BMW's 2017 i3 shows improvement, but still faces stiff competition.
While the BMW i3 has garnered generally favorable reviews, BMW has been struggling to find success in the electric car market. But that hasn’t stopped the German manufacturer from planning a new i3 model with a better range and a much-needed redesign. According to German publication Welt am Sonntag, the next-generation BMW i3 slated for next year will be getting a facelift with a redesigned front and rear end. No images have been released yet, however, but we weren't very impressed with how our tester 2017 BMW i3 looked.
Crucially, the 2017 BMW i3 will have a larger range thanks to new battery technology, which was one of the previous model’s main drawbacks. On full charge, the current BMW i3 can be driven for 114 miles, but using a Range Extender will increase its range to 180 miles. Welt hasn’t specified exactly how many miles the 2017 BMW i3 will achieve on full charge, but the increase will apparently be less than 50 percent - so that’s still under 200 miles. It's also still significantly less than the competition: the Tesla Model S, for example, can run up to 300 miles on a single charge with a PD100 battery, but the BMW i3 is of course more affordable.
More affordable choices such as the Tesla Model 3 will give you at least 214 miles on a single charge when it goes on sale next year (or the year after) according to Tesla, while the Chevrolet Volt can last for 238 miles. BMW's Klaus Frolich told Welt that while he didn’t think that range is the only important factor in an electric car, it’s still important enough that the manufacturer can’t afford to fall short of the competition. These improvements are all welcome, but it’s safe to say that BMW will continue to face stiff competition in the electric car market.