BMW’s new i3 electric hatch has double the range of its predecessor.

But it’s still far too expensive for mere mortals, with prices starting from $68,700.

The i3 and I3s are now capable of travelling up to 260km on a single charge, thanks to advances in battery technology.

Although the battery pack takes up no more space than in the original we drove, the battery rating is up from 60 to 120Ah giving it a storage capacity of 42kWh.

Performance is surprisingly good too.

Powered by a 125kW electric motor, the BMW i3 can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 7.3 seconds.

The i3s brings a larger 135kW electric motor and does the dash in 6.9 seconds.

“BMW has once again demonstrated its technical capability in the EV space with the latest BMW i3 120Ah,” BMW Australia CEO, Vikram Pawah, said.

“Effectively doubling the real-world driving range from the i3’s 2013 global introduction, the newest addition to our BMW i stable remains a trailblazer.

“Beyond that, the constant evolution of materials and specification, as well as the i3s sports- focused variant, makes the car more relevant than ever.”

Available from February next year, the i3 is priced from $68,700 and the i3s from $69,900.

BMW i3 and i3s: Charging rates:

Charging 0-80%*

   i3 120Ah

   i3s 120Ah

Domestic 1.8kW

   19.5 hrs

   19.5 hrs

WallBox (1-phase) 3.7kW

   9.7 hrs

   9.7 hrs

WallBox (3-phase) 11kW

   3.2 hrs

   3.2 hrs

DC 50kW

   42 mins

   42 mins

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.