BMW Unveils Updated 2017 i3 with Giant New 33kWh Battery – By Carl Malek


When BMW first unveiled the i3, it brought several innovations to the electric vehicle segment, while also allowing the company to launch its green minded i brand. However, with the current trend towards bigger batteries, the tiny i3 found itself slowly falling behind rivals when it came to driving range. BMW has rectified this flaw with the unveiling of the updated 2017 i3.

Known formally as the 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) the second chapter of the i3 doesn’t focus so much on its long moniker, but rather on giving buyers more driving range than before. This is made possible by an all new battery pack which is the same size as before, but now boasts 50 percent more capacity. This allows the i3 to have a revised driving range of 114 miles which allows it to be on par with other EV rivals.

Like before, the range-extender version of the i3 will also be available with the new 94 Ah battery which should please buyers that don’t want to worry about range anxiety during their daily commute. These same buyers will also love the model exclusive “Protonic Blue metallic exterior hue which was previously only available on the BMW i8.

The interior has also been tweaked, and benefits from an all new “Deka World” package that brings dark colored fabric trim and wood elements to the i3 with the latter item also being an option on Tera World spec i3s. These new changes are rounded out by the addition of an all new electric moonroof option which helps fulfill the wishes of early adopters that complained about the lack of such a feature. Overall these changes should make the i3 a much more compelling EV choice than ever before, while also helping the i brand further expand its sales reach.


2017 BMW i3

The new 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah): More range paired to high-level dynamic performance:

  • BMW i3 (94 Ah) with more powerful battery (33 kWh).
  • Up to 114 mile combined1 (hwy/city) range under everyday conditions2.
  • New BMW Home Charger Connect offering additional comfort and connected functions.
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – May 1, 2016… Today BMW announced that BMW i will offer a new model range of its compact electric car, the BMW i3 and from the 2017 model year will be offering a new version with more than 50% increased battery capacity. The 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) has a capacity of 33 kilowatt hours (kWh) thanks to the higher energy density of the lithium ion cells. The BMW i team worked to ensure that the battery dimensions remain unchanged while still offering a significant range increase. Even in everyday conditions 2, the new Battery Electric BMW i3, in varying weather conditions and with the air conditioning or heating turned on, a range of up to 114 miles combined1 (hwy/city) is possible as shown by independent BMW testing cycles3. The driving performance figures of the 170 hp AC synchronous electric motor remain virtually unchanged. The motor propels the BMW i3 from 0 to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. This makes the BMW i3 both the sportiest and most efficient electric vehicle in its segment with an expected EPA electricity consumption of 27 kWh/100mi. In addition to the Battery Electric BMW i3, the Range Extender model will also feature the 94 Ah battery. When equipped with the Range Extender, if the driver requires additional range, the 2-cylinder gasoline engine is switched on once the battery is depleted to 6.5% state of charge and keeps the charge level of the battery constant while driving and provides an additional range thanks to a 25% larger fuel tank (2.4 gallons). With the introduction of the BMW i3 (94 Ah), BMW i now also offers a new BMW Home Charger Connect, a residential charging station designed for comfortable and fast home charging featuring additional connected functions. Pricing for the 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) will be released closer to market launch.
Higher storage density of the battery cells.
The BMW i3 (94 Ah) sets a new benchmark in its segment with 94 ampere hours (Ah) cell capacity, 33 kWh total battery energy, and an electric range of approximately 114 miles combined1 (hwy/city) on one full battery charge. Consuming only 27 kWh/100mi the BMW i3 is the most efficient car in its segment with the lowest electricity consumption costs of approximately 2.81 USD/100mi4.
The high-voltage battery of the BMW i3 consists of eight modules with twelve storage cells each and its capacity has increased by more than 50% without any changes in exterior dimensions. By optimizing the cell-internal packages with more electrolyte and adapting the active material, BMW and Samsung SDI have succeeded in increasing cell capacity to 94 Ah and overall battery energy to 33 kWh of which 27.2 kWh can be effectively used. The previous battery of the BMW i3 (60 Ah) produced 22 kWh (gross)/19 kWh (net).
The lithium ion cells used, set themselves apart in the competitive field by achieving a special balance between high energy density, cycle stability and safety in the case of an accident. The high-voltage battery also has an advanced thermal management system that keeps the battery operating in the optimal temperature range, which further enhances performance. For example, the coolant of the air conditioning system is responsible for cooling the high-voltage battery very effectively, while a heating system can also be used to warm the battery to ensure the optimal operating temperature before starting off. Customers receive an 8-year/100,000-mile High-voltage Battery Warranty.

About The Author

Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his three pets.