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BMW reportedly unveils an i3 redesign in 2017

Written by Jon Fingas

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BMW might not be waiting for the distant future to step up its electric car plans. Welt sources claim that the automaker plans the 2017 launch of a redesigned i3 that promises both practical and cosmetic improvements. You should see a new battery that significantly extends the range of the car beyond its recently increased 186-mile (with range extending motor) cap. It’s not clear how much further you’ll drive, but the difference will be “noticeable” — just not as big a leap as the 50 percent hike from the last upgrade. In other words, it’s likely enough to cover an extra commute, or to get you to a town that’s just out of reach today.

The refresh also promises a new look for the “front and rear…” or a new car, really. There aren’t any clues as to what this means, but the current i3’s design has been polarizing, to say the least. While it certainly screams “I’m an EV,” its boxy, busy appearance is in sharp contrast to the slicker looks of not only conventional BMWs, but Tesla’s upcoming Model 3. A redesign might be crucial simply to attract buyers put off by the existing styling.

Both improvements are welcome, although the i3 may face tough competition even with these refinements. Tesla is already promising a minimum 214 miles per charge on the Model 3, and the Chevy Bolt can muster 238 miles. BMW’s Klaus Frolich tells Welt that he doesn’t think of range as the be-all, end-all factor in an EV, but it’s still important enough at this stage that the company can’t afford to fall short of its rivals.

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Jon Fingas


  • Well its about time they do a re-design. This might go down as the ugliest car of all time, probably worse then the Aztec. They need a major overhaul of this car. BMW’s design team has been slacking for years now in general as well.

  • Don’t usually give too much weight to looks as I tend to drive from inside the car, in the case of the i3 though I did immediately dismiss it due to it being horrendous.

  • The car guy in me is put off by the looks, but the driving experience is very nice. Light weight and toss-able with decent steering, although I would prefer a less aggressive stability control. Love the tall skinny tires, takes me back top my hot rod days before the rise of super wide rubber.

  • Was so excited about BMW electric vehicles after seeing the ActiveE, then so disappointed after the unveiling of the i3. Don’t care what a car does or can do, if I find it horribly ugly I’m not going to buy one! Hopefully this redesign remedies the looks.

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