

  35. Kosee says:

    The i3 rex: the only car that can compete with the model 3. Why? A roadtrip is a trip without worries. Gas stations are everywhere. And you can quick charge when available. With a longer electric range this car is smart in a lot of ways. BMW and the volt are the only electric vehicles that solve the pack of infrastructure problem while still selling an electric vehicle.

    The volts range however is too low, the weird bump in the middle makes it look compromised and it’s not really a luxury vehicle.

    The i3 rex doesn’t have any of these issues.

    The bolt doesn’t have a charging network and is just going to flop against the model 3 because of that.

    The i3 rex has a distinctive appearance, and drivers don’t need to worry so much or plan too far ahead. BMW may have the only car available that can cause tesla trouble.

    1. Spider-Dan says:

      The i3 REx doesn’t have to worry about a “weird bump” in the middle of the back seat because it is only a 4-seater. You can seat 4 in the Volt and avoid the “weird bump” altogether.

      Additionally, the i3 REx is disturbingly underpowered when running on gas and having to refill your tank every 60 miles is absurd.

  36. wavelet says:

    I’m curious how the market will play out for this. Not familiar with BMW cars, but very much familiar with their motorcycles. Most of their sales were already to people committed to the brand, who were willing to shell out 30% more for the same features/performance.

    Once there are 3-4 200mi compact-size BEVs on the market (GM, Nissan & VW, all of whom I expect to make it to volume production before Tesla), I wonder many people will be willing to pay siginficantly more for a 120mi i3… I suspect not many.

    1. jelloslug says:

      Something like 80% of the current i3 owners are new to the brand.

      1. wavelet says:

        Sure, when there were just a handful of compact-size BEVs on the market (and only a few were EV-specific platforms like the i3).

        But will this continue when there are 10 110-120mi compact BEVs available, most cheaper by far, and several 200mi BEVs that are much cheaper than a 120mi i3?

  37. leafowner says:

    A move in the right direction. Now they need to decide if they really want to compete with their pricing….This may help them a bit in 2016/7 but they need to hit the new 200 mile standard if they really want to be a player.

  38. Chris says:

    I tend to agree with some of the recent comments in the thread. The BMW i3 Rex is suddenly a lot more relevant and it is THIS variant (not the BMW i3 BEV) that will be competitive.

    Sure the Bolt will have more total battery range, but given the scarcity of CCS charging and slower charging speed (sompared to Superchargers), it ends up being an in town/suburban car with no range issues in that environment.

    The i3 Rex actually ends up more useful in terms of range than even the CURRENT Teslas for much of the country. Now, having said all that, the i3 has some goofy design choices that actually start to unwind the i3 Rex’s advantage. It has a short wheelbase, choppy and darty freeway ride, and rear cargo space with the rear seats up is pretty mediocre. Add in the suicide doors (cool to look at and crappy in real life use) and the unknowns with regard to gas tank size and well, the story becomes a lot less compelling (esp for out of town travel).

    Honestly, these arguments always come back to the dang Chevy Volt as a ridiculously good option for most people!

    1. Kosee says:

      Yeah I disregarded the volt before because it’s not exactly a sales cannon. But it’s a good option for families with less then 3 kids.