BMW i3 Range Guide

The BMW i3, a unique and innovative electric vehicle, has been discontinued after 7 years of production. Despite this, it remains a popular choice among eco-conscious drivers. However, it is important to understand the range capabilities of electric vehicles as the automotive industry continues to shift towards electric powertrains.

In this guide by Electrly, we will explore the different generations of the BMW i3 and their respective ranges, as well as factors that can affect the i3's range, and how it compares to its rivals.

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What Is The Maximum Range of My BMW i3?

The BMW i3 was produced for seven years, from 2014 to 2021. During this period, BMW made significant improvements to the i3's battery and electric motor, increasing its range and performance. Here's a breakdown of each generation of the BMW i3:

First Generation (2014-2016)

The first-generation BMW i3 was equipped with a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery pack with an accepted charging capacity of up to 7.4 kW and a single rear-mounted electric motor. This configuration provided a pure-electric range of 81 miles.

The first generation i3 was also available with an optional range extender (REx) that added a 647cc two-cylinder gasoline engine that acted as an energy generator to recharge the battery to the mix. The REx model could travel up to 150 miles on a full charge and a tank of gas.

Second Generation (2017-2018)

For the 2017 model year, BMW introduced a larger 33-kWh battery pack that boosted the i3's pure-electric range to 114 miles. The REx model was still available and could travel up to 180 miles with a full charge and a tank of gas.

Third Generation (2019-2021)

In 2019, BMW upgraded the i3's battery pack to 42-kWh, nearly doubling its first all-electric range to 153 miles. The i3's electric motor was also upgraded to produce 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, resulting in improved acceleration and performance. The i3's charging capacity was upgraded to 11 kW, allowing for faster charging times.

What Are The Factors That May Affect The Range of My BMW i3?

The range of an electric vehicle is affected by various factors that can either increase or decrease the range. By considering these factors below and adjusting your driving habits accordingly, you can maximize the range of your BMW i3 and enjoy a more efficient and sustainable driving experience.

Ambient Temperature

The temperature outside can have a significant impact on your BMW i3's range. Cold weather can reduce the range by up to 30%, while mild weather conditions can increase it. The reason for that is that cold weather makes it harder for the EV battery to operate, and more energy is required to keep the vehicle component at working temperature.

Driving Style

The way you drive can also affect the range of your BMW i3. Aggressive driving, sudden accelerations, and frequent braking can cause a significant reduction in the range. On the other hand, smooth and anticipatory driving can increase the range by up to 15%.

Cabin Condition

The cabin temperature and ventilation settings can also impact the range of your BMW i3. Using features like the HVAC system, heated seats, and heated steering wheel excessively can drain the battery faster and reduce the range, especially during winter and summer.

Traffic Condition

For electric vehicles in general, driving in the city is generally more energy-efficient than driving on the highway. Stop-and-go traffic in the city allows the BMW i3 to regenerate energy while braking, thus increasing the range. In contrast, highway driving applies heavier workloads to the electric motor, which will drain the battery much faster, reducing the range.


The terrain you drive on can also affect the range of your BMW i3. Driving uphill or on rough terrain can be more energy-intensive and reduce the range. In contrast, driving on flatter terrain with less elevation change can increase the range by minimizing the use of the battery's energy.

How Does the Range of the BMW i3 Compare to Cars in its Class?

The BMW i3 will always be a trailblazer in the EV market, but how does it stack up against its competition nowadays? To answer that question, we compared the 2021 BMW i3 to the latest generations of its B-segment competitors.

Vehicle MSRP Battery Size (kWh) Engine Size (kW) Full Charge EPA Range (miles) Level 1 Charging Time (hours) Level 2 Charging Time (hours)
2021 BMW i3 $45,445 42.2 125 153 15.5 5
2022 Chevrolet Bolt $32,495 65 150 247 60 7
2022 Hyundai Kona EV $34,000 64 150 258 50 10
2022 Kia Niro EV $39,990 64 150 239 60 9
2022 Nissan Leaf $32,400 40-62 110-160 149-226 22-33 7.5
2022 Tesla Model 3 $44,490 60-82 211-354 263-358 31-43 8


1. How long does it take to fully charge a 2021 BMW i3?

The time it takes to fully charge a 2021 BMW i3 depends on the charging method used. When using Level 1 charging that plugs into a standard 120V household outlet, it takes approximately 15.5 hours to fully charge the battery from empty.

When using Level 2 charging, which requires a dedicated 240V circuit, it takes approximately 5 hours to fully charge the battery from empty. It's important to note that the actual charging time may vary based on factors such as the battery level, the ambient temperature, and the charging equipment used.

2. Do wheel sizes and tire types affect the range of my BMW i3?

Wheel size and tire type can have a significant impact on the range of your BMW i3. Larger wheels and wider tires can increase rolling resistance and worsen the aerodynamics of the car, leading to a reduction in efficiency and range.

Conversely, smaller wheels and tires with lower rolling resistance can improve energy efficiency and increase the range of the vehicle. Your dealer or mechanic can assist you in selecting the best wheel and tire combination to optimize the range of your BMW i3.

3. Is the range of a 2021 BMW i3 enough for my lifestyle?

Based on the EPA range of 153 miles, the 2021 BMW i3 can cover a considerable distance on a single charge.

If you frequently drive long distances, the BMW i3 may not be the best fit for your lifestyle, but for daily commuting and city driving, it should be more than sufficient. It's important to consider your individual driving habits and needs before deciding if the BMW i3's range is enough for your lifestyle.

4. How much does it cost to replace the battery of my BMW i3?

The cost of battery replacement of a BMW i3 may depend on the vehicle warranty, as well as the required working hours and labor involved. In general, replacing a battery for your BMW i3 can cost anywhere from nothing at all to over $20,000, where the majority of the expenses are on the battery itself.

To learn more about battery replacement for the BMW i3 including older generations, read our BMW i3 Battery Replacement Guide with all related details.

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