BMW will launch the longer range BMW i3 at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.
Thanks to higher-energy-density lithium-ion cells, which increase the battery capacity of the new BMW i3 (94 Ah) to 33 kilowatt hours, the car’s range on a single charge has been increased from 190 to 300 kilometres / 118 – 186 miles (NEDC cycle), with a real-world range of up to 200 kilometres (124 miles) – even in adverse weather conditions requiring use of the heater or air-conditioning.
Its combination of long range, low energy consumption and typical BMW performance sees the BMW i3 (94 Ah) setting a new benchmark in its segment. With the introduction of the new model, new interior trim options will also be offered, along with new, more powerful home-garage charging stations and a retrofit option for drivers with a first-generation BMW i3 battery who wish to switch to the new pack.
Dynamic performance combined with high energy efficiency
The 125 kW/170 hp hybrid synchronous electric motor accelerates the BMW i3 (94 Ah) from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.3 seconds, making this BMW i3 the sportiest and, with electricity consumption of 12.6 kWh/100 km (NEDC), most efficient electric vehicle in its segment. Revised electric motor management and further optimised, low-rolling-resistance tyres are among the many detailed modifications that have helped to reduce electricity usage.
The existing BMW i3 with 60 Ah battery, which entered the market three years ago, will continue in the line-up alongside the new model. In both cases a version with range extender will also be offered. By topping up the battery charge, the range-extender engine – a twin-cylinder petrol unit (28 kW/38 hp) – increases the driving range by 150 kilometres (93 miles).
The range extender BMW i3 (94 Ah)/BMW i3 (60 Ah) models offer combined fuel consumption of 0.6/0.6 l/100 km (470.8 mpg imp), combined electricity consumption of 11.3/13.5 kWh/100 km and combined CO2 emissions of 12/13 g/km. Since the nine-litre petrol tank is located in the front of the vehicle, boot space remains unchanged at 260 litres, expanding to 1,100 litres with the rear seats folded down. Like its i3 siblings, the range-extender BMW i3 (94 Ah) offers high standards of agility and impressive performance, ensuring it takes the lead in its segment. Its 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time is 8.1 seconds.
Modular battery cell architecture
Despite the big increase in its capacity, the dimensions of the new BMW i3’s high-voltage battery, which comprises eight 12-cell modules, have remained unchanged. Optimised internal packaging of the cells, which now also contain more active material, increases cell capacity to 94 Ah. As a result, gross energy capacity has increased to 33 kWh, and net usable capacity to 27 kWh. The corresponding figures for the BMW i3 (60 Ah) are 22 kWh (gross) and 19 kWh (net).
The lithium-ion cells offer an exceptional balance between high energy density, long cycle life and crash safety. The battery pack is designed to last the full life of the vehicle, and comes with a warranty of eight years or 100,000 kilometres (62,000 miles). As before, battery modules can be swapped individually if necessary, so there is no need to replace the whole battery. This is not offered by any of the i3’s competitors.
Battery retrofit option
With the launch of the new 94 Ah battery, BMW is also offering a battery retrofit programme under which BMW i customers driving an all-electric BMW i3 (60 Ah) have the option of swapping their existing battery pack for the new 33 kWh unit. This programme will initially be offered in selected markets.
A highly sustainable “second life” solution has been found for the used 22 kWh batteries traded in under this scheme, which will be put back into service in stationary grid storage applications.
Optimised performance, increased powertrain efficiency
The BMW i3 is far and away the lightest vehicle in its segment. Despite an increase in vehicle weight to 1,245 kilograms, in terms of performance the BMW i3 (94 Ah) is subjectively as agile as the 60 Ah version. This is down to an optimised power curve courtesy of modified power electronics and systems management, and an improved voltage curve under load due to
physical factors. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) completes the 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in 7.3 seconds, hitting 60 km/h (37 mph) in just 3.8 seconds. And on mid-range acceleration, a conventional combustion-engined vehicle would require much more power to match the i3’s sporty 80 – 120 km/h (50 – 75 mph) time of 5.1 seconds, which makes for quick and safe overtaking.
On both battery versions, the power is supplied to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission, allowing the BMW i3 to accelerate continuously without torque interruption to its top speed, which is limited for efficiency reasons to 150 km/h (93 mph).
New faster charging: 11 kW three-phase charging
To take account of the increased battery capacity, the AC fast charging system has been upgraded. The multi-phase AC fast charger for the new 94 Ah battery can now provide 11 kW charging – corresponding to the most common speed used at public charging stations. This system allows the BMW i3 (94 Ah) to be recharged in less than three hours, despite the significant increase in its battery capacity.
That’s the same time it takes to charge a BMW i3 (60 Ah) at 7.4 kW. Using the charging cable supplied, the BMW i3 (94 Ah) can also be recharged from a household power socket. At a rate of 2.8 kW, the charging time is then under ten hours. Alternatively, BMW i3 models are already capable of state-of-the-art 50 kW DC fast charging. Connected to a 50 kW DC charger, the recharging time for the BMW i3 (94 Ah) is less than 40 minutes, while for the BMW i3 (60 Ah) the figure is 25 minutes. This works out at a charging speed (BMW i3 (94 Ah)) of over 4 km (2.5 miles) /min, and a charging time of 24 minutes/100 km (62 miles).
Convenient home charging: the new BMW i Wallboxes
In summer 2016, BMW i introduced a new BMW i Wallbox for convenient and fast home-garage charging. This Wallbox is set up to work with the new charging electronics. In addition to single-phase operation, it also offers up to 22 kW three-phase charging, allowing the BMW i3 (94 Ah) to be recharged in two hours and 45 minutes. In late 2016, this unit will be followed by two further versions offering additional convenience and network functions (BMW i Wallbox Plus and BMW i Wallbox Connect). These Wallboxes can be matched precisely to the needs of fleet customers or multi-car private households, and can also be integrated into a smart home network, allowing the car to be charged using environment-friendly home-generated solar electricity.
Convenient public charging with ChargeNow – at home or abroad
BMW i’s ChargeNow network is the world’s largest public charging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. It now comprises more than 40,000 public charging points in 25 countries, operated by a wide range of providers. The ChargeNow card and app offer customers one-stop access to the services of all participating providers in this international network, complete with cashless payment and billing. This means customers are spared the time and effort of having to register with each different provider separately. To help drivers locate and select a participating charging point, the ChargeNow network is integrated into the navigation system and apps.