BMW i3 gets a boost: new 94Ah version with bigger battery, longer range for 2016

Published: 03 May 2016

► New battery for BMW i3 
 Range doubled to 195 miles
 Available from July 2016

BMW has given its electric i3 city car a shot in the arm for 2016 with a new, larger-capacity battery that nigh on doubles the car’s driving range. BMW now claims a typical range of 195 miles for the pure electric version of the i3 (with the usual driving conditions-dependent caveats).

The extra miles keep the i3 competitive against electric hatchback rivals such as the 30kWh Nissan Leaf (155 miles), Renault Zoe (149 miles) and the currently US-only Chevrolet Bolt (not to mention the upcoming Tesla Model 3).

Read CAR’s BMW i3 review here

BMW i3’s new 2016 battery upgrade: the details

Although the battery’s overall dimensions are unchanged, cell capacity has increased from 60Ah to 94Ah, and overall energy to 33kWh courtesy of its cells’ greater storage density. DC rapid charge capability is now standard.

The i3’s rear-mounted electric motor turns out the equivalent of 168bhp, taking it from 0-62mph in a creditably speedy 7.3sec. The battery comes with an eight-year (or 100,000-mile) warranty.

The current 60Ah BMW i3 model will be discontinued from July 2016.

What about the range-extender version of the i3?

The range-extender model, which uses a 647cc twin-cylinder petrol engine to charge the battery, gets the same battery upgrade. BMW hasn’t yet confirmed the new overall range for the RX model.

Read CAR’s review of the BMW i3 Range Extender here

What if you’ve already got a BMW i3? Can you retrofit the new battery?

BMW isn’t offering a retrofit service to slot the new battery into existing i3s – the cost of buying a new battery means the sums simply wouldn’t add up for customers.

Anything else new for the i3?

To celebrate its fancy new battery pack, the i3’s also been given a fresh lick of paint – you can now have one with the eye-catching ‘Protonic Blue’ previously used only on the BMW i8 hybrid sports car.

How much does the 94Ah BMW i3 cost?

From £27,830 for the electric-only ‘BEV’ (Battery Electric Vehicle) model, and £30,980 for the Range Extender from July 2016. Both prices include the current £4,500 plug-in car grant.

Read CAR magazine’s electric hatchback group test on CAR+: BMW i3 vs VW e-Golf vs Renault Zoe vs Nissan Leaf


By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer