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Paris show: BMW i3 gets bigger battery

Battery capacity in BMW i3 has doubled since the launch of the original

BMW logo1 Oct 2018

By TIM NICHOLSON in PARIS

BMW has upped the storage capacity of its battery-electric i3 city hatch to 120 ampere hours, meaning it has doubled since the launch of the model in late-2014.
 
The upgraded i3 and sportier i3s are expected to land in Australian dealerships in about February next year and it follows the facelifted version that went on sale in February this year.
 
When the original i3 launched it was offered with 60Ah and 22.6kWh, but this increased with the recent facelift to 94 Ah and 33kWh.
 
The latest high-voltage batteries in the i3 have a combined power consumption of 13.1kWh/100km, while the i3s has 14-14.6kWh/100km. 
 
BMW says its engineers have worked hard to increase the capacity without increasing the actual size of the battery pack.
 
Energy consumption and driving performance are unchanged, according to BMW, with the i3 using a 125kW electric motor for a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds, while the i3s has a 135kW motor and can compete the dash in 6.9s.
 
BMW says the updated i3 has an “everyday” electric driving range of 260km – an increase of close to 30 per cent over the outgoing version. 
 
But according to NEDC , the i3 120 Ah can drive 359km (up from 290-300km), and the i3s is 330-345km (up from 280km), while the new WLTP standards state that the i3 can drive for 285-310km and the i3s is 270-285km before running out of puff.
 
When plugged into a standard household socket, the battery can be recharged to 80 per cent in approximately 15 hours. Charging with a BMW iWallbox to 80 per cent takes just 3.2 hours.
 
As well as the increase in battery capacity, BMW says it will soon offer a sports suspension option (borrowed from the i3s) for the regular i3 variant. It includes a 10m lower suspension setup, a wider track, black wheelarch surrounds and 20-inch light alloy wheels.
 
There’s also a new exterior paint colour, Jucaro Beige metallic with accentuations in Frozen Grey, while a new optional ‘Loft’ interior design package adds Sensatec upholstery as well as grey and brown accents.
 
Adaptive LED headlights will also be available as an option and the iDrive display has been upgraded. Wireless charging is also an option.
 
BMW has sold 81 examples of the i3 so far this year, representing a 12 per cent decline on the same period last year.

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