BMW spokesman, Matthew Russell, confirmed to the media outlet that that several enhancements are coming in spring 2015. It will include a battery state-of-charge indicator, an early alert prior to potentially experiencing a temporary loss of power, and a proactive boosting of the battery level based on the car’s navigation prior to encountering hilly terrain. This enhancement will also be available as a retrofit for existing i3 owners.
The official statement was a result of a recent report by Consumer Reports on some of the issues encountered with the i3 REx. One of them was the loss of power when one of their drivers tromped on the pedal to pass a truck on a hilly two-lane highway. The i3 Rex began to lose power without warning, leaving the driver and his car more exposed in the oncoming lane. It then recovered rather quickly upon coasting, which converts energy and uses it to fill the battery.
To further explore the issue, Consumer Reports revealed that “after a prolonged use of the throttle with little or no speed varying and no gentle braking to regenerate energy to the battery, acceleration ability falls off dramatically.In that state, we measured a 0-60 mph acceleration time that ranged from 27 to 40 seconds—as opposed to 9 seconds in normal range extending mode.”
JMK BMW’s i3 specialist, Manny Antunes, reports on the software update as well:
First off, there will be a software update coming prior to the end of Q1 2015 that will be standard on all 2015 model year (January SOP) that WILL be retro-programmed to all existing i3 owners that will bring some welcome feature set.
Most importantly being SOC meter to the main info cluster. The other will be that the charge port will unlock the J1772 and SAE DCFC nozzles once the car is completely charged. There are some other minor tweaks besides these programming bits but the biggest will be how the REx will engage prior to a large sustained climb, I can’t elaborate but REx owners will love it.