New 2017 BMW i3 33 kWh Preview Video, Range To Double Again In 5 Years


AUG 30 2016 BY MARK KANE 65

The new 2017 BMW i3 with a 33 kWh battery (94 Ah), good for an expanded 114 miles (183 km) of real word/EPA range is just now hitting the market.

BMW i3 (wallpaper 4K UHD 3840 x 2500+)

BMW i3 (wallpaper 4K UHD 3840 x 2500+)

But the latest increase of battery capacity (from 22 kWh and 81 miles / 130 km range) is for sure not the last word from BMW on the subject.

According to BMW representative Heinrich Schwackhöfer (from the 1:00 mark), in the near future (“five years” is cited) the range of the BM3 i3 is expected to double, which would translate to roughly 228 miles / 366 km.

BMW representatives also said that a battery renting scheme, separate from vehicle ownership (practiced by Renault, Nissan and smart today on some of their EV offerings) was considered, but was deemed not a good fit, and in the end will not be employed.

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65 Comments on "New 2017 BMW i3 33 kWh Preview Video, Range To Double Again In 5 Years"

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I am an i3 22Kwh owner. I would love to keep my car as long as possible. I think for me, the big question is : Will BMW allow another battery upgrade, like they have now? Being a Rex Version, a doubling of the current 22Kwh to 44Kwh would cover all my range requirements. That would give 100mi pure electric in the winter and 150mi in summer at highway speeds. The range extender would fill in the gaps. The thing is, once about 180 miles is realised, the car is fine. I believe “range anxiety” to be a misnomer. If anything, the only anxiety I ever experienced is “charger anxiety”. BMW needs to work on infrastructure!

BMW have refused to allow me to upgrade my REx due to “type approval” issues. They are upgrading local BEVs for around €7000.

I’m not happy about it. The 34kWh would allow me to do my new commute without charging in the middle, which would be nice.

They also quoted me for a new 34kWh BEV, but valued my existing REx for trade-in at 30% of what I paid them 18 months ago, €18k less than I could get on the open market.

Which country do you live and may I know the mileage of your i3 ReX?

66Kwh… hope Nissan takes note

Nissan will have 60kWh in the Leaf long before 2022.

By the end of 2018 there will be the 200+ mile Bolt, Leaf and Model 3. All will have a base price of less than $40,000. Also we know that 2 of these will have about the same performance level as the i3.

I wonder how many i3s will sell between the end of 2018 and 2021 with a base price starting in the mid $40Ks with about half the range and the same performance as the others?

We currently are leasing an i3 and love it but we won’t be getting another one. 3 years of being behind that many other automakers in the EV game will kill the i3.

So at this rate we should expect a range of 456 miles in 10 years and 912 miles in 15 years. I’m liking where this is going! By the time I retire, my self driving electric car will only need to be charged once a year!

I sure hope not. 200 miles is just about the sweet-spot for most people, and 500 miles is just about as far as anyone should ever attempt to go in one day.

Dragging around the capacity to go a thousand miles would be wasteful 100% of the time, since you never actually need that much range.

Dramatically higher density and lower prices should however lead to smaller, lighter, cheaper battery packs – and thus more agile, fun, efficient and cheap EVs.

If the grudgery of plugging in is what gets to you, wireless charging has you covered.

Yea, the sweet spot is likely somewhere between 200 and 500 miles for homeowners who can charge at home each night.

But there are 2 other factors that will come into play.

1) Apartment dwellers. One solution for them is very high speed charging, that can fill a battery with a few weeks worth of charge so they don’t have to charge at home or at work. Bigger battery packs with more cells allow for faster charging. So big battery packs will be a natural part of increasingly faster charging that drivers will demand.

2) The eternal demand for “More” from US consumers. If there is one thing that US consumers want more than anything else, it is “More”. More is better, it doesn’t matter what you are talking about. If it comes in “More”, US consumers want it.

More soda? yes please.

More range? We’ll take two.

More skinny? Sure!

So whether we need it or not, there will always be a car maker that will offer more battery, and there will always be buyers who will choose more.

So, in 5 years BMW expects their 2022 EVs to have the range of the 2017 Bolt?
Talk about underachieving…

No. Because the volume occupied will be less. BMW (and Ford) are not in the 200-mi EV race. Not sure what Ford’s reasoning is, but BMW said they will not sacrifice weight/performance to get a 200 mi EV out to market.

