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BMW Upgrades the Battery & Range on the New 2019 Electric i3

BMW Upgrades the Battery & Range on the New 2019 Electric i3

Author: Eric Walz   

BMW has upgraded the battery for the upcoming 2019 i3, the company's compact, fully electric hatchback car. The battery pack upgrade will provide a longer range between charges. The battery storage capacity in now doubled compared to the original version for the i3.

The upgraded battery pack extends the vehicles range to 161 miles (260 km), while the current model i3's estimated range is 124 miles (200 km). The official figure, under the new Europe's new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure) tests is a bit higher at 285 km (177 miles).

The i3 was first introduced in 2013. At the time the electric vehicle came with a 22.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. BMW upgraded the battery slightly to 33.2 kWh for the second version of the i3 which was announced in May 2016, now that version was upgraded again for the 2019 model.

BMW extended the i3's range by redesigning the battery pack to produce extra amps. The battery pack itself remains the same size as the current 94-amp battery, but its power output has now expanded to 120 Ah, or 42.2kWh.

The battery pack is installed in the floor of the i3 and consists of eight modules, each with twelve cells. The high-voltage battery is manufactured at the BMW plant in Dingolfing, Germany.

Despite the modifications, BMW says the weight of the i3 remains the same along with the performance from the electric motor. The automaker kept the same 170 hp electric motor The standard model will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds, while the sportier i3S variant, with its 184 hp electric motor and can reach 60 mph is just under 7 seconds.

Using standard household current of 110 volts, you can charge the battery to 80 percent in 15 hours. However, BMW will supply you with an 11kW BMW i Wallbox for your garage, which allows for rapid three-phase charging that can achieve an 80 percent charge in just 3.2 hours. The same charge takes 42 minutes from a 50kW DC fast charger.

Adaptive Matrix LED Headlamps

In addition to upgrade the i3's battery pack, BMW made some design and cosmetic changes, including new exterior and interior colors. Also offered are LED headlights with a active matrix function for the high beams. The matrix LED technology for the high beam increases visibility range while at the same avoiding any dazzle effect on other road users by turning off only those lights projecting on other vehicles.

The high beam LED segments are controlled based on the current traffic situation. As soon as the front camera registers an oncoming vehicle or a vehicle travelling ahead in the same direction, the space in which this vehicle is located is illuminated using the low beam only, by automatically deactivating the matrix high beam segments that are responsible for this area. The remaining areas of the road continue to be illuminated by the high beam.

In the future, a sports package will be available for the i3 that includes black wheel arches and a sports suspension with specific dampers, springs and stabilizers, a lowered suspension and 20-inch light alloy wheels.

Since 2014 the BMW i3 has been the world's best-selling electrically powered vehicle in the premium compact segment.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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