Originally published on CleanTechnica.
It has long been assumed the BMW i3 would get a big range boost this year. Actually, the first strong sign of that for me was when a Nissan employee told me that the 2016 Nissan LEAF was getting 107 miles of range, the 2017 would get ~130 miles of range, and the 2018 would get ~150 miles of range … in order to keep up with BMW.
Approximately one month later, we got word that the 2017 BMW i3 would have 124 miles of range on the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC), which is far more generous/realistic than the EPA ratings.
Now, the news is that BMW UK has sent out emails to people interested in an i3 or already driving one that claim the 2017 i3 will get a 50% range boost. Pre-ordering for the car is now open, with first arrivals set for fall.
The range is indeed the 124 miles (200 kilometers) stated (via rumor/leak) last year, for the fully electric i3.
Additionally, as speculated before, the improvement in range comes from higher energy density, which is likely to mean that the higher-capacity battery can fit in exactly the same spot as current batteries… which could also open the door to battery upgrades, if there’s enough consumer demand.
All of this said, getting a BMW i3 with this better battery also means paying a little more. The price premium is reportedly £1,350 (~$1,950). I think most buyers would find this is a worthwhile option to spend a bit more on.
For Florida (if the US Department of Immigration ever moves forward with our application), I’m leaning toward a used i3 for a much lower price (don’t really need the extra range), but for here in Europe, a 2017 BMW i3 REx with the big range boost is mighty attractive (it could get us to my wife’s parents’ summer house in Pipidówa without stress)… on the other hand, we don’t really need a car (have been car-free here for nearly 8 years and loving it), and it would probably be a lot smarter to just wait for the Tesla Model 3.
Another change that I’m very happy about is that BMW is dropping the “solar orange” color (which I really don’t like, despite often liking orange). In place of that, it is offering “protonic blue,” which is that beautiful blue that you can find on the BMW i8. (A bunch of pics of the BMW i8 I drove in Florida with this blue can be found here. One of those is below.)