In a significant move to enhance the electric vehicle (EV) charging experience, BMW has announced the upgrade of the BMW i3’s onboard charging system to support a higher charging rate of 7.4 kW. This upgrade focuses on the KLE (Kompakte Leistungselektronik) onboard charger, which plays a crucial role in the vehicle’s charging process. Here’s what this means for BMW i3 owners and the EV market.

Faster Charging for Enhanced Convenience

The upgrade to a 7.4 kW onboard charger represents a substantial improvement over the previous 3.7 kW system. With this enhancement, BMW i3 owners can expect significantly reduced charging times, making it more convenient to recharge their vehicles. Here are the key benefits:

  • Reduced Charging Time: The higher charging rate effectively halves the time required to recharge the i3’s battery from empty to full. For many users, this means a full charge can be achieved in around 4 hours when using a compatible Level 2 charging station.
  • Increased Daily Range: With faster charging, i3 owners can more easily top up their battery during the day, potentially increasing the total daily driving range.

Technical Details of the Upgrade

The KLE onboard charger is integral to the BMW i3’s charging system, converting alternating current (AC) from the charging station into the direct current (DC) that the vehicle’s battery requires. The new 7.4 kW charger is designed to handle a higher power throughput, enabling quicker energy transfer. Key features include:

  • Enhanced Cooling System: To manage the increased power, the new charger includes an improved cooling system that ensures optimal operating temperatures and maintains efficiency.
  • Improved Electronics: The updated charger features advanced electronic components that support faster charging speeds while maintaining safety and reliability.

Compatibility and Implementation

BMW is rolling out this upgrade for new BMW i3 models and will offer it as a retrofit option for

existing i3 owners, ensuring a wider adoption of the enhanced charging capability. The upgrade process involves replacing the old KLE onboard charger with the new 7.4 kW unit, which can be done at authorized BMW service centers.

Benefits for i3 Owners

  1. Convenience and Flexibility: Faster charging allows for more flexible use of the i3, as owners can quickly recharge their vehicles during short stops. This is especially beneficial for urban dwellers and those with busy schedules.
  2. Greater Accessibility: With more public and home charging stations supporting the 7.4 kW rate, i3 owners will have increased access to quicker charging options.
  3. Future-Proofing: The upgrade aligns with the growing trend toward higher-capacity charging infrastructure, ensuring that the i3 remains competitive in the evolving EV market.

Environmental Impact

By reducing charging times and encouraging more frequent use of electric vehicles, this upgrade contributes to the broader adoption of EVs, supporting environmental sustainability efforts. Faster charging reduces dependency on fossil fuels and promotes the use of renewable energy sources for vehicle charging.

Conclusion: Stepping Up the EV Game

BMW’s decision to upgrade the i3’s onboard charger to a 7.4 kW system is a forward-thinking move that enhances the overall ownership experience. By significantly reducing charging times, BMW is addressing one of the common concerns associated with electric vehicles, making the i3 an even more appealing option for eco-conscious drivers.

As the automotive industry continues to evolve, innovations like this highlight BMW’s commitment to staying at the forefront of electric vehicle technology, providing customers with practical solutions that blend performance, convenience, and sustainability. For current and future BMW i3 owners, this upgrade represents a meaningful step towards a more efficient and enjoyable electric driving experience.

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