When BMW unveiled its first all-electric i model back in 2013, the i3 came with a battery capacity of 22.6kWh (think of this as the equivalent of a fuel tank for a battery electric vehicle). BMW then updated the i3 in 2016 with new and improved cells that could store more energy, and the i3’s battery capacity was raised to 33kWh – a 46% increment.
Just a few days ago, BMW announced the latest update of 120Ah-rated cells to the i3’s battery pack, along with a capacity bump of up to 42.2kWh – 28% more than the 2016 version, or an 87% increase from the original i3. So, from a range of between 130km to 160km per full charge in 2013, the i3 of 2018 can now travel up to 260km per charge, based on BMW’s ‘everyday’ city usage estimates (on the not-so-realistic NEDC cycle, the 2018 i3 is rated at 359km!).
What this means is that in a span of five years, the range of the i3 has increased by approximately 80%, but the physical dimensions of the battery pack, driving performance and energy consumption remain unchanged. If this isn’t progress, I’m not sure what is.