Tweaked BMW i3 gets all of the range

By topgear, 01 October 2018

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Bigger battery means almost 320km of range for the little i hatch

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EV tech has moved on a great deal since 2013, when BMW introduced its rather excellent i3. Back then, the 22.6kWh, 60Ah battery meant it could only do around 128km on a charge. Maybe 160, if you switched the air-con off and at no point exceeded 65km/h.

(Click HERE to read about our day of Meals & Wheels in JB... Re-charge, Eat & Chill with no drama)

(Don't take our word for it... click HERE to find out what race-car driver, Yuey Tan, thinks about the i3)

Good enough by the standards of the day, but not really acceptable in 2018. Today’s Nissan Leaf has a 40kWh battery and a 270km range, remember.

(Click HERE to read about the time we dusted-off our trusty Fiat Cinquecento city-car to meet the i3, city-car of the future?)

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Good news, then, that BMW has just given the i3 a bit of an update. Besides new optional equipment and interior/exterior colour schemes, it’s fitted a brand-new lithium-ion battery with more than double the usable energy capacity of the original, but the same physucal dimensions.

(Want to see what the i3 gets up to during Chinese New Year? Click HERE)

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That means 308km of range from 42.2kWh, or 120Ah in the standard i3, and 285km for the quicker i3S – a massive increase over the 2013 originals, and a 30 per cent increase over the 33kW, 94Ah models introduced just last year.

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Performance is more or less the same as last year’s cars, with the 170bhp car taking 7.3secs  to reach 100km/h, and the 184bhp i3S a spritely 6.9secs. A high-voltage, 50kW DC public charging station gives 80 per cent charge in 42 minutes. A 7kW wallbox will do the same in five hours, and a three-pin plug takes 15 hours.

We’re still fans. Are you?

(Click HERE to read what BMW Asia's Ms. Preeti Gupta thought of the i3 during her first-go in an EV)

STORY Tom Harrison

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