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Has BMW found a way to jump-start sales of the all-electric i3 city car?

BMW i3
Image used with permission by copyright holder
BMW is preparing to once again update the all-electric i3 in a bid to jump-start sales, according to a recent report from Germany. The upgraded city car is tentatively scheduled to make its debut next year.

The i3 recently received a new battery pack that increased its range by 50 percent, meaning it can now drive for up to 114 miles on a single charge. That figure pales in comparison to the range offered by recently launched electric models like the Chevrolet Bolt. As a result, BMW will again install a new battery pack that will increase range by another 50 percent, which should help the city car break the 150-mile threshold.

The new battery pack will be complemented by a mid-cycle face-lift that will bring revised front and rear fascias, new colors, and additional wheel designs, according to German newspaper Welt. BMW’s aesthetic updates have historically been more evolutionary than revolutionary, so we shouldn’t expect the revisions to bring a completely new look to the Munich-based company’s futuristic-looking city car.

The i3 hasn’t been quite the hit that BMW executives hoped for — just 60,000 examples have found a home since it was introduced in late 2013. However, the company is moving forward with the development of a second-generation model.

“I firmly expect [a second-generation model]. It’s not the sentiment within the company that it’s been a failure — absolutely not at all,” affirmed Heinrich Schwackhoefer, the i3’s project manager, in a recent interview with industry trade journal Automotive News. He added it’s too early to tell when it will be launched.

BMW hasn’t commented on the rumors of an updated i3. If they’re accurate, we’ll find out more about the improved model in the coming months, and it will hit our shores in time for the 2018 model year. As is often the case, the new tech will likely be accompanied by a higher price.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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