BMW's engineers have managed to increase the range of the 2017 BMW i3 series electric cars by an estimated 50 percent.

Drivers of electric vehicles benefit from not having to worry about maintenance costs such as oil changes, spark plugs, fuel filters, as well as fluctuating fuel prices and other concerns of conventional car drivers.

One worry unique to electric vehicle owners though is range anxiety. Charging options may have increased over time, but finding a place to quickly charge your car's batteries is more difficult than finding a gas station.

Using dense upgraded lithium ion batteries, the new i3 electric car has increased the total power storage from 22 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in older models to 33 kWh without increasing the overall size of the battery pack. The new batteries also support higher charging capacity with the 50kW DC fast charging Level 2 technology.

Originally, the electric car took 3.5 hours to fully charge. The i3's upgraded charger, however, now requires the vehicle 4.5 hours to charge completely. With more than 50 percent increase to both range and battery capacity, this additional time is still faster compared to the original charge on a per mile/ minute basis. Quick charging is also supported and the car can gain 80 percent charge in as little as 40 minutes.

The 2017 BMW i3 electric vehicle also comes with a Range Extender option, which includes a small 650cc two-cylinder gasoline engine, that fires up automatically when the batteries reach 6.5 percent. BMW is not publicizing an estimated range for this option at this time, however, the older model reached the top range of 150 miles with a full charge and a full tank. The added weight of the new battery pack does come with a slight trade-off. The new car is rated to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds, which is one second slower than the original i3.

Other updates include a new color option in both metallic and non-metallic bases. The new Protonic Blue metallic paint design, which was originally offered exclusively in the i8 model, compliments the blue lighting accents in the i3 electric vehicle.

The 2017 BMW i3 is available starting at $42,400 for the base model, while the Range Extender model starts at $46,250. The 2017 BMW i8, a sporty plug-in hybrid, is also available starting at $140,700.

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