I agree since I like to track cars.. and I mean a real track, not drag strips pedal mashing that Tesla people like to do (yawn). Based on current tech, batteries are just dead weight.

Let’s not forget about the environmental impact of manufacturering. I shake my head and roll my eyes at all these “green” people leasing EVs for 2 years. These people are contributing more GHGs by jumping from EV to EV than if they had used a gas vehicle.

Where do you think those used EV’s coming off lease go? They’re now available for less to those who can’t afford to be first adopters. Compared to those that lease an ICE and buy another ICE …

Also, most of us EV drivers don’t give a flying rats ass about either 0-60 or track performance. We just want to get to our destination in relative comfort and quiet.

“We just want to get to our destination in relative comfort and quiet.”

That is certainly true for me. But there is one other factor that is even more important for me. I am cheap. I can drive for 2.2 cents per mile in “fuel” costs.

Yeah righ the i3 a track performance car.

Yeah right the i3 a track performance car.

How on earth does leasing a car increase GHG emissions, regardless of the length of the lease? Do you believe that leased cars go to the graveyard when the lease expires?

I don’t know how old you are but I’ve heard so many excuses and lies from BMW that I won’t trust anything they say. I remember the “we will never turbocharge an engine”, “there will never be a turbo M vehicle”, “we will never have an M SUV”, “there will never be an M with AWD” and now, “we will never be in the 200 mile range race”… Let me be one calling BS on that too…

HAHA so true

5 years to compete with a Chevy due in 4 months.

What happened to your i-program, BMW?!

It is now known as the ¡Ay! program 😉

There should be also noted that technology for ~60kWh battery in the actual BMW i3 battery box is available since 2012.

This is faster than battery technology is progressing, and with BMW broadcasting it they may as well ask people not to buy the i3. Sort of like a self-inflicted Osborne effect.

I wonder what, or for that matter why, lease residuals shouldn’t be hit by news such as this?

I think saying something is 5 years out is far enough away to not stop people from buying today.. I’ll probably have gone through my current vehicle and another one by that point.

I love that blue color… I looked on BMW’s website the other day and didn’t see that color offered!

It’s not electric blue – someone else already did that – but rather “protonic blue”. I guess BMWs innovativeness doesn’t extend to the marketing department.

That blue is supposedly coming with the 2017’s, and is supposed to be on the way to stores right now.

Next year or early 2018 the i3 will get the 120 Ah cells from Samsung SDI for a 43,2 kWh battery and a 160 miles EPA range.

The new 120 Ah cells should be introduced with the opening of the new European cell factory.

Samsung SDI’s new LiIon battery factory announced yesterday in Hungary :

Turns out this will likely be one year later, since production at Samsung’s (future) Hungarian site is expected to make the awaited 120 Ah cells for the European car market (BMW that is) in the second half of 2018 only.

Maybe they will upgrade it incrementally. Otherwise, sales will drop 1-2 years before.

Agreed! I think they will have to in order to keep pace with other manufacturers.

The obvious risk of these large upgrades is the resale value of the vehicle for current owners. If they jumped straight to making the range twice the current model, resale for the used vehicles would be pretty much killed too. Probably wouldn’t make a lot of friends.

If you keep that vehicle for 3-4 years and BMW openly says a double upgrade is coming, might be pretty hard to sell that car.

I like how Tesla does smaller upgrades. Buy the new one if you really want, but your existing model retains value too.

I would have thought that, BMW being in the Premium segment, they would not be laggards.

They have just marginally passed Nissan in EPA estimated range, using a larger battery than the Leaf while bragging about being the most efficient EV out there. That just doen’s add up to me.

Good point. If we add 10% to Nissan’s 107 miles, we’re at 117.7 miles – slightly surpassing the BMWs 114. Considering that the LEAF would be slightly heavier, let’s say it’s a draw.

The Hyundai Ioniq posted a hugely impressive average consumption when tested by the Norwegian EV association of 102 Wh/km. That is well below both of the above. Which just adds to the frustration really – it looks like Hyundai could have had a real winner on their hands, but chose to equip it with such a previous-generation battery that isn’t even a contender.

They have the physical space for a bigger battery in the Ioniq. They are building the Ioniq against a price not to maximize range. It’s been hinted that if they see the demand and cell prices drop, Hyundai could double the battery capacity in the Ioniq at the drop of a hat.

The electric version of the IONIQ is priced very high in order to sell the hybrid one.

