• BMW i3 front 3/4

  • BMW i3 front 3/4

  • BMW i3 side

  • BMW i3 front

  • BMW i3 side

  • BMW i3 rear 3/4

  • BMW i8 and BMW i3

  • BMW i3 front 3/4

  • BMW i3

  • BMW i3 charging

  • BMW i3 rear

  • BMW i3 doors open

  • BMW i3 side

  • BMW i3 front 3/4

  • BMW i3 interior

  • BMW i3 cabin

  • BMW i3 seats

  • BMW i3 interior

  • BMW i3 hatch

  • BMW i3 seat material

  • BMW i3 seat detail

  • BMW i3 dash detail

  • BMW i3 seats

A recent BMW forecast predicted that electric vehicles will, within five years, offer double the range from a single charge they do today. If this statement was designed to get publicity for the company's soon-to-debut i3 EV, it certainly generated discussion, but not much in the way of agreement.

Analysts interviewed by the Detroit News on whether typical EVs would be able to approach the 150-200 mile single-charge range by 2018 using technology such as lithium-air batteries were optimistic about eventual advancements. They were less so about the timeframe.

The German automaker appeared to be backed by Ernst & Young partner Peter Fuss, but even he said BMW's timeframe may be off by a couple years. LMC Automotive analyst Al Bedwell said there was a "long way to go" before lithium-air commercialization, estimating that such improved technology at an attainable price was likely a decade off.

Frost & Sullivan analyst Nicolas Meilhan was even more pessimistic, saying that BMW's use of carbon fiber in the i3's frame was too pricy a way to reduce weight, and that the model would be attractive only to "rich" consumers.

IHS Automotive's Phil Gott hedged his bets saying that long vehicle recharging times would continue to dissuade potential buyers, but that typical driving distances will shrink as more people move to cities, making EVs more viable to a wider crowd.

In any case, for now, BMW will offer gas-powered loaner cars to take care of buyer's long-range needs. We'll see if the company needs to do this in 2018.


