Electric blue: BMW

By David Flynn, September 12 2016
Electric blue: BMW

Created as an inner-city electric runabout, BMW’s i3 can now run quite a bit further.

An update to the catchy-looking EV squeezes higher capacity cells into the same-sized battery bay, boosting the maximum range from 190km to 300km.

BMW reckons that means an easy and anxiety-free 200km in real-world driving conditions, even with the air-conditioning blasting and Spofity booming.

Need more range or facing longer stretches of time away from a charging station?

The Range Extender model wedges a compact two-cylinder 650cc petrol engine (from BMW’s Motorrad ‘maxi-scooter family) under the boot, which with its nine litre fuel tank keeps the primary battery topped and adds another 150km to the range.

On sale from October, the new models go by the name of the i3 94Ah – named after the 94 Amp/hour capacity of the beefier batteries, as opposed to the first-gen 60A/h cells.

The i3’s belly contains eight battery modules, any of which can be replaced under the eight-year, 100,000km warranty if a fault develops in a single module.

A supplied adaptor cable gives you the option to recharge the i3 94A/h from a standard domestic AC socket, but this takes a good 14 hours before the ‘tank’ goes from near-empty to 80% full.

The optional wall-mounted i Wallbox Pure charging station ($1750 plus installation) will juice up the i3 94A/h from zero to hero in around eight hours.

You can also jack into ChargePoint outlets found at many carparks and shopping centres, which supply enough power for an 80% charge in four hours.

Interior trim levels span from the entry-level Loft to Lodge and Suite and embrace eco-friendly materials such as renewable leather (tanned with olive leaf extract) and even sustainable eucalyptus.

The BMW i3 94Ah starts at $65,900 (excluding dealer & on-road costs), with the 94Ah Range Extender hybrid from $71,900.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.