In Brief

BMW i3 refresh gets big range boost

Improved battery means the small, posh EV can now travel 195 miles, says carmaker

BMW i3

BMW has introduced a round of updates to its smallest i car, the i3, including new trim options, technology and, most importantly, a hefty bump in the car's range, thanks to a massively improved battery.

The carmaker says its pure EV version can now do 195 miles, up from the between 80-100 mark of the earlier i3s.

The big boost has been achieved through advances in energy density. The car's battery pack keeps its old dimensions but is now a 94Ah/33kWh unit, up from 60Ah/25kWh. Performance for the 170bhp powertrain remains the same and the i3 will do 0-62mph in 7.3secs.

Because of the gains in battery tech, the i3, when fitted with the 38bhp electricity generating range-extender petrol engine, has seen its range extend too, rising to a claimed 276 miles. It's also slightly more efficient, emitting 12g CO2/km.

Tech wise, BMW is making DC fast-charging standard across the range, so the i3 can be topped up fully in 2hrs 45mins with the 11kWh charging system, although it will take around ten hours on mains electricity.

There are no styling changes and instead, the car now comes with the option of a blue paint colour, as well as a new standard interior trim.

Prices after the £4,500 government grant has been taken into account will start at £27,830 for the fully electric version, rising to £30,980 for the range-extender. While some believe BMW could offer the upgrades as a retro-fit option to current i3s, Auto Express says the company has no plans to do so.

Regardless, the upgraded range should prove popular, in the opinion of Alphr, which says the "extra range is crucial in making the i3 a serious contender for EV buyers". It's set to be on sale this July.

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