The big challenge for the i3 is to see how sales will be with the Bolt on the market, I think they are dead on the water

Gosh, in five years BMW will finally have a BEV with a 60+ kWh battery pack. Be still my beating heart. /snark

Apparently BMW has absolutely no intention of competing with BEVs from Tesla or GM, and likely not Nissan either.


But in 5 years, it will be behind other companies again…

I guess BMW want to be a close follower rather than being a leader.

No, they will already be behind in 4 months!

They will be behind in one month!

Mondial de l’automobile kicks off in Paris on October 1st and here the new LEAF and ZOE will be revealed. And both give the BMW a good kick in the butt – at a significantly lower price to boot.

Not sure when they’ll be on sale, but before the end of this year the BMW will have not just the Bolt, but several other cars head and shoulders above it.

I think BMW and VW will have to upgrade again during 2017 – or cut price significantly.

So the current i3 is the Penultimate Driving EV?

BMW should make an extended wheelbase i3, call it i4 or whatever, and add one row of cells for a 40+ kwh battery. About 150 mile range and much bigger interior room. The combination of range/badge/size/driving dynamics makes it more competitive.


And add a real/regular back door!

Actually I do prioritize the fun to drive aspect of an electric vehicle. The way Telsas have been marketed, we know plenty of people are interested in acceleration also. So sure the current LEAF and upcoming Ionic both go over 100 miles in range with their relatively big batteries. But there is a huge difference in acceleration between them and the i3. The LEAF and the Ionic are both 9-10 second 0-60 mph cars. Same with most of the other cars such as the 500e, EGolf, etc. They are in the 8-9 second range. My i3 on the other hand consistently gets to 60mph in less than 6.5 seconds, with a very soft launch. If there wasn’t such a soft ramp-up built into the motor controller, the i3 would easily run in the 5 second range. I have personally seen many instances in which my car will accelerate evenly with 5-6 second ICE vehicles from a 10mph roll. So the i3 is much quicker than BMW’s conservative numbers indicate. This is why Car and Driver also tested the i3 at 6.5 seconds 0-60. All in an EV that is among the most efficient offerings available. So just shoving in a… Read more »

Of course the efficiency hit is modest and a larger battery can charge faster (per mile which is what matters).

The real efficiency hit for the Model S is wide tires (compared to the i3). BMW usually doesn’t mind wide tires for a reason.

So I’ll always give credo to the i3 for being efficient but I’ll never buy one. Efficiency is super important – but solar makes it less so.

I wouldn’t mind a S with a slightly smaller LRR tire but not an i3 tire.

I rarely experience 0-60 in my Leaf, so that number is just an intellectual curiosity.

But I experience 0-20 all the time, starting from traffic lights, and the Leaf leaves every smoker in its ion trail there. Not that the Leaf is unique among EVs in that regard – it would be hard NOT to out-accelerate a smoker in an EV in the first few seconds from a standing start.

Yet that always surprises first-time EV passengers – they just expect the Leaf (or any non-Tesla EV) to be sluggish. Surprise!

It’s a learning process with all new tech.

But the bigger heavier Bolt will have a 0-60 of 7 seconds or less. And the Model 3 is supposed to have a 0-60 of 6 seconds with its 55-60 kWh pack. In fact the reason BMW used the CFRP cell in the first place was to shed weight so the small discharge rate of the small battery would still be enough to get the 0-60 down into the mid 6s. This had a slight premium cost but separated them from the more affordable non-Tesla EV pack in terms of performance. But now the more affordable EV pack is more or less matching this performance with less cost. With a larger capacity battery like the Model 3 the discharge rate will be higher allowing for a more powerful motor and even though it will be heavier it will accelerate quicker with more hp to overcome its extra weight. In fact the Model 3 won’t even use aluminum for the main chassis to be able to get the cost down to $35,000 while still having good acceleration. The cost trade-off is cheaper steel for more battery which equals more power. In this case the power gain overcomes the weight gain. Of… Read more »

Can’t wait for the REX version with a 50cc engine from a Chinese scooter and a thimble for a gas tank! It won’t be able to pull the car up a driveway but it will all be in the name of saving weight…

