Published on April 29th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


2017 BMW i3 Getting 50% Range Boost

April 29th, 2016 by  

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/unrealistic 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.)

BMW i8 Sarasota Florida 6

Photos by Kyle FieldZachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Jenny Sommer

    I will win the i3 soon.

  • neroden

    All these companies are *behind*. They’re consistently a year behind Tesla, often more than a year. It’s actually astounding. I guess it’s made me a lot of money as a TSLA investors — it’s the primary advantage Tesla has, that its competitors are consistently behind the curve. It still astounds me.

    • If they are selling for ~$10,000 less than a Tesla, that can work. Unfort., I in this case, the i3 is considerably more expensive… 😛

      I’m hoping the market will eventually crash the price of used i3s, though. Would be cool to get one of those fun little cars at a great low price.

    • Foersom

      The BMW I3 model 2017 is available in July 2016, that is less than 3 month away. Tesla say they will deliver by end of 2017, but that is an optimistic guess when you know their model X was 2 years late. So for mass market electric car BMW is ahead of Tesla.

  • Mike333

    As much as I like the i3, advanced radar detection, auto-braking, pedestrian detection, vented disk brakes, rear wheel drive and fully independent suspension.

    They’ve got to take the $7500 federal tax credit out of the list price.

    Tesla clearly isn’t doing this, with the model 3 looking like strong competition for the 3 series, and it’s nearly price parity with the 3 series, shows these manufacturers can now pass on the federal tax credit to buyers.

  • Brunel

    is the EPA test cycle tougher than real life?

    • No. Depending on how conservatively you drive (and the model), it can be accurate. The NEDC is ridiculously innaccurate. The manufacturers are allowed to do things like super-inflate the tires and I think even use non-production tires & parts. In any case, the ratings are more or less useless since they are so absurd.

      • Brunel

        But the article says NEDC is more realistic than EPA. Typo?

        • Yikes. Yes!

          Edit: OK, just fixed. Sorry about that….

      • Bob_Wallace

        “The major loopholes in the current EU tests allow car manufacturers a number of ‘cheats’ to improve results. Car manufacturers can:

        Disconnect the alternator, thus no energy is used to recharge the battery;

        Use special lubricants that are not used in production cars, in order to reduce friction;

        Turn off all electrical gadgets i.e. Air Con/Radio;

        Adjust brakes or even disconnect them to reduce friction;

        Tape up cracks between body panels and windows to reduce air resistance;

        Remove Wing mirrors.[48]

        According to the results of a 2014 study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the gap between official and real-world fuel-economy figures in Europe has risen to about 38% in 2013 from 10% in 2001. The analysis found that for private cars, the difference between on-road and official CO2 values rose from around 8% in 2001 to 31% in 2013, and 45% for company cars in 2013”

        • Pretty horrible.

          ‘Let’s raise the fuel economy standards… and then let automakers cheat more to match them.’ Same has been happening in Europe with diesels following the giant diesel scandal.

  • vensonata .

    Will they keep the range extender?

  • gerry

    woow happy that i have one of the first Solar orange with lodge interior, it sure is a very rare combination almost an individual BMW so now the color will go out of ordering it willl be a collectors item ghgehge…ill keep it for twenty more years and do some battery upgrades in the future….

    • my wife said she likes the color.

      “lodge interior” is with the eucalyptus, no? love that interior. would think it’d be quite popular.

      • J_JamesM

        The BMW i3 is gorgeous inside, especially in person. I love the feeling of lightness, modernity and luxury it gives. I rather like the side and rear exterior views, too. But that front is just unfortunate.

        • Agree with you on all of that. The view is really superb from the inside, and feels great!

          The front from the outside looks good to me at some angles. At others… well…

      • gerry

        I havent seen many lodge interiors here inEurope ,maybe due to the extra cost of this option……i believe th i3 is the ultimate expression of wabi sabi in car design…

  • “… 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.”

    I’m entirely in the same boat, but I’m not so sure about getting a car at all. If level 4 autonomy is coming at approximately the same time as I could get a model 3 (and it’s certainly looking that way), I think we’ll see a huge Uber-like shift in car sharing. It will be *much* cheaper to share a car than to own one, and a fully autonomous car can drive itself to my front door and drop me off where ever, without even having to pay for parking. Some car sharing companies even pay for toll bridges and highways. I think within our lifetime, owning a car at all will be for rural folk and car enthusiasts.

    • Yeah…

      We’re also thinking about carsharing… which is a story for another day. 😉 😀 And an obvious step toward what you are talking about.

      We have a 2nd little one on the way. Don’t feel any real need for a car now (in Europe), but will see if that changes.

  • Troy Frank

    Whoa, you know what that blue color merge means?!?! “Full protonic reversal….” Sorry, I’ll accept my bad reference punishment now.

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