According to Ian Robertson, BMW AG board member for sales and marketing, BMW will increase the i3’s range this year. This summer, the lithium ion battery pack of the compact EV will be improved, “which puts it into a much more usable range,” Robertson said. The sales chief refrained from giving a specific figure, but a source told BMWBLOG that BMW will refresh its i3 electric car with a higher energy density battery.
The current model consists of 8 x 2.7 kWh packs cells – each containing 12 x 3.75 volt, 60 Ah actual cells – wired in series for a nominal capacity of 21.8 kWh, 360 volts, of which 18.8 kWh are usable. The new battery is expected to have a 94Ah battery and the higher energy density will give the i3 an expected range of 120 miles.
The improved battery would give the i3 a better range than the Nissan Leaf which can go up to 107 miles on a single charge, yet it will still shy away from the 200 miles touted by the recently unveiled Chevy Bolt.
BMW sold 24,057 i3s worldwide last year, an increase of 50 percent from 2014. In the United States, BMW sold 11,024 i3s, up from 6,092 in 2014. Around 65 percent of those were with the range extender.