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BMW to introduce new i3 EV next year?

It's all part of BMW's push to sell more than 100,000 electric vehicles in the coming years.


BMW has said it wants to sell 100,000 electric vehicles per year as early as 2017. Right now, its sole electric vehicle -- the i3 -- covers about 25 percent of that goal. So how can BMW meet this lofty target? By rolling out a new i3, of course!

BMW plans to introduce a new version of the i3 electric city car in 2017, Reuters reports, citing company sources speaking to Germany's Bild am Sonntag. It's unclear if the i3, which is only three model years old, will feature light revisions or if it will be considered an all-new second generation. BMW did not immediately return a request for comment.

According to those insider sources, BMW's plans for the i3 include revisions to the front and rear fasciae, as well as yet another new battery. This new battery should feature less than a 50-percent increase over the current battery, which was introduced for the 2017 model year and boosted its range from 81 miles to 114. That would place the future i3's range somewhere between 130 and 140 miles, but that's just a guess.

BMW only sold about 25,000 examples of the i3 last year, which is a far cry from the 100,000 units it hopes to sell in 2017. A new i3 with more range would certainly help these efforts, but that alone isn't enough. That 100,000-vehicle target would make more sense if it included BMW's plug-in hybrid range, which includes variants of the 3 Series, 7 Series and X5.

For such a small car, the i3 isn't exactly affordable. A 2017 BMW i3 with the larger battery costs just under $45,000 (ahead of any federal or state incentives), and adding a gas-powered range extender bumps that price up north of $48,000. That's a lot of scratch for a car that isn't exactly equipped for multistate jaunts.