BMW South Africa has confirmed that rapid advances in battery technology will result in more powerful and more capable versions of the i3 electric car making their way to South Africa in early 2019.
Globally, cell battery technology has advanced at a tremendous rate and electric cars can now travel further and faster. BMW has invested heavily into its eDrive and iPerformance electric car products and now its i3 is set to gain a significant range increase. Officially BMW claims that its cell capacity has been increased to 120 Ah, resulting in a range increase of almost 30%. These new batteries are fitted to both the i3 and the performance-focused i3s.
Interestingly, BMW claims that since the launch of the first-generation i3, the battery tech has advanced so far that the high-voltage battery's storage capacity has doubled, without physically increasing the battery's size. When it was launched, the i3 boasted 60 Ah and 22.6 kWh. Along came the second generation with 94 Ah and 33 kWh. Now, for the latest version, capacity sits at 120 Ah and 42.2 kWh. The BMW i3 is no slouch either and can hit 100 kph in 7.3 seconds, making it deceptively quick in and around the city. As for range, the new battery benefit helps immensely. Previously range was rated around the 290-300 km mark, but it's now capable of 359 km.
While the BMW i3 was facelifted in South Africa around the middle of 2018, it looks like this more powerful and longer-travelling i3 will be coming to SA in early 2019.