BMW announced yesterday an important upgrade to the i3 family of electric cars. For 2017 models, the BMW i3 will now feature a higher-density 94 Ah battery, compared to the previous i3’s 60 Ah battery, that will provide the i3 a range of around 114 miles, with maybe ever more if all the A/C and heating systems are turned off and the car is in ECO Pro+ mode.

This new 94 Ah battery has a capacity of 33 kWh (kilowatt hours), thanks to a higher density of the lithium-ion cells. Yet, despite the added capacity, the battery hasn’t increased in size at all, meaning it fits perfectly into the same battery tray as the previous-gen i3’s.


At the time of the announcement, BMW said the i customers will have the opportunity of retrofitting their purely electric BMW i3 (60 Ah) with the new 33 kWh battery as part of a high-voltage retrofit program. The press release said the program is available in selected markets. We reached out today to BMW of North America who confirmed the battery retrofit program won’t be an option in the U.S. – at least for the time being.

“A battery retrofit is only available in select markets and at this point, the US market is not participating in a retrofit option,” said Hector Arellano-Belloc, BMW NA spokesperson. “However, BMW of North America remains open to changes in market demand and will continue to research and develop all possible options for our customers.”

The updated 2017 BMW i3 will hit U.S. showrooms this summer with a new exterior color as well – Protonic Blue Metallic color, previously only available on the BMW i8.