As it is..the 2017 i3 will probably do close to 200 miles of combined range. (EV+Rex). And if you had to do 270 miles, with a quick fill up, the i3 might just easily do that with less downtI’m than the Bolt. The Bolt on the other hand would take longer to charge to get that extra mileage compared to a 2.4 gallon fill up. That is IF the Bolt has a convenient level 3 charger that just happens to be there. Good chance if will not. Level 2 would be intolerable on a quick 270 mile trip. So the point I’m making is that a i3 might be the better car than a Bolt on a 270 mile trip, and better on a 100 mile trip (more efficient, quicker to fully charge, RWD, more nimble, and not pig heavy). Yes, better on the 100 mile trip which would suffice for 98% of our driving needs, and even better for some 270 mile long trips too. So as far as practicality, the current i3 might even be a better choice for some than the not yet available Bolt or Model 3. Food for thought for those that think you have… Read more »

And more friendly to environment as its battery manufacturing will trash Earth less, and lower weight will mean less PM pollution from tire wear. BMW went to the right direction with i3 as far as environment is concerned, even if other BMW cars do not shine in this aspect. 2,799 to 3,234 lbs curb weight makes difference over 4,608 to 4,936 lbs as in some other battery cars in production.

Oh yes, using gas on long trips instead of electricity make a boatload of sense…/s

Love my i3 Rex and have a Chevy Spark EV. I lease cause I know there is going to be a larger battery range in the future. Once that range is big enough I will buy. Don’t be a lease hater. If you get a good deal who give a flying F

An 8 minute EV video and no windmills?!


F4!l, right?!

If you listenen to BMW and the other legacy car makers than 2021 is the end of the ICE area…

I have a 33 KW i3 and managed to drive from Bournemouth to Harpenden (119 miles) using less than 3/4 battery. Sadly the tailwind became a headwind on the return journey and I wasn’t able to fully charge before leaving so I had to run the REX and use 1/4 tank of petrol. Still very impressed though.

So you used barely over 1/2 gallon, that is very impressive. And this was a 240 mile trip? If so, it looks like that trip was done with no more inconvenience than a Bolt or Model 3. Because if you didn’t have time to fully charge, and you still would have had to charge with the Bolt or Model 3 (or any other 200 mile BEV). The gas engine would have easily made up the difference with NO range anxiety. In fact, if you did the first 119 miles on only 3/4 battery, good chance you could might have made it back on the remaining 25% and full gas tank. Or at the most, a 3 minute stop for gas. And I reiterate, even if you had a 200 mile BEV, a charging station,(or unoccupied one), may not have been available to complete your particular route without major interruption.
I think as we hear more and more owner experiences with the 33kWh i3, people are going to realize this is more than sufficient with a small rex generator.

There is nothing wrong with the rex concept. The i3 could easily offer equal utility to any current vehicle and use almost no gas. Then as batteries drop in price they would use one third as many as their competitors. Too bad they made it look like a clown car and made the tank ridiculously small so it can’t offer equal utility.

They aren’t alone in hamstringing their plug-in products. GM gave the Volt poor visibility, 4 seats and no rear legroom or headroom while Nissan made the Leaf look dorky and gave it severely limited range.

Totally agree. Hard to find a reasonable EV right now. We are progressing on some points and lots of PHEVs but too small Volt and i3 cost/value and styling. We have an S and a Leaf. The wife is getting frustrated with the Leaf for range and a bit of size issues. But the replacement options are limited.

I’d only feel right with a 30 mile PHEV for her and even that is really really limited choices (if any).

“The i3 could easily offer equal utility to any current vehicle and use almost no gas. ”
You can’t just make a car bigger and expect it to retain the same aerodynamic drag, weight, and have the same fuel economy. It is request for flying carpet.

The same is for Volt, it needs space for heavy and big batteries and so 5th seat must go, just like in Prius Prime.
If you want big and conventionally looking battery car just get Model S or X. Of course it would also mean that this waste of resources would have corresponding price tag, and little sense as far as overall reduction of environment trashing is concerned due to heavy weight and manufacturing impact.

As for the looks, people have very different taste, and preferred style differs around the world a lot. Still, how it looks isn’t an obstacle for sales numbers. E.g. Prius isn’t praised for great looks as it put aerodynamics first, but it sold in millions anyway.

The rex running on biofuels can easily be completely sustainable as well.

“bio”fuels is other peoples food or forest.

why does it not get 120 mile range now?

The 2017 model with the bigger battery is here now.It is hard to even find a 2016 in inventory right now. The 2017 is being released for sale any day now. The guy above just said he got 119 miles on 75% capacity. And that was with the heavier Rex. Others are reporting excellent range now also. For the time being, besides a Tesla, the i3 will be the highest range BEV available.