PHOTO CAPTION: BMW i3 makes the most use of carbon fibers of any vehicle built today to save weight and improve range.

BMW i3 Range Will Get Major Boost... In 4-5 Years

Detroit News columnist Neil Winston turns to industry analysts to test the reality of BMW's optimistic forecast of dramatically improved electric car batteries before 2020.

Published: 23-Jun-2013

German luxury car manufacturer BMW stunned this reporter a couple of weeks ago in Paris by saying electric cars will have batteries with twice the current power within four to five years, which will double the range.

BMW has its supporters, but that claim was met with some skepticism by experts who see a much slower pace of progress. Others say the drive to produce a battery-only vehicle which competes head on with traditional engines is doomed and will only succeed if electric cars are designed with less weight, shorter range and more modest utility ambitions. Charging technology needs to leap forward too.

Not content with this doubling claim driven by new lithium air technology — which stores more energy in a battery than lithium ion technology — BMW also said soon after that battery cars eventually will make another performance leap of 10 times better. BMW is about to launch the i3 lithium-ion battery-electric car. BMW board member Ian Robertson added at a conference in Paris that in the next three to four years there will be more progress in battery development than in the previous 100 years.


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