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BMW increases i3 range by 50 per cent

BMW has introduced a 94Ah battery to both its i3 and the i3 Range Extender models.

The new i3 94Ah replaces the current 60Ah model and has a capacity of 33kWh thanks to a higher storage density of the lithium ion cells. The battery dimensions remain unchanged with more than a 50 per cent range increase in the standard NEDC cycle. This equals a range of 195 miles in everyday driving.

The high-voltage battery consists of eight modules (each with 12 individual cells), with a 'significantly increased' capacity, without any changes in structure or exterior dimensions. By optimising the cell-internal packages with more electrolyte and adapting the active material, the German brand has succeeded in increasing capacity to 94Ah and overall battery energy to 33kWh.

The range of the new i3 94Ah (BEV) in everyday use, on a full battery charge with the air conditioning or the heating on has been increased to 195 miles. This is achieved with no subjective loss of driving performance and agility - the i3’s motor propels the electric car to 62mph in 7.3 seconds (BEV).

The lithium-ion cells used in the battery are designed to perform their energy storage function over the vehicle’s entire lifespan. The coolant of the air conditioning system is responsible for cooling the high-voltage battery. An optional heating system can also be used to heat the battery to ensure the optimum operating temperature of 20°C before starting off. The battery has been designed to last for the car’s entire service life with customers receiving an 8-year or 100,000 mile battery warranty.

Thanks to an average power consumption of 12.6kWh/100m (in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) for the new i3 and 11.3kWh/100km for the i3 Range Extender, the efficiency of the motor plays a key role in optimising the car’s range. With significant benefits available from low charging tariffs, the low cost per mile would equate to running a diesel engine and achieving 470.8mpg, according to BMW. The emissions of the i3 94Ah with Range Extender amounts to 12g/km - a 1g/km reduction in comparison to the previous model while the exclusively electrically powered BMW i3 produces zero emissions locally.

The Range Extender delivers a maximum output of 38hp and powers a generator in order to produce electricity on a needs-based, ‘highly efficient’ principle. As soon as the charging level of the lithium ion batteries drops to a certain point, the Range Extender kicks in to keep the charging level constant thus extending the range by 81 miles in everyday conditions. Fitting the car with the Range Extender has no influence on the available luggage volume: the nine-litre fuel tank is installed in the front section. The luggage compartment volume remains unchanged at 260 litres and can be extended to 1,100 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Four interior trims are now available as separate options, with the new ‘Atelier interior world’ coming as standard on the revamped 94Ah model. The Atelier Interior world features Neutronic cloth in Aragats Grey with BMW i Blue highlights on the front seats and black leather steering wheel.

Prices for the new BMW i3 94Ah start at £27,830 - inc £4,500 OLEV Government grant - to £30,980 (also including the grant) for the Range Extender model - both are available from July 2016.