Following a highly successful first year of sales, the BMW i3 BEV electric car and BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car are being given a few important tweaks for the 2015 model year, including DC quick charging as standard across all trim levels.
The tweaks, confirmed by BMW executives Jacob Harb and Jose Guerrero — Department Head and Head of Product for BMW i in the U.S., respectively — in an interview with BMWBlog, come as part of a mild refresh to the BMW i3 range, and have been designed to improve driver convenience.
Being rolled out across the U.S., CCS quick charging can charge the battery pack of a CCS-compatible car like the BMW i3 or Volkswagen e-Golf from empty to 80 percent full in around 30 minutes.
Alongside the addition of CCS quick charging standard on all vehicles for the 2015 model year comes the decision to add heated seats, and satellite radio as standard, although it’s not known at the moment what the impact of adding these items to the standard fit list will have on list price.
Moving forward, Harb and Guerrero promise March 2015 will bring a further update for 2015 model year i3s in the form of a software update that will make it easier for owners to keep track of the state of health of their car’s battery. While this information is currently available to BMW technicians through official service channels, BMW says it plans to make that information more visible for owners following extensive early-adopter feedback.
Other potential features being considered following customer feedback include the addition of a heated steering wheel and sunroof, as well as offering U.S. owners the same configurable remote key fob currently offered to European i3 owners.
But it is perhaps the decision to include CCS quick charging as standard on all models which is most exciting, since it demonstrates a move from BMW to accelerate the use of quick charging as a way of marketing the BMW i3 BEV as a longer-range car rather than promoting the i3 REx.
As Harb and Guerrero detailed in their interview with BMWBlog, BMW believes that 2015 will be the year in which CCS DC quick charging truly takes off and plans to unveil its own massive rollout of DC quick charging at next month’s 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
“We have some really good plans, incredible collaboration and the industry has matured significantly more than when the i3 was engineered,” said Harb. “You will be pleasantly surprised.”
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