The new BMW i3 and i3s models will feature a battery pack that, at 120Ah, is twice the capacity of the existing versions. Other highlights will include a new exterior colour, a new colour for the optional interior world ‘Loft', optional Adaptive LED headlights featuring anti-dazzle functionality and optional telephony with wireless charging and wireless LAN hotspot.
The larger battery capacity has been achieved with no increase in battery size, and the lithium-ion pack features a cooling system to maintain an optimum operating temperature and increase both output and service life.
The increased capacity means that, in everyday use, the two new models will have an effective range of 160 miles, which represents an almost 30% increase compared to the previous 94Ah models.
Using rapid-charging stations that run on DC power, the charging capacity is 50kW and this way the high voltage battery will reach 80% of its total power in 42 minutes.
Charging via the BMW i Wallbox will mean that 80% capacity can be achieved in 4.9 hours. The standard charging cable, which is designed to be plugged into a conventional household socket, will deliver an 80% charge in about 15 hours.
The BMW i Wallbox Connect also extends the functionality of the BMW Digital Charging Service, to provide intelligent charging for optimal cost efficiency, allowing customers to make the best use of self-generated solar energy. It'll also be possible to control the charging process using a smartphone app, and manage usage by means of an access card. Drivers with a registered ChargeNow card will have simple access to the UK's largest network of public charging stations.
However, the new models won't be offered with a range-extender option. Presumably, BMW feels that the increased range delivered by the new battery pack makes the addition of a petrol generator a needless addition of weight and cost. But the move has been roundly criticised by existing users on social media, who feel that the two models still don't have the overall range to warrant dropping the ‘safety net' option of the range extender. Only time will tell if BMW is right.
The BMW i3 and i3s go on sale in December 2018, with prices starting at £35,180 OTR.