The rumor about a facelifted BMW i3 in 2017 isn’t new, but until now we hadn’t an exact date for its debut. According to Autocar not only the redesigned BMW i3 will get more range, it’ll also have a sportier version called i3S to be shown at IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2017, next September.
Many things can happen in this redesign, but aerodynamic improvements are in my opinion the most urgent thing to do. The current BMW i3 has a very boxy shape that doesn’t help its efficiency, specially at higher speeds. Since this redesigned BMW i3 is expected to be on sale in 2018, if not standard, it’ll probably have a mirrorless version with cameras for better aerodynamics and safety.
While it’s difficult to make short cars with good aerodynamics, it’s not impossible. The Renault EOLAB concept – that’s basically a plug-in hybrid Clio – has a drag coefficient of 0,235 Cd. The EOLAB concept is even more aerodynamic than longer electric cars like the Hyundai IONIQ Electric or Tesla Model S.
For example, if the BMW i3 had the Hyundai IONIQ Electric’s efficiency its EPA range would increase from 114 miles (183 km) to 131 miles (211 km), without the need to increase the battery capacity. But if the efficiency increase was accompanied by the upgrade from 94 to 120 Ah battery cells the EPA range could reach 168 miles (270 km). This would make the REx version unnecessary for most drivers.
It’s still unclear if the facelift will get the new 120 Ah Samsung SDI battery cells in its first model year, but I don’t expect the news cells to arrive before the 2nd half of 2018, when the Samsung SDI battery plant in Hungary starts commercial operation.
If the new BMW i3 gets 5 seats, more body color options and faster charging it’ll be even more tempting.
What would you want to see introduced in the new BMW i3?