The BMW i3 has received quite a bit of acclaim since its release, with the electric powertrain grabbing a spot on Ward's 10 Best Engines list and the high-tech machine earning the nod as 2015 Green Car of the Year. However, Consumer Reports uncovered a vexing problem with the range-extended version of the hatchback that has plagued it until a recent software update.
While CR was driving the range-extended i3 last year, it discovered that when the internal combustion engine was running during low states of charge, hard acceleration could suddenly cut back with no warning to the driver. This was especially problematic when passing. BMW knew about the issue and promised a software update in the spring.
That improvement is now available. BMW spokesperson David Buchko tells Autoblog that the software update adds a percent-of-charge indicator to all models of the i3 to let drivers know just how much juice is left. For the range-extended model, it also provides a warning of possible power reduction when the charge reaches two percent. According to Consumer Reports, the revision lets the car anticipate needing more reserve power based on the topography from the navigation system, as well.
For any i3 drivers who want the upgrade, they need to visit a dealer for installation, according to Buchko, but it should be come at no cost to owners.