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  • 34 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      The i3 only has a tailpipe if you go for the optional range extender. You can't have your cake and eat it. The 1050kg refers to the base model - extra gizmos weigh something. In my view considering that they don't make use of exotic materials this is a fine achievement considering it is actually a bigger car than the Golf 6. There is some insight into how they did it here: http://www.vwvortex.com/features/technical-features/golf-7-technicalpreview/ This is the car both their EV version and there plug-in is to be built on, although I know that you chose to think that they are not going to build them or whatever.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Learn from Apple, don't announce stuff ahead of time unless you are ready to sell it within the next few days. People are cheap and they won't buy anything while waiting for this 'new' battery to come out. They also don't like having obsolete technology that they spent more money for.
        SublimeKnight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Yes, you'd almost think they were trying to delay people's decision to buy EVs. Like say you were having production problems and needed to slip a new car's introduction by 6 months or a year. This might be a good strategy.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, it depends on what BMW is about to offer, but I think 5 years is doable. We need a battery breakthrough, but BMW doesn't seem to be alone in thinking one is on the way.
        Warren
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        I doubt any PR flack for a car company, or any high priced "analyst" knows any more than anybody who can read the research reports online.
      CoolWaters
      • 2 Years Ago
      Battery's are improving at an 18% annual rate. They will clearly be double todays range in 5 years.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      @ Rotation This is why I speculated that I would like a small pickup with the Voltec drive - even if towing my boat I only went 20 - 30 miles, that would still be cool. I would bring an extension cord and hook it up somewhere once my boat was launched!
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      BMW's big move here is the carbon fiber parts. It remains to be seen whether they can do it for a low price. I hope they can pull it off.
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      The historic rate of improvement for commodity lithium ion cells has been 14% improvement in cost per kWh for the last decade and a half. This happens because both the price per cell is going down, while at the same time the kWh rating per cell is going up. It is not that inconceivable that BMW could be right if this continues.
      James
      • 2 Years Ago
      I guess analysts agree that Tesla is 5-10 years ahead of all other electric vehicle manufacturers.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @James
        Meh. I think they had the genius idea of starting with the top of the market. And they do have some good technology for creating battery packs that others lack. But 5 to 10 years ahead of the other makers? No, I don't see that. I'm sure we'll be seeing many other great EVs come out in the next 5 to 10 years and many of them will have their own innovations that Tesla will probably want to adopt.
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      On what planet do you need Lithium Air batteries to get 150 miles out of an EV?
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      The problem with i3 use of carbon is not the price if the 40k$ price is true. The problem is they didn't achieve any significant weight reduction with it which is a failure of epic proportions. BMW i3 1250kg BMW i8 1500kg VW Golf 7 1050kg Audi A2 900kg
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        I got yelled at for an 'Angry Wrath of God' review on the Dodge pickup Diesel. I broke down your rules of lightweight, aero, performance, and cheap for the person who did the yelling. Oh - and must be EV. Don't quite understand how ANYONE doesn't know the rules by NOW.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        I think that's what the article is implying. That carbon is too costly given it doesn't make much of a difference. Comparing the car to one which doesn't have 500lbs of batteries in it (Audi A2) is ridiculous. Also, no the VW Golf v7 does not weigh only 1050kg. I know that's what it says on wikipedia, but it's not the case. Tested models so far have come in at at least 1250kg. If you ask me the biggest failure is that this "EV" has a tailpipe.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Barring a huge breakthrough, I would like to see a volt make it up to 80 miles a charge on pure EV. Now the daily driving component is addressed, and the weekend trip/travel component is addressed as well. While we are also 'wishing' please do that in a small pickup so I can tow my boat and get work done on the weekends....I don't need, nor want...a full size truck... But with the torque of electric...in a truck....?
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Like the S10 EV and Ranger EV that were made in the 90s? Why can I make one in my garage, but GM or Ford can't make one anymore?
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          Those had very short range. There wasn't a lot of demand for them then, wouldn't be now. EZEE: You're not going to be towing any boats with an electric truck. Towing takes a lot of energy. The range would be terribly, terribly short.
          Warren
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          My understanding is that they stopped making the small pickups, gas and EV, when the government changed the rules. They will make whatever people want, and their government will allow them to produce. The government is in the position of the parent trying to get the kids to eat their vegetables. Except these kids can kick out their parents. :-)
        Warren
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        That would take a doubling of pack size, and allowing you to actually use it, unlike the current Volt.. You'd need to put it under the floor
      EV Now
      • 2 Years Ago
      You don't need Li Air for mere doubling of "range". Lithium Air is for making that 5x more. BTW, why do people talk about doubling the "range" ? You can stuff a bigger battery like Tesla does to get a longer range. Are they talking about doubling the density or halving of price/kWh ?
        Warren
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EV Now
        Doubling the density or halving the price per kWh is the same thing. Unless they are doing something entirely different, with exotic materials, the material and labor costs for a cell will remain the same, just twice the energy.
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EV Now
        Good point by you and Warren. The technologies to double capacity are already in the pipeline, Li-Air is just vaporware right now. I would prefer lower cost, which doubling the capacity does too. The reason I think that is because excess battery capacity is a wasted spend. You would very seldom ever tap that capacity and thus it's purchase is frivolous. Yet, knocking off half the price of the battery would be important to me. I don't need more than 80-100 mile range for a commuter car. Recent advances in Si anodes and High voltage cathodes will more than double capacity, and those things are already in the pipeline. This should not deter you from buying an EV now if it fits your life, that's because it is already an improvement over an ICE econobox. If you have the correct commute, you will already save money, and so why should you wait. Let me put it this way, if, you can save money now, that will offset any additional savings you can get later. Why spend another year or two buying gasoline when you can get savings